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February 27th, 2007, 23:49
Originally Posted by Role-Player View Post
But a book can contain text and not tell a story. A movie can contain images and not tell a story. A videogame may not contain a story - yet still be a game, since gameplay is the main element that defines videogames; their visual and textual components coming in second, and what those components do (like presenting a story) coming later.
Well, apart from the fact that I was talking about novels and not books in general, how many books do you know that do NOT tell a story? We're not talking about poetry here, but prose - and I guess it's safe to say that at least 99.9% of that stuff is telling a story - one way or another. Same with movies - I'm not talking about documentations or something of that sort, but of something comparable to RPGs.

No story is necessarily required for videogames as what drives a game are long or short term objectives or challenges which are set before players to overcome. Solitaire and Pacman tell no stories - are they not games? Space Invaders may have setting exposition or a contextualized challenge issued at players ("Save the Earth!"), but it is not telling a story. Several dungeon crawlers during the inception of videogames only gave you a task - kill the wizard, find the princess, retrieve the Mighty Gorgonzolla, or some variation thereof - and then pitted you against gameplay challenges like fighting endless hordes on a deep dungeon or labyrinth; these told no story either. They proposed a goal, then congratulated you when you accomplished it. Stories are only there to glorify the challenges set before players - many CRPGs have much lore and character dialogues but they mostly set you to do some mundane task or tasks which is actually what drives the game. You'd still have a game if the lore and dialogue was gone, but the gameplay would remain. If you took away the gameplay - but then it wouldn't be a game since it was lacking the interactive component.
Well, the article is not dealing with videogames in general - it deals with RPGs. It also does not deal with what defines a game in general or RPG in particular, but how RPGs should be. The author thinks that sometimes less story is more - a statment that I opposed. I don't deny that a game is a game if you strip it of its story and neither do I deny that it can be a RPG. I'm just opposing the authors statement that rpgs with less story are better than those with a lot of story (well that's simplifying the whole discussion a bit, but anyway…).
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