Discussion of movies and ReelThoughts topics

It is currently Sat Aug 02, 2014 5:51 am




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 25 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
What do you think of videogames as a storytelling medium? 
Author Message
Post What do you think of videogames as a storytelling medium?
I came across this article on gamespot.com recently, which looked at all the esoteric philosophical takes on videogames being or having the ability to be a true storytelling medium in the vein of say books, plays, and film of course.

http://www.gamespot.com/features/621495 ... ot;title;1

Now, I think there's a whole lot of intellectual self-indulgence going on in this debate, especially when you have legitimate academics devoting serious energy to this subject. Frankly, I think all it comes down to is whether or not a game is a story based game, gameplay based game, or some hybrid of the two, and the whole issue is being complicated by people who want to sound sophisticated.

A gameplay based game would be like Tetris or a sports simulation, where the enjoyment is derived from performing the task required of you in the game. A lot of shooting games or other action titles would also fall in this category with the story being mostly an extraneous distraction or aesthetic element.

A story based game is something like a point and click adventure game, where there's not much else to do except talk to people, find out more information about what's going on, and possibly make choices about what happens next. These are obviously legitimate storytelling mediums as they can have just as much in common with a movie or book as they do other videogames. The interactivity merely changes the pace at which one experiences the story.

A hybrid of the two is one of those games where the gameplay isn't that interesting in and of itself and therefore would require additional context in order to be fully enjoyable. This would be something like a role-playing game, where there's a lot more to the game than just progressing the story, but without the story, the game would feel incomplete.

Now, I've probably also been intellectually self-indulgent, but I just resent all these professors using fancy words, when there really isn't that much to say in my opinion. Are videogames at the same level as books, movies, and plays? Here's a better question: Can any medium be compared to another using the same standards?


Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:07 pm
Post Re: What do you think of videogames as a storytelling medium?
Well one thing video games can do that movies will never be able to do is brnaching storylines, by which I mean situations where you can choose what type of person the main character will be, Mass Effect being the ultimate example, you have have free reign over pretty much all aspects of your character(and from what i've heard, Prototype advances that even further)It's amazing how drastically you cna alter that game's story just by a few simple choices, and that's one thing I doubt movies will ever be able truly duplicate.


Tue Aug 11, 2009 12:36 am
Post Re: What do you think of videogames as a storytelling medium?
Vexer wrote:
Well one thing video games can do that movies will never be able to do is brnaching storylines, by which I mean situations where you can choose what type of person the main character will be, Mass Effect being the ultimate example, you have have free reign over pretty much all aspects of your character(and from what i've heard, Prototype advances that even further)It's amazing how drastically you cna alter that game's story just by a few simple choices, and that's one thing I doubt movies will ever be able truly duplicate.

Don't forget the Fallout series of games where it comes to making choices that affect how the game unfolds (re: karma).

Ultimately, games can be a more effective storytelling medium in that they can provide more of an immersion effect on the audience than a movie can. It's also for that very reason that it's very difficult to adapt a videogame into a successful film (re: almost impossible). Of course, some games can be entertaining without really providing much of a story (eg: Doom).


Tue Aug 11, 2009 3:05 pm
Cinematographer
User avatar

Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 9:17 pm
Posts: 529
Post Re: What do you think of videogames as a storytelling medium?
Holy crap, Fallout 3. I think right now, it's the best example of the blend that you are talking about. However, I didn't like Fallout 3 very much. I think Bioshock, the Half-Life series, and the Halo series are better examples of storytelling through video games.


Tue Aug 11, 2009 5:22 pm
Profile
Post Re: What do you think of videogames as a storytelling medium?
The Metal Gear Solid series proved to me that games can have engrossing storylines and cutscenes that match film, but because it has 20-30 min (sometimes longer) cutscenes some people don't like them.


Tue Aug 11, 2009 6:57 pm
Post Re: What do you think of videogames as a storytelling medium?
Blace wrote:
The Metal Gear Solid series proved to me that games can have engrossing storylines and cutscenes that match film, but because it has 20-30 min (sometimes longer) cutscenes some people don't like them.


The thing is that you can rarely pause a cutscene like you can a movie so if you have to go to the bathroom you're SOL, so watch that cutscene!


Tue Aug 11, 2009 7:02 pm
Post Re: What do you think of videogames as a storytelling medium?
Patrick wrote:
Blace wrote:
The Metal Gear Solid series proved to me that games can have engrossing storylines and cutscenes that match film, but because it has 20-30 min (sometimes longer) cutscenes some people don't like them.


The thing is that you can rarely pause a cutscene like you can a movie so if you have to go to the bathroom you're SOL, so watch that cutscene!

Cutscenes are more a characteristic of Eastern (re: Japanese or Korean) games as they tend to be more linear than Western games are. Personally, I like Western (re: computer games) more for that reason. In a games like Half-Life 2 or Fallout 3, there are scripted moments, but the methods by which the player arrives at those moments can be varied. In Eastern games, one's pretty much forced to follow the rails to the predetermined moments that exist in the game, those moments being punctuated by the aforementioned cutscenes. IMO, it shows the cultural differences between Asia and North America, particularly where the emphasis on original thinking is placed.


Tue Aug 11, 2009 7:43 pm
Post Re: What do you think of videogames as a storytelling medium?
Patrick wrote:
Blace wrote:
The Metal Gear Solid series proved to me that games can have engrossing storylines and cutscenes that match film, but because it has 20-30 min (sometimes longer) cutscenes some people don't like them.


The thing is that you can rarely pause a cutscene like you can a movie so if you have to go to the bathroom you're SOL, so watch that cutscene!

Eh, I always found the MGS series to be severely overrated, even MGS fans agreed that MGS4 went WAAAYYYY overboard with the cutscenes.


Tue Aug 11, 2009 7:44 pm
Post Re: What do you think of videogames as a storytelling medium?
I'm a huge MGS fan and I don't think it went overboard :P


Tue Aug 11, 2009 8:51 pm
Post Re: What do you think of videogames as a storytelling medium?
A very underrated game in this vein is 'Gears Of War', which has the visceral feel of an action film, which has more momentum, brilliant one-liners and excellent (voice) acting than any action film of this decade besides 'The Dark Knight'. The game literally moves, and is mostly linear, with brilliant cut-scene cues that involve the player in the action beautifully. I enjoyed this game more than any pure popcorn-muncher since 'Speed', truly.

As far as games that lend themselves to art, one day put 'Oblivion' into your Xbox 360 or Playstation 3 and look at the night sky in a full sweep of your right joystick, while the music lulls you into complete aural bliss. Heaven.


Wed Aug 12, 2009 1:46 am
Post Re: What do you think of videogames as a storytelling medium?
Yeah Oblivion is one of my favorites of the next-gen. It's completely immersive, even if its story is fairly generic. I liked Fallout 3 more though.


Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:20 am
Cinematographer
User avatar

Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 9:17 pm
Posts: 529
Post Re: What do you think of videogames as a storytelling medium?
Evenflow8112 wrote:
A very underrated game in this vein is 'Gears Of War', which has the visceral feel of an action film, which has more momentum, brilliant one-liners and excellent (voice) acting than any action film of this decade besides 'The Dark Knight'. The game literally moves, and is mostly linear, with brilliant cut-scene cues that involve the player in the action beautifully. I enjoyed this game more than any pure popcorn-muncher since 'Speed', truly.


I think I would have to agree, but more so with GoW 2. When whats-his-name finds his wife? Shit, that was sad. I don't care who you are, it should make you cry. It was worse than Bambi's mom dieing.


Wed Aug 12, 2009 5:08 am
Profile
Post Re: What do you think of videogames as a storytelling medium?
Gears of War? Really? I think the first one had potential. They built a really nice universe and had a good back story, but that was it. It is like most action games, run here, shoot that. I have NOTHING against that, I love action games.

Anyway, I think Bioware is the developer with the best grasp on storytelling. The Baldur's Gate series started their trend of making AMAZING games that have great stories. They followed that up with Neverwinter Nights. Then came Knights of the Old Republic, Jade Empire, and Mass Effect. This fall is Dragon Age:Origins, and after I read this article, I cannot wait for this game.

http://pc.ign.com/articles/101/1012687p1.html

Mass Effect 2 early next year that has one ending where
[Reveal] Spoiler:
Shepard dies for reals.

Keep in mind that Mass Effect is a trilogy too.

Their work on the Star Wars MMO, The Old Republic, is built entirely on giving the MMO an actual story. They have written something like 40 novels worth of dialogue for the game.

So yes, video games when given the time and effort can be a perfect medium for telling stories.


Wed Aug 12, 2009 9:46 am
Post Re: What do you think of videogames as a storytelling medium?
Videogames can tell a reasonable story. Warcraft III and the subsequent Frozen Throne expansion pack are the best examples of videogame storytelling I've come across.


Wed Aug 12, 2009 1:41 pm
Post Re: What do you think of videogames as a storytelling medium?
ed_metal_head wrote:
Videogames can tell a reasonable story. Warcraft III and the subsequent Frozen Throne expansion pack are the best examples of videogame storytelling I've come across.


I always end up forgetting about those. I started with WoW, and then back-tracked and played those. They do have a pretty good story, and their CG cut scenes are still better than anything out there even 7 years later. Sorry Final Fantasy.


Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:24 pm
Post Re: What do you think of videogames as a storytelling medium?
My favorite, most fully-realized and original story told in a video game is Grim Fandago's

When's the Grim Fandango movie coming, Hollywood?


Wed Aug 12, 2009 9:23 pm
Post Re: What do you think of videogames as a storytelling medium?
Kyle wrote:
When's the Grim Fandango movie coming, Hollywood?

Ask Tim Burton.


Wed Aug 12, 2009 10:57 pm
Post Re: What do you think of videogames as a storytelling medium?
Forgot to mention Planescape:Torment

That is a helluva story.


Wed Aug 12, 2009 11:14 pm
Cinematographer
User avatar

Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 9:17 pm
Posts: 529
Post Re: What do you think of videogames as a storytelling medium?
Kyle wrote:
My favorite, most fully-realized and original story told in a video game is Grim Fandago's

When's the Grim Fandango movie coming, Hollywood?


NEVER ask for a video game movie. Apparently it is impossible to make a good one of those.


Thu Aug 13, 2009 3:38 am
Profile
Post Re: What do you think of videogames as a storytelling medium?
timgoens wrote:
Forgot to mention Planescape:Torment

That is a helluva story.
You sir, get the award for sheer awesomeness! And that award is a comparison that matches your avatar, so here goes:

Planescape: Torment revolutionized gaming in the same way that Alan Moore’s Watchmen revolutionized comic books. Or, anyway, it would have, had anyone actually bothered to play the damn thing. Game wasn’t exactly a best seller.

Now I haven’t played any kind of video or PC game for five or six years now, so I have no idea how it matches up to any of the newer games mentioned in this thread, but Planescape: Torment should be brought up anytime anyone, anywhere, demeans games as a storytelling medium.


Thu Aug 13, 2009 5:31 am
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 25 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by Vjacheslav Trushkin for Free Forum/DivisionCore.
Translated by Xaphos © 2007, 2008, 2009 phpBB.fr