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"It ain't exactly Shakespeare..."

LBD_NytetraynLBD_Nytetrayn TorontoRegistered User regular
edited February 2007 in Games and Technology
When it comes to stories in games, how often does it seem like a line such as that comes up? It's a definite given for something like Mario, even on his best day, no matter how otherwise enjoyable the game is.

But what about other games? Games known more for characterization and story? Your Halos, your Final Fantasies, your... er, Mortal Kombats?

Anyway. The wife is writing a piece regarding why video game stories are typically cheesey. In a good way, mind, that fits the medium, though "the average RPG plot would never make it past an editor's slush pile."

Not that we can't love them. I've got a friend who rags on the story to Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, and along with another, talk about how cliche' all the characters are.

I never even noticed, as I had a blast running around and beating the crap out of things many times over. In fact, the story was part of what drew me to this particular title, after a CV hiatus of many years.
But for some reason, that doesn't make them any less appealing. I love big stupid video game plots. And so do you. Share your reasons why. Which ones are your favourites? Are there any games you think are deserving of being held in the same regard as published novels?

In that vein, has anyone read any of the novelisations of games like Halo? How do the writing and plot hold up? I'll probably be picking up a copy to skim through.

The appeal of game plots. DISCUSS.

And hey, if something you said is used, you might even get your name in print. Well, as "print" as a website counts for, anyway.

LBD_Nytetrayn on
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Posts

  • fsmith1fsmith1 Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I have to say the worst overblown plot and dialogue I've seen in recent times is the plot to trauma center. Christ, it's so silly.

    That said, I can't really think of many games with an actually good STORY, there are plenty with good storytelling and such, but very few with a story that actually sounds interesting to anyone who doesn't play video games.

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  • Drunk_caterpillarDrunk_caterpillar Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I think it was John Carmak that related gaming to porn in that the story doesn't always need to be awesome for the game to be awesome. I'm not sure I entirely agree with that, but I think he might be onto something.

    I actually loved the story in Shadow of the Colossus and Ico. I know there wasn't much of one, but they were so well told that it didn't matter that the concept was simple. Oh, and HL + HL2 had fantastic writing.

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  • RustRust __BANNED USERS
    edited February 2007
    Game plots rarely appeal to me, actually. JRPG plots leave me cold; the stories of most other games seem to merely be a way to propel you from one objective to the next. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it means that the quality of most game plots boil down to style, not storytelling.

    FFXII would be a decent example of style without substance - and in this case I think the lack of substance helped it a bit instead, because there's nothing worse than a game getting too wrapped up in its own maudlin writing (Xenogears comes to mind here). Give me a generic story with some wickedly cool characters - Balthier - anytime.

    Or, better yet, give me stories that act as indispensible elements of the game itself, rather than just propulsion devices. Games like Silent Hill 2 and Killer7 had excellent stories because the games themselves were irremovable from their events; the mythos of Silent Hill was just as important as which odd key you had to pick up next, and if you took away Killer7's story you'd be left with a rather one-dimensional shooter. The fact that both plots were well-written and (at least in Killer7's case) well-acted also helped tremendously.

    Otherwise, the plots of video games are judged on how many fireworks they throw in your face before the credits roll. It's not the best state of things, but it's sort of understandable; I doubt that the vasat majority of gamers want their brains taxed just so they can keep entertaining themselves.

  • jclastjclast Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    A good video game, unlike a good book or movie, doesn't have to rely primarily on its story to be good. We can accept a game with a hackneyed plot and so bad it's great dialog like RE4 because it's just a blast to play.

    It's a difference of what the audience expects. In a book, the story is everything there is. In a video game, there is a story, but there can also be a battled system, interesting game mechanics, or just mindless fun. Disgaea wasn't purchased for the epic tale of Laharl's ascension to the throne. It was bought for battles, the Item World, and Etna's ridiculously short skirt. Elebits isn't flying off the shelves thanks to an engrossing narrative; it's moving because it's fun to trash a house looking for tiny pastel life forms and sucking them up with HL2's gravity gun.

    Don't get me wrong, there are some games where story is king, and these games, in my opinion, could have made excellent books or television series. Games like Myst immediately spring to mind. It's not about gameplay; it's about feeling lonely and furthering the narrative.

    Asking "why are video game stories often of lower quality than their book and film counterparts" is like asking why do children's programs teach addition instead of complex calculus.

    Nobody expects Ghost Rider to rival Shakespeare or Browning, but people will go see it because they just want to have a good time. The same thing applies to video games. It's all about what the audience wants, and that makes a lot more sense when video games are considered a medium through which a story can be told rather than a genre unto themselves.

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  • DeaconKnowledgeDeaconKnowledge Registered User
    edited February 2007
    Metal

    Gear

    Solid.

    The most ridiculous and contrived plotting in the world.

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  • DarlanDarlan Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    It's entirely true that video game plots are far worse in the sense of writing and summarizing the plot, but the simple fact that you are IN the story, interacting, moving around, and sometimes even shaping the plot with your actions adds TONS to the experience. I honestly believe that if every medium of entertainment were to reach it's theoretical "pinnacle," so to speak, the videogame would be the most interesting and entertaining. And I look forward to more and more attention being put on plot and in-game art as graphics start to plateau and start to take a backseat to other aspects of games.

    PSN: Toids42
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  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Grim Fandango had an excellent story. My experience is when you have a lot of spoken dialogue, you tend to get a better story. More people get to check over your work and fix problems, I guess.

    Games like Metroid Prime fly in the face of this theory since MP had an adequate story but I still say the more your speaking roles are required in your game, the better the script ends up being.

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  • Kaboodles_The_AssassinKaboodles_The_Assassin Kill the meat. Save the metal.Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Someone should make a Shakespeare game.

    That'll show 'em.

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  • ToadTheMushroomToadTheMushroom Registered User
    edited February 2007
    Metal Gear Solid 1, 2 or 3.

    UGH.

    He seems to project beyond himself, exerting a kind of Reggie Field that dogs and many birds find unpleasant. Hearing a man speak with this much drive and confidence about an imaginary plumber is sort of enthralling.
  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    The Bard's Tale wasn't a game about Shakespeare?

    :P

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  • XagarathXagarath Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    My current count of games with geniunely good stories is at 2. (Planescape: Torment, Pathologic).
    At the current rate, I won't see a third until at least 2013.

  • Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Video game stories are terrible, because they can afford to be terrible. Why hire a writer or team of writers of any quality when you can get by with a rehashed plot and sell millions of copies anyways? The vast majority of people don't play games for the story, they play for the gameplay and the experience. Games are excellent for atmosphere and setting and tone; they are terrible for characterization, dialogue, and plot, with a few exceptions such as Planescape: Torment.

    The interesting result is games like Shadow of the Colossus, which really has no story, but exists almost purely as an experience of atmosphere and tone, with no real coherent narrative beyond a very, very basic plot line. Even more so is Ico, which has less intense gameplay and thus leaves the player focused more on the experience itself.

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  • MeissnerdMeissnerd Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    About halfway through FF10, everyone starts saying "ya know?" at the end of every sentence

    That annoyed the hell out of me

    do not ask for whom the snerd tolls
  • XusderXusder Registered User
    edited February 2007
    Someone should make a Shakespeare game.

    That'll show 'em.

    Press "A" to stab!

    Caesar: "Et tu Brute!"

    You Win!

    (Hehe, just couldn't help it.)

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  • BTPBTP Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I think FF6 could be done as a novel, but you'd have to figure out how to get past all the "choose your team" parts of it, and the random battles I guess.

    But there is one that could definitely work. Phoenix Wright.

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  • SilkyNumNutsSilkyNumNuts Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I think the thing is that games are a difficult medium in which to tell a story. Cutscenes make your game into a movie, and a badly done one. So, really, you need to find another way, and as half-life shows, it's damn difficult to make a gamer pay attention mid-game...

    So what can you do?

  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Geez, every single time one of these threads comes up, Planescape is mentioned. While the writing wasn't as frilly, I thought the plot and twist in Jade Empire was just as good as Planescape's plot and twist.

    As if amnesia wasn't already the most overused cheesy plot device in videogaming, Planescape uses it in spades. Falls From Grace didn't even have a backstory, if I remember correctly.

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  • Non-Existent FreezerNon-Existent Freezer Registered User
    edited February 2007
    If someone just typed up most of the script to Hotel Dusk, printed it, slapped a cover on it, and started selling it, I'd buy it. Ten times.

    For some reason, the plot of Okage Shadow King appealed to me very much. I think it's mostly because it didn't make any damn sense, which made it amusing and really the only reason I endured those terrible excuses for 'dungeons.'

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  • LBD_NytetraynLBD_Nytetrayn TorontoRegistered User regular
    edited February 2007
    jclast wrote: »
    Asking "why are video game stories often of lower quality than their book and film counterparts" is like asking why do children's programs teach addition instead of complex calculus.

    I see where you're coming from on this point, but part of this is also looking at the growing complexity of game stories, the comparisons drawn (by creators and fans) to other mediums, not to mention the fact that numerous titles have crossed over into others.

    The worst, to me personally, is something like Mega Man, where there's a LOT more to be told than what's in the games, but it's only available in Japanese inside the covers of soundtracks or in guidebooks.
    emnmnme wrote: »
    The Bard's Tale wasn't a game about Shakespeare?

    :P

    Hey, I wasn't looking at every game in existance when I said that. It's more like a line I've seen bandied about here and there when describing stories in some games. Usually Mario or Sonic or the like, but still. ;P

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  • SpeedySwafSpeedySwaf Registered User
    edited February 2007
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it unfair to compare any modern story to Shakespeare? From what I understood, the defining trait of Shakespeare wasn't just the quality of the stories, but also the fact it's been told over and over again for hundreds of years. In that sense, we can't lable anything as "Shakespeare" quality until it continues to be told and retold years after it's initial appearence.

    Also in this sense, however, it would be very difficult for any game story to reach Shakespeare levels, due to the technical limitations many games have faced, undercutting their effectivness at presentation and making them increasingly hard to find and experience as time goes on.

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  • Carol VordermanCarol Vorderman Registered User
    edited February 2007
    For some reason, the plot of Okage Shadow King appealed to me very much. I think it's mostly because it didn't make any damn sense, which made it amusing and really the only reason I endured those terrible excuses for 'dungeons.'
    That's exactly how I felt about that game, too

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  • LoneIgadzraLoneIgadzra Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    To me, a lot of my favorite game stories aren't about whether they have a good story idea in principle, but how well it's told in the context of the game. Take Baldur's Gate (all of 'em). Nothing too complicated, and the forgotten realms is like the ultimate generic fantasy hodgepodge, but the game presents it with such detail and charm that you're completely drawn in. I maintain that any given shitty story (within reason, because I just know somebody's going to take that as a challenge :P ) can be made into a good game. It's not about what is being told, but how the telling is being done. Make the player feel like they're really involved in the generic situation laid out in front of them, and he won't even notice that it's lame, because, if only in a small way, it seems real.

  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    To me, a lot of my favorite game stories aren't about whether they have a good story idea in principle, but how well it's told in the context of the game. Take Baldur's Gate (all of 'em). Nothing too complicated, and the forgotten realms is like the ultimate generic fantasy hodgepodge, but the game presents it with such detail and charm that you're completely drawn in. I maintain that any given shitty story (within reason, because I just know somebody's going to take that as a challenge :P ) can be made into a good game. It's not about what is being told, but how the telling is being done. Make the player feel like they're really involved in the generic situation laid out in front of them, and he won't even notice that it's lame, because, if only in a small way, it seems real.


    Well, if it's context and detail that make a fine game, Oregon Trail must be a literary masterpiece.

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  • ZackSchillingZackSchilling Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    emnmnme wrote: »
    Well, if it's context and detail that make a fine game, Oregon Trail must be a literary masterpiece.

    The Columbia River is 9 meters deep in the middle. What would you like to do?
    > Attempt to ford the river.

    Shithead has drowned.
    Tits McGee has drowned.
    You lost 35 boxes of bullets.
    You lost 945 pounds of food.

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  • darleysamdarleysam Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cB70wuweyQI
    posted this in another thread, but again, there's valid points about games being taken seriously for what they are, rather than compared to other arts.

  • LBD_NytetraynLBD_Nytetrayn TorontoRegistered User regular
    edited February 2007
    SpeedySwaf wrote: »
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it unfair to compare any modern story to Shakespeare? From what I understood, the defining trait of Shakespeare wasn't just the quality of the stories, but also the fact it's been told over and over again for hundreds of years. In that sense, we can't lable anything as "Shakespeare" quality until it continues to be told and retold years after it's initial appearence.

    Also in this sense, however, it would be very difficult for any game story to reach Shakespeare levels, due to the technical limitations many games have faced, undercutting their effectivness at presentation and making them increasingly hard to find and experience as time goes on.

    ...it was JUST a FIGURE of SPEECH! /_\

    Lord, maybe I should just change the title of the thread...

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  • Anonymous RobotAnonymous Robot Registered User
    edited February 2007
    A good plot in a game is as important as a good plot in a film. Gaming as a medium is still young, and developers can still sell games based solely on the novelty of shooting at aliens with your laser gun. This will change. I don't know if this will be in our lifetime, but the medium will grow and develop. I cringe at the dialogue and characterization in most games, but I suffer through them because the games are fun.

    In order to grow, gaming needs to respect itself. Developers will need a desire to be proud of their products. That means refraining from shipping out a game with a bare bones plot or cliched characters. As media, games have the potential to send messages, to create atmosphere, to make us feel things. It is just a matter of time before somebody seizes this potential.

    Edit: I should add the advantage that games have over any other medium- true, active participation. The player (or players) of a game are more than viewers interpreting a painting or forming images from a novel. They have the ability to alter the gamespace, and they are (often) responsible for the life of the character they have been commissioned to control.

    The possibilities of gaming and storytelling excites me, because it is an entirely new field which is, for the most part, unexplored. There are so many ways to tell a story in a game that cannot be done in a film or book. For this to happen, though, it's likely that the way in which the industry works will need to shift. EA has no incentive to try a possibly divisive experimental format. The drives of independent producers will have to be fostered. The field of indy gaming, which exists right now but is mostly insignificant, will need to expand.

    Spoiler:
  • XagarathXagarath Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    emnmnme wrote: »
    Geez, every single time one of these threads comes up, Planescape is mentioned. While the writing wasn't as frilly, I thought the plot and twist in Jade Empire was just as good as Planescape's plot and twist.

    As if amnesia wasn't already the most overused cheesy plot device in videogaming, Planescape uses it in spades. Falls From Grace didn't even have a backstory, if I remember correctly.

    "frilly?"
    You know, I'd debate whether you've ever read much literature or watched many films of actual quality if that's what you thought it was, particularly if you missed the point of Planescape so much as to think the "twist" was its entire purpose.

    The reason that Torment get mentioned (quite rightly) in every one of these threads is entirely because, unlike pretty much every other game out there and many Hollywood film, it rises above basing its plot and storytelling around cheap mechanics like plot twists. They're there, obviously, but they're not what makes the story work- it's the character development, quality of dialogue and description, richness of setting and sometimes sheer lyricism of the passages involved.

    I'm afraid your post betrays a fundamental lack of understanding of what good writing actually is.

  • Mezama ShidokeMezama Shidoke Registered User
    edited February 2007
    Video game writing may not be great, but it shouldn't be dismissed, either.
    I mean, the story to Max Payne is just as good as Pride and Prejudice.

    What does Pride and Prejudice contribute to society? (Certain kinds of) Pride and (certain kinds of) prejudice can sometimes/will/usually keep people (in England) (at that time) apart? I'm overwhelmed!
    Shakespeare's plots too are nothing special in that regard. Hamlet: be decisive (in gaining vengeance) (or don't bother with it all). Romeo and Juliet: young lovers can often be/are unrealistic (in their actions) (and beliefs) (and may make many mistakes).
    There is nothing particularly revelatory about these stories; and even when a large claim is made by the texts, these texts don't provide evidence/reasoning or an argument (other than argument by assertion/narration). There is nothing in Pride and Prejudice that proves that the scenario concocted must necessarily be so or that it has wider application.

    The best thing about Shakespeare is his incredible wit and language use. I've never read anything that came close. "It's not what you say, it's how you say it."

    Along those lines, video game writing should worry less about the brilliance of the plot--if Jane Austen and Shakespeare are ultimately trivial, you can easily turn out a "plot" as good--and more about the entertainment value of the writing--is it funny? suspenseful? scary? Are things foreshadowed in a way that will make a second playthrough interesting?

    P.S. Although I may have been exceedingly ungenerous towards Shakespeare and Austen's writing--surely there are multiple meanings in their works, some that are lost in reducing them to a blurb--I maintain that no individual theme is truly revolutionary in the way certain lit professors gush that they are.

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  • Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    A good plot in a game is as important as a good plot in a film. Gaming as a medium is still young, and developers can still sell games based solely on the novelty of shooting at aliens with your laser gun. This will change. I don't know if this will be in our lifetime, but the medium will grow and develop. I cringe at the dialogue and characterization in most games, but I suffer through them because the games are fun.

    In order to grow, gaming needs to respect itself. Developers will need a desire to be proud of their products. That means refraining from shipping out a game with a bare bones plot or cliched characters. As media, games have the potential to send messages, to create atmosphere, to make us feel things. It is just a matter of time before somebody seizes this potential.

    Edit: I should add the advantage that games have over any other medium- true, active participation. The player (or players) of a game are more than viewers interpreting a painting or forming images from a novel. They have the ability to alter the gamespace, and they are (often) responsible for the life of the character they have been commissioned to control.

    The possibilities of gaming and storytelling excites me, because it is an entirely new field which is, for the most part, unexplored. There are so many ways to tell a story in a game that cannot be done in a film or book. For this to happen, though, it's likely that the way in which the industry works will need to shift. EA has no incentive to try a possibly divisive experimental format. The drives of independent producers will have to be fostered. The field of indy gaming, which exists right now but is mostly insignificant, will need to expand.

    This is pretty much my entire attitude. Mostly I suffer through crappy stories for gameplay, or I enjoy them on the same cheesy level that I will enjoy, say, mainstream superhero comics or pulpy fantasy novels. But I am optimistic about the growth of storytelling in games. We just need more successful games that focus on narrative or character development.

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  • HKPacman420HKPacman420 Registered User
    edited February 2007
    Some games have pretty good plots (IE; Half-Life[2], though part of why it's good is the whole experiencing the story for yourself).


    Though, there are games with horrible, horrible plots.


    'The president has been kidnapped by ninjas. Are you a bad enough dude to rescue the president?'

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • LBD_NytetraynLBD_Nytetrayn TorontoRegistered User regular
    edited February 2007
    'The president has been kidnapped by ninjas. Are you a bad enough dude to rescue the president?'

    That's not simply a plot, that's a challenge!

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  • xraydogxraydog Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Rust wrote: »
    ...

    FFXII would be a decent example of style without substance - and in this case I think the lack of substance helped it a bit instead, because there's nothing worse than a game getting too wrapped up in its own maudlin writing (Xenogears comes to mind here). Give me a generic story with some wickedly cool characters - Balthier - anytime.

    ...

    Up until now I thought I was the only person who thought this. I couldn't stand FFXII method of storytelling. It was like every single line of dialogue was deliberately tongue twisting and deliberately complicated. That plus the fact that the political intrigue bullshit isn't what I'd describe as fantasy. I really didn't like the 'realistic' twist the story had. Which is frustrating because I believe it has the best gameplay in the series bar none.

  • J3pJ3p Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I absolutely loved the story and overall style of both the Max Payne games. Fallout 1 & 2 also have kickin' plots and great characters throughout.

    +./\ 50 ?. 50
  • XagarathXagarath Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Video game writing may not be great, but it shouldn't be dismissed, either.
    I mean, the story to Max Payne is just as good as Pride and Prejudice.

    What does Pride and Prejudice contribute to society? (Certain kinds of) Pride and (certain kinds of) prejudice can sometimes/will/usually keep people (in England) (at that time) apart? I'm overwhelmed!
    Shakespeare's plots too are nothing special in that regard. Hamlet: be decisive (in gaining vengeance) (or don't bother with it all). Romeo and Juliet: young lovers can often be/are unrealistic (in their actions) (and beliefs) (and may make many mistakes).
    There is nothing particularly revelatory about these stories; and even when a large claim is made by the texts, these texts don't provide evidence/reasoning or an argument (other than argument by assertion/narration). There is nothing in Pride and Prejudice that proves that the scenario concocted must necessarily be so or that it has wider application.

    The best thing about Shakespeare is his incredible wit and language use. I've never read anything that came close. "It's not what you say, it's how you say it."

    Along those lines, video game writing should worry less about the brilliance of the plot--if Jane Austen and Shakespeare are ultimately trivial, you can easily turn out a "plot" as good--and more about the entertainment value of the writing--is it funny? suspenseful? scary? Are things foreshadowed in a way that will make a second playthrough interesting?

    P.S. Although I may have been exceedingly ungenerous towards Shakespeare and Austen's writing--surely there are multiple meanings in their works, some that are lost in reducing them to a blurb--I maintain that no individual theme is truly revolutionary in the way certain lit professors gush that they are.
    Lots and lots of people (although few of them likely to be near a video games forum) would say that the main point of Austen's writing was also her incredible wit and language use.
    I'd hardly call Max Payne ground-breaking social satire on quite the same level that Pride and Prejudice was.

  • darleysamdarleysam Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Some games have pretty good plots (IE; Half-Life[2], though part of why it's good is the whole experiencing the story for yourself).


    Though, there are games with horrible, horrible plots.


    'The president has been kidnapped by ninjas. Are you a bad enough dude to rescue the president?'

    the general consensus with Half-Life is that it's not so much the story as the strength, but how it's delivered. This is fair, and honestly where i think games should be going. Using their unique abilities as an interactive medium to tell you the story, rather than aping cinematic or literary conventions. And this article on gamasutra covers that nicely:
    http://www.gamasutra.com/features/20070215/schneider_01.shtml

  • RustRust __BANNED USERS
    edited February 2007
    xraydog wrote: »
    Up until now I thought I was the only person who thought this. I couldn't stand FFXII method of storytelling. It was like every single line of dialogue was deliberately tongue twisting and deliberately complicated. That plus the fact that the political intrigue bullshit isn't what I'd describe as fantasy. I really didn't like the 'realistic' twist the story had. Which is frustrating because I believe it has the best gameplay in the series bar none.

    I, uh, never suggested that. Actually I thought XII's dialogue was the best in the series, at least since VII.

  • NorayNoray Registered User
    edited February 2007
    Max Payne 2 has awesome storytelling. The purposefully cheesy, but not too cheesy noirish dialogues and monologues fit the atmosphere of the game and the graphic novel sections perfectly, and the characters are wonderfully archetypal without actually feeling flat. The voice acting is as close to perfection as any game's as well. I've played that game through like 10 times and follow all the story stuff every time. It's that good. It has many (to me) memorable lines as well. "The trouble with wanting something is the fear of losing it... or never getting it. The thought makes you weak." and so on and so forth. Love every moment of it.

    Obligatory props to MGS of course.

    Deus Ex, not exactly cinematic, but I love the premise and the style.

  • SpeedySwafSpeedySwaf Registered User
    edited February 2007
    ...it was JUST a FIGURE of SPEECH! /_\

    Lord, maybe I should just change the title of the thread...
    Ahh, sorry about that. I was kinda thinking back to what Ebert once said (at least, I'm pretty sure he said something like that).

    Deguello wrote:
    Nintendo set up a DS buffet and all the third parties went to the PSP Diner. The Diner came down with a case of botulism and everybody wonders why Nintendo is fat when they return.
  • BallmanBallman Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I liked that article, darleysam. It hit on something I was thinking of while reading this thread but couldn't find the words for: "playing the story" as well as playing the game. I've been hungry for something in gaming that allows me to do this, and there just isn't much out there like it. I think one shining example of this can be found in Deus Ex. The story itself might only be decent at best, but the game did a great job of immersing you in it. Half-Life 2 is a great example as well, using almost the entire first level to tell you a story.

    ...unfortunately, I'm having trouble thinking of other games that do this well.

    Edit: Ah, yeah, Metal Gear Solid does it well, too. As dumb as it sounds, things like using the directional mic to listen in on conversations were some of my favorite parts in the game.

    JC of DI wrote:
    Mr. G wrote: »
    So, there's a video of Kurt Cobain in [Guitar Hero 5] out. I feel dirty watching this, he just looks wrong.

    Well Cobain's mo-cap session was completely useless, so you can't blame them.
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