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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Rock, Paper, Shotgun - Maybe Games Just Arenít For Telling Great Stories?

Default Rock, Paper, Shotgun - Maybe Games Just Arenít For Telling Great Stories?

June 12th, 2013, 20:36
In a book I can say things like

"The army of 20000 men attacks the city of Babylon…"

"The wall 500 meter high of pure ice and 10 kilometers long protects the north…"

-> in a fantasy author's mind only the sky is the limit.

Since text adventures are out nowadays in a computer CRPG everything has ro be modelled in 3d graphics and every spoken text needs to be recorded.

These are story/narrative and choice & consequence limits!

In older CRPGs conversation was often more tricky and interesting with many options, because there were simply no need for voice overs.

For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong. - HL Mencken
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June 12th, 2013, 20:41
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
Just saying that game writers have neither the time nor resources nor motivation nor chops to rise to the levels of the best fiction writers. If they were that good they would be writing books, on their own terms.
Well yeah, you're just stating the obvious. No one is claiming that games match up to the elite writers of fiction.

Video games have a lot more aspects that have to be completed. Graphics, animation, music, soundFX, AI, etc. The story is just one of many parts. It should be no surprise that the vast majority of stories in games are sub-par when compared to quality books.
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June 12th, 2013, 20:43
Just as a side-throw-in :

Jump & Run games never really told a story.
They were mostly about just … well, jump & run ! ;D
Their stories were … not great at all, simply because they had not to be great.

But role-.playing games and adventures - that was a completely different genre. They *had* to stories. Otherwise they just wouldn't work.

So - meaning that one just can't say "maybe games just aren't for telling great stories" - it's depending on the genre.

ď Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius Ė and a lot of courage Ė to move in the opposite direction.ď (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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June 12th, 2013, 20:54
Originally Posted by HiddenX View Post
I like CRPGs in which you can create your own story. Many little or great choices with many little or great consequences.
This is one thing I really miss about classic RPGs. Even if they didn't give you tons of choices (Ultima, for all its greatness really didn't give you a lot of difference dialogue options), you still had your own story because YOU had to fill in the details. I remember in our Ultima party we really assigned detailed persona to each character, just starting with the tiny bit of info they gave us at the outset.

It still happens to some extent, but with so much voice acting and dialogue, I find myself often thinking "well I think the charater should be different."

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June 12th, 2013, 21:08
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
Well yeah, you're just stating the obvious. No one is claiming that games match up to the elite writers of fiction.

Video games have a lot more aspects that have to be completed. Graphics, animation, music, soundFX, AI, etc. The story is just one of many parts. It should be no surprise that the vast majority of stories in games are sub-par when compared to quality books.
That's true, but I think I am agreeing with the author when he writes

For years I’ve lamented this, decried the failure of this medium to mature to a point where it can match literature and cinema in terms of intelligence in design. (And to be clearly, yes, most books and movies are terrible – we’re talking about comparing the very best.) When is gaming, I would ask, going to find its great stories? I believe I was wrong to ask.
Look at bolded part. I agree with the author to think it is unreasonable to expect "great" writing in games, given the reasons I have previously listed. Good writing is perhaps reasonable (like your examples), but not great, on league with "the very best" fiction.
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June 12th, 2013, 21:24
You basically just repeated what I said, but ok.

Imo, the author wrote that piece without giving much thought to the differences between the creation process of books and games. I thought the article was fairly redundant to be honest.
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June 12th, 2013, 21:36
So what was the purpose of your list? To provide counter examples to the author's claim, or what?

His claims may be obvious to us, perhaps. But not to those who think the story is the be all and end all of gaming. There are a few here who seem to have that sentiment…
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June 12th, 2013, 21:45
I would think it was obvious, but maybe not.

As far as people who lament that stories in games aren't as good as top-level fiction books, I think they just need to realize the differences we've already mentioned.
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June 12th, 2013, 22:00
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
Look at bolded part. I agree with the author to think it is unreasonable to expect "great" writing in games, given the reasons I have previously listed. Good writing is perhaps reasonable (like your examples), but not great, on league with "the very best" fiction.
But stories of games are not just about writing they have visual and interactive component and overall can create experience that book can't.My English is bit lacking to explain what I mean properly so I will use few examples.

First Spec ops:The line, inspired by Apocalypse now(and by book Hearth of darkness which inspired movie) by many film critics best anti-war movie od all time.It may not have as good writing and definitively lacks subtlety of Coppola's movie, but feeling it creates is stronger because player has to make hard decisions and face their consequences.

Second example.Thomas was alone, it has simplistic graphic and witty writing.Game where player gets attached and generally care about what are essentially bunch of square objects not something that can be accomplished in book or movie.

Third:The elder scroll and gothic games, that kind of feeling of exploration can't be recreated in book or movie.

There are some more examples but I am too tired to write atm.My point in short games and books are not same medium just like books and movies are not same or movies and paintings and they can't be valued by same measures.Because reasons you mentioned it's hard to make story in game as deep as in books. games when well done can create deep experience that is unique to that medium.
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June 12th, 2013, 22:08
No contest. I am not arguing the depth of the experience of reading a great vs. playing a great game. They are different experiences. I am just saying that the story component of a game is extremely rarely going to be a good as the best fiction. I don't consider exploration, and interactivity (e.g. choices and consequences) comparable to a "story" in a novel. They are different forms of entertainment, in my eyes.
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June 12th, 2013, 23:24
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
No, if you like Noir, Max Payne was quite excellent.
The story worked very well for the game, but I don't think it would hold up on its own. What are you comparing with? Dashiell Hammett? Raymond Chandler? Patricia Highsmith?
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
Not sure what linear has to do with story.
I meant linear in game terms. Not necessarily chronological, but railroaded. My point is that books and movies are superior to games when it comes to telling such a story. Games are often railroaded too, but that's not playing to the strengths of the medium. Games shine in interactivity and immersion. Choice. The best game stories are not the written, linear ones, but the personal narratives that emerge during play. Games aren't great for telling stories. If you are told a story, you are not really in it, enacting it.
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June 12th, 2013, 23:38
Originally Posted by Mr Smiley View Post
The story worked very well for the game, but I don't think it would hold up on its own. What are you comparing with? Dashiell Hammett? Raymond Chandler? Patricia Highsmith.
Why would I compare it to any of those?


Originally Posted by Mr Smiley View Post
I meant linear in game terms. Not necessarily chronological, but railroaded. My point is that books and movies are superior to games when it comes to telling such a story. Games are often railroaded too, but that's not playing to the strengths of the medium. Games shine in interactivity and immersion. Choice. The best game stories are not the written, linear ones, but the personal narratives that emerge during play. Games aren't great for telling stories. If you are told a story, you are not immersed in it, enacting it.
I don't think anyone here is arguing that games are as good for "telling" stories. I can become immersed either way, and I enjoy both ways, but it's a mistake to try to compare them directly.

I think Nameless one did a sufficient job of explaining it.
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June 12th, 2013, 23:58
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
Why would I compare it to any of those?
Those are merely the authors I have read who might be considered noir authors. Well, James Ellroy too, I guess. If Max Payne is good noir, I recon it has to be good compared to something else.

Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
I don't think anyone here is arguing that games are as good for "telling" stories. I can become immersed either way, and I enjoy both ways, but it's a mistake to try to compare them directly.
Agreed.
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June 13th, 2013, 00:10
JDR has yet to explain why he served up those examples if they aren't his examples of great stories.
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June 13th, 2013, 00:27
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
JDR has yet to explain why he served up those examples if they aren't his examples of great stories.
They are examples of stories that I think are great. You seem to be having a hard time comprehending certain things today.
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June 13th, 2013, 00:41
You seem to resort to insults when you have a brain fart (i.e. are found contradicting yourself). Typical.

So those are great stories? Comparable to great written fiction, which was the comparison in the article? Either your list is irrelevant to the subject at hand, or you've changed your mind and you think the stories are as great as written fiction. I certainly don't, except maybe one of them, Torment. And no one else here seems to think so either.
Last edited by Thrasher; June 13th, 2013 at 01:01.
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June 13th, 2013, 00:50
No, you just seem to have a hard time understanding that I wasn't comparing them to literary fiction. They're great stories in their own medium.

That's my opinion. I'm not asking for yours nor do I care what it is.

But I'm sure you'll find an excuse to drag this out like you always do so you can get some more posts out of this thread.
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June 13th, 2013, 00:54
So you posted a list that had no relevance to the subject article. Thanks for wasting our time.
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June 13th, 2013, 00:57
Well I'm sure everyone else is relieved that you're here to speak for them.

And yes, the list was relevant, but I won't waste any more time trying to communicate with you on the subject.
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June 13th, 2013, 01:02
No just the other posters that couldn't make sense of your claims of "greatness".
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