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"It ain't exactly Shakespeare..."

13

Posts

  • manaleak34manaleak34 Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I would have to nominate the Phoenix Wright games as great examples of excellent video game writing. The characters are all unique, easily likable and are just well developed. The dialog is brilliant and is often extremely funny(The 1337speak director comes to mind the most). As well as having unique and very interesting plots for cases(Turnabout Good buys is a epic on it's own.)

    XBL/Steam:ManaCrevice
  • RainbowDespairRainbowDespair Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    It's inherently difficult to make a good videogame with a good story which explains why examples of success are so rare to come by. With writing a book, the only limits are the writer's imagination, skill, and dedications. TV shows & movies add on a ton of production costs (paying for actors, directors, cameramen, special effects designers, etc.). With videogames, not only do you have all the production issues that you would have with a film or TV series, but you also need to deal with making a fun game as well outside of the story. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that most videogames that have really well done stories are little more than animated comic books with a bit of frustration added on for good measure. I mean, I love Phoenix Wright as much as the next guy, but you could turn it into a non-interactive flash cartoon without losing much.

    However, I think a strong case can be made that in at least one genre of stories, videogames are the supreme medium, the medium that is best suited for the creation of outstanding works in the genre. That would be the horror genre. Watch a horror movie and sure, it can be scary, but hey, it's other people who are in trouble. Plus in most cases, you can be sure that the hero or heroine is going to survive at least until the end of the movie. However, with a horror videogame, you have no such assurance. Mess up and the character's toast. And well, that's not just a character being terrorized by monsters or what have you; that's you down there surrounded by evil.

  • TuomaTuoma Registered User
    edited February 2007
    Im pissed at seeing how many complain about MGS2 being silly and wierd, and then every page there is someone who actually tries to say that any FF game or Half Life would actually have good stories. I actually liked mgs 2 over-the-top wierdness.


    Killer7 is probibly the ONLY videogame I have ever felt had any good writing. The rest of the games you mentioned... If you would try and make a book of it, and have someone that does not play videogames read it they would ask what kind of drugs your on to like that. Hell, just try and explain any plot as good and they will probibly ask if your high right there.

    "So, in the beginning your character opens a portal to a space alien world wich then takes over the reseach facility. Then some dude with a briefcase and a suit stares at you for a brief moment from time to time. And theres black ninjas that run superfast!

    Oh, and in the end there is a huge brain-like alien who the hero shoots down with a rocker launcher".

    Games are silly, just because the game is AWESOME, and the plot works doesn't make it good.

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  • lazerbeardlazerbeard Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Some games have excellent stories, the Warcraft series, MGS series, and DX1 come to mind FFXII's story looked great too. All of these games had great stories, and were better for it, but the main thing is that games are primarily (obviously) about gameplay.

    A good story with excllent gameplay can make a great game, but the games that people talk about also have interesting characters and story are the ones people keep talking about. For the game to be a true hit the game has to have some personality some sort of style, through story, art direction or something else. A lot of games go take the easy route on story because they are focusing resources on the gameplay portion of the game, others decide to make a more rounded experience, and those are the games people care about.

  • XagarathXagarath Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    emnmnme wrote: »
    Planescape spoiler.
    Spoiler:

    Jade Empire spoiler.
    Spoiler:
    That's not a twist (Planescape), it's a progression. There's nothing for it to be a twist from.
    I don't think you actually know what you're talking about. At all.

  • mantidormantidor Registered User
    edited February 2007
    I thought Majora's Mask story was nice, given the Zelda series' pretty generic plots. It would make a pretty nice movie/book in my eyes.

  • drhazarddrhazard Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I find it interesting when people claim HL/HL2, Ico, SotC, etc. have no story but create a great narrative while you play it.

    That's your story.

    A perfect video game will be able to meld all of its elements into a unified whole, so that none can be removed without ruining it. We haven't gotten the perfect game, but we've gotten close.

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  • DelzhandDelzhand motivated battle programmerRegistered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Most videogames are like porn. You have story elements and gameplay elements with a strict division. Story exists only so far as it makes the gameplay plausible. There are a few games where this division isn't present, like Indigo Prophecy and Metroid Prime. But those are rare exceptions. Cloud is just "guy with sword" once you enter a battle, analogous to how "feisty schoolgirl being held for detention" is just "slut" once she's got a dick in her mouth.

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  • CouscousCouscous Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Delzhand wrote: »
    Most videogames are like porn.

    Are you Carmack?

  • JihadJesusJihadJesus Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    drhazard wrote: »
    I find it interesting when people claim HL/HL2, Ico, SotC, etc. have no story but create a great narrative while you play it.

    That's your story.

    A perfect video game will be able to meld all of its elements into a unified whole, so that none can be removed without ruining it.

    Awesome.

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  • darleysamdarleysam Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Titmouse wrote: »
    Are you Carmack?
    wrong, David Cage said that.

  • cooljammer00cooljammer00 Hey Small Businessman!Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I think Phoenix Wright has an enthralling story

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    I pronounce it bee-log. Most recent entry: VIDEO GAMES: GUNPOINT, OR A SCIENTIFIC STUDY ON WHAT HAPPENS WHEN GLASS MEETS TROUSERS.
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  • HozHoz Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    The twist in Planescape is that it was made by Black Isle Studios and not Bioware. Some people still don't get that.

  • DelzhandDelzhand motivated battle programmerRegistered User regular
    edited February 2007
    darleysam wrote: »
    wrong, David Cage said that.

    I was trying to remember it. I remembered the concept, but I couldn't remember the exact quote or who said it, so I figured I'd just expound on it with my own thoughts.

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  • Zephyr_FateZephyr_Fate Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I remember when I returned FFXII and felt relieved from the burden of such pedestrian dialogue and story. It was the main reason I just stopped playing after 30 hours.

    It seems less and less games have more of the focus on a good story(games like Digital Devil Saga, Dreamfall: TLJ, Shadow Hearts, Drakengard II), and more of a focus on good gameplay.

    There's been a lot of games I've enjoyed due to their great stories, and not their shoddy gameplay.

  • Original RufusOriginal Rufus Registered User
    edited February 2007
    But for some reason I am compelled to eat it all up!

    Hell, the only reason I want to play MGS4 is for the plot. I want to know what Liquid Ocelot is up to, I want to know what the deal is with the Patriots, I want to know who the man behind the curtain is. The plot may be ridiculous, but it sure sucks me in.

    I know they're all overwrought to hell, but I find every single one of those games incredibly compelling and endearing. Something about the major characters, and plenty of the minor ones, have always been intensely appealing to me.

    I find all the Snakes interesting. I love Otacon and his sobbing heroics. I want Major Zero in my corner in real life. I want to touch Eva's boobs.

    The games just appeal to some while the weirdness and occasional ham-fistedness turns off others.

  • HozHoz Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    By the time you realize MGS is like that you're already into it so you just go "Fuck it, why not?".

  • LorkLork Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Hoz wrote: »
    The twist in Planescape is that it was made by Black Isle Studios and not Bioware. Some people still don't get that.
    And he's right. That twist is what makes Torment worthwhile.

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    Gamertag: Clorfhanger
  • edited February 2007
    Metal

    Gear

    Solid.

    The most ridiculous and contrived plotting in the world.
    i am with this 100% for mgs and mgs2

    but the basic plot of mgs3 is actually really strong

    if you like ignore all the "patriots philosophers legacy lol" rubbish, it's a decent military thriller type thing

  • ZackSchillingZackSchilling Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I think Phoenix Wright has an enthralling story

    It's alright but not great. If it were a book, it wouldn't be able to stand on its own.

    (Not that it has to be, it's just a good metric for gauging if video-game stories are actually great or if the greatness came mostly from becoming a part of it all.)

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  • CouscousCouscous Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    bongi wrote: »
    i am with this 100% for mgs and mgs2

    but the basic plot of mgs3 is actually really strong

    if you like ignore all the "patriots philosophers legacy lol" rubbish, it's a decent military thriller type thing

    What about the Pain and the other members of the unit? Don't forget the point where you destroy a huge walking tank with a missile launcher.

  • edited February 2007
    Titmouse wrote: »
    What about the Pain and the other members of the unit? Don't forget the point where you destroy a huge walking tank with a missile launcher.
    i was talking about the whole
    Spoiler:

    in comparison with the ungoldly mess that is the plotline for mgs1 and 2

  • Original RufusOriginal Rufus Registered User
    edited February 2007
    bongi wrote: »
    i was talking about the whole
    Spoiler:

    in comparison with the ungoldly mess that is the plotline for mgs1 and 2

    I really don't feel as though Metal Gear Solid's plot was particuarly incomprehensible. You were never left with too many unanswered questions, as most mysteries were resolved in a timely manner, and in the end, everything made alot of sense.

  • ToadTheMushroomToadTheMushroom Registered User
    edited February 2007
    You didnt play MGS2 did you.

    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.
  • Original RufusOriginal Rufus Registered User
    edited February 2007
    You didnt play MGS2 did you.

    Oh no, I certainly have.

    I meant the original Metal Gear Solid specifically.

  • darleysamdarleysam Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Delzhand wrote: »
    I was trying to remember it. I remembered the concept, but I couldn't remember the exact quote or who said it, so I figured I'd just expound on it with my own thoughts.

    fair enough:) it's a comment i've referenced before, about how games are basically held together in the same way as a porn movie (like you said). They're mostly a plot that gives an excuse for the action. No-one watches a porn movie for the plot (well, some smart-arse will say they do, but that's not their intended purpose), and most games are made as, or at least perceived as, action with a bit of plot tacked on to keep things as coherent as necessary.

  • Great.IndoorsGreat.Indoors Registered User
    edited February 2007
    Rust wrote: »
    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 vast majority of gamers want their brains taxed just so they can keep entertaining themselves.

    But that was what they said about television programs, they needed to be able to be digested in single doses. Now, look at some of the top rated shows 24, Lost, Heroes, they require people to remember week to week what has been happening and pay attention to the details. In other words, have John Grisham write the next Pheonix Wright game!

  • ToadTheMushroomToadTheMushroom Registered User
    edited February 2007
    Oh no, I certainly have.

    I meant the original Metal Gear Solid specifically.

    Ah ok. The first one was great. Great plot, understandable goal. Great setting (even the name is cool, shadow moses. oooh)

    The second one starts awesome, on a ship, some great cutscenes and a fantastic sneaking section with like 100 guards.

    Then its like ololz no we dont and lump you with Raiden.

    He had better be every much as badass as he appears in the MGS4 trailer.

    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.
  • breakzbreakz Registered User
    edited February 2007
    I haven't heard enough about Hotel Dusk in here. For a game made by Cing, the writing is pretty solid and character development isn't as banal as you see in most games. Maybe its just how I'm a sucker for film noir.

    Hotel Dusk is good though! With Planescape, its the closest I've gotten to a novel.

    (ASIDE: Anyone who says Planescape uses "trite" plot devices doesn't appreciate detail.)

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    Now Playing - GRAW, FFIII DS, Ninja Gaiden Black, Phoenix Wright
  • AJAlkaline40AJAlkaline40 __BANNED USERS
    edited February 2007
    MGS is like emotional candy. It's not art, the points that it brings up aren't socially significant and they won't change your outlook on life in anyway, but they're built to seem like they do. What Kojima made there was something that combines lots of popular elements rather haphazardly to create something that's extremely appealing overall as motivation to finish the game, but complete fluff that doesn't have to have any basis other than "it's cool and it sucks you in".

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  • RustRust __BANNED USERS
    edited February 2007
    But that was what they said about television programs, they needed to be able to be digested in single doses. Now, look at some of the top rated shows 24, Lost, Heroes, they require people to remember week to week what has been happening and pay attention to the details. In other words, have John Grisham write the next Pheonix Wright game!

    So one of the defining elements of a good plot is...continuity. Wow. Hm.

    Wouldn't that be sort of obligatory? The main difference between TV and gaming is their relationship with the viewer; gaming is active, TV is passive. You can't compare their plots without including that element.

  • RenzoRenzo Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I've played so few games that have good stories, and so many games that are supposed to have good stories but fail in one way or another. The Myst, Half-Life, .hack, Shadow Hearts and Metal Gear franchises all tell a good story and tell it well. Ace Combat 4's story was really good as well. Shadow of the Colossus, God of War, and the new Prince of Persia trilogy told relatively simplistic stories, but with great presentations. FFVII and X were the best of the FFs I've played in terms of plot, and I've played all but V.

    Oh. Max Payne 2. Max Payne 2 can have my babies.

    Recently I've been disappointed by FFXII and Planescape: Torment. FFXII has the misfortune of being stellar in every way except for the plot, which makes its shortcomings that much more apparent. And Planescape: Torment falls apart during the last act, and I just stopped caring because it was obvious the developers did too.

    Edit: KotOR 1 and 2 were good. 2 moreso than 1, until the very end.

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  • bruinbruin Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    It's been mentioned already, but I gotta say the writing in Hotel Dusk blew me away. The dialogue is just far better than any other game I've played.

  • HozHoz Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Renzo wrote: »
    And Planescape: Torment falls apart during the last act, and I just stopped caring because it was obvious the developers did too.
    There are so many ways for the last act to play out based on what you said/was said to you in the rest of the game. If it was your first time then you definitely didn't uncover every detail at the end.

  • RenzoRenzo Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Hoz wrote: »
    There are so many ways for the last act to play out based on what you said/was said to you in the rest of the game. If it was your first time then you definitely didn't uncover every detail at the end.

    That wasn't what got to me. It was the fact that you started plane-hopping, somehow ending up in the exact spots you needed to in order to push the plot along. The game lost all sense of subtlety and ferried you from one plot point to the next. It was sloppy and too convenient and it laid bare what the devs had to do, whether it was because of time constraints or otherwise.

    I'll pick it up again just to say I finished it. I always do.

    FFXIV/Sargatanas/Wintry Ptarmigan
    3DS: 3351-5352-0314
  • DeguelloDeguello Registered User
    edited February 2007
    The Original Final Fantasy Tactics plot sucked. It was over-obtuse and depressing, especially with the very idea that
    Spoiler:
    What cheeses me about that is the main characters just got finished slaying DEITIES, and they can't stop like... one murderous human. Heck the part with
    Spoiler:
    When I was 15 I thought it was purty deep and thoughtful. Now, 22, I can't believe I ever liked it, seriously. In fact that leads me to a general conclusion. Sad/Bad Endings and videogames do not mix. "Bittersweet" is as low as you can go.

    The problem arises in how to competently convey tragedy and purpose. A tragic movie or book is has authentic tragedy. The events unfold beyond your control and you, the reader/viewer, can only hope things resolve themselves. And if they don't, hey, tragedy. When games try to do this, it never comes off authentic and is always artificial. The game allows you to fight and combat evil and show your ability to save the day, but then at times it wrestles control away from you in order to show tragic events. The flow is "Player, you have been fighting, now stop and watch this unspeakable act of horror befalling your home village. Now you may continue to fight." The fact that you DID have control of your actions and then it rescinds it only to show you pain and sadness just shows how non-genuine the tragedy is. Now imagine a second playthrough. You KNOW what is going to happen, and yet your avatar still can't seem to get to your home quick enough. That certainly makes the player feel like a helpless god, eh?

    But maybe that's passable, perhaps, though false the tragedy, the player, at least on the first playthrough, will be properly motivated to kill the barbarian king who ravaged the village. Sure. But imagine if when he gets there, after the 40 hour ice-fire-grass-dungeon sailboat Epona quest-mo-bob, the barbarian king is defeated, and then he cuts a rope and the hero falls into a bottomless pit. Barbarian king wins. This (like FFT) is ultimately nihilistic, especially when this tragedy happens at the expense of the game's mechanics. Falling into a pit before made our village hero (let's call him Klink) simply lose a heart before. Now, and only now, it kills him, allowing the barbarian king to continue the rape, pillage, and conquest. And it looks like our hero has killed, he didn't save squat, and he basically wasted his time. And hey, he's not the only one. The player wasted his time too. And I'll bet he's somewhat angry. To give the player and the player's avatar control over magical powers and ultimate strength, only to have the world not be saved by them because the plot calls for it, this tragedy? It doesn't mesh. It's not genuine.

    There are those that would say that the tragic ending would make the game more "real," even if you ignore the fireballs spewing from the hero/villain's hand. Maybe so, but in my opinion there is enough tragedy in the world, what with genocides, city violence, domestic violence, child abuse and what not, and the players in those tragedies are always gray and never black and white. Can I be allowed this escape into a world with clearly-defined good and evil? Of Heroes and Villains? Of Princesses in need of saving? (Or Princes, too, Ms. Steinem) Or must it too, also succumb to the "depth" of our modern literature and movies, rife with symbol and politick, with agenda and pretention?

    tl;dr Deguello writes a dissertation. Please forgive him.

    WTF lady?! Does it sound like I'm ordering a fucking Pizza?!
  • capable heartcapable heart Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    You raise some interesting points about how artificial failure or taking decisions out of the player's hands undermines the credibility of a "tragic" ending.

    Sometimes, though, a tragedy is a good kind of story to get across. You sometimes have to make concessions for a "cheat" or two to get tragedy into a game, due to the technical limitations of current games. I think that this kind of thing should be distinguished from, and disapproved of less, than when a game just has a bad, unfair (unfair to the player, I mean, unfair to the character is okay) "you die for no reason" end. That is more like a bad writing problem, rather than an inherently unacceptable dramatic trope.

    I would like to point out that it would be awfully hard to ever make any story play out tragically, according to your requirements (understandable though they may be) given the game-player is essentially a meta-god outside of the gameworld's constraints. Does forced tragedy break immersion? Perhaps, it's a fine line to walk, I guess. For nothing at all to go truely wrong, I think, would be just as unwieldy.

    Hamlet the Adventure Game, second play-through:

    Dad's Ghost: Your uncle killed me, and now he's doing your mom.
    Hamlet: Son of a bitch!
    *Hamlet stabs his uncle*
    Ending Cutscene: Hamlet and Ophelia get married and live happily ever after.
    THE END

  • Masked_MulletMasked_Mullet Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I have come up with a great idea for the most basic story line to be turned into one of the most greatest games out there. Just have either Ron Pearlman or Mickey Rourke as the narrator, Come on when you heard Ron say the words "War never changes" the hairs on the back of your neck would stand on end. Those words made you think "fuck man i have gotten myself into one kick ass game and the fucker hasn't even started yet!"

  • MugenmidgetMugenmidget Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    benzc3.gif
    Spoiler:

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  • HoukHouk Nipples The EchidnaRegistered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Deguello wrote: »
    Can I be allowed this escape into a world with clearly-defined good and evil? Of Heroes and Villains? Of Princesses in need of saving? (Or Princes, too, Ms. Steinem) Or must it too, also succumb to the "depth" of our modern literature and movies, rife with symbol and politick, with agenda and pretention?
    Yeah, God knows we don't have enough unreal, escapist fantasy video games on the market. It's a veritable glut of realistic, culturally relevant interactive experiences, i tells ya.

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