Sunday, 11 January 2009

Gather round boys and girls for I have a story to tell ye....

Now games have not always had a story, from the likes of pong to excite bike, these games had no coherent plot yet were extremely enjoyable to play back in the day, however nowadays I believe that stories in games have become an important staple of the gaming experience and more than often a well structured and immersive storyline can make a game so much more enjoyable.

"dammit I buggered the ketchup again"

A game where I believe the story to have a good story is a lil game known as Fahrenheit or Indigo Prophecy in the lands of freedom and maple syrup, the game followed the main character Lucas Kane as he wakes up in a toilet cubicle only to find a dead body on the bathroom floor and his arms severely cut up from knife wounds. The main aim of the game is to find out how he ended up in that situation; the game also follows two police officers as they investigate the crime. The player takes control of these characters and in a unique way must do certain actions that propel the story in one of the various story routes. For example at the beginning when Lucas finds himself in the toilets, he must decide whether to hide the body, clean up the blood on the floor using a mop and to clean up his hands, if the player fails to do one or more of these actions the likely hood of getting caught by the police officer who enters the diner where the bathroom is situated will rise. The consequences of each choice become more influential as the game goes on; in some cases failing to save someone’s life or failing to acquire certain items can lead to an alternative ending.

"Hard day's work in the life of amnesiac possibly killer dude"

This is the type of game that a strong storyline, well a well conceived one (especially since it had alternate endings) can help propel a game’s success, the same can be said for many role playing games such as the final fantasy games and World of Warcraft, the first despite having similar game systems, the stories are what keep fans and new players coming to the franchise. The latter however is more open ended, and while it has an immense back-story as I’ve heard (too much to read for my head) which helps set the games context it seems it relies more on people’s own stories, creating their own plots and what not as they immerse themselves in their custom made characters.

"I may be getting close to figuring out why WOW is so popular!"

The key point I’m trying to make in mentioning Fahrenheit and well games like WOW is that these are games which immerse you into the character you’re playing, Fahrenheit makes you panic with its quick time events and small aspects which make you relate to the character and often put yourself in his place as you panic to clean up the apartment of any signs of blood before the police officer investigates, and with WOW well you create your own story. Personally for me I often immerse myself in the stories, get in the same frame of mind as the character, although in some cases I like to just sit back and watch things unfold like with metal gear solid =P.

Now one thing that bothered me in this entry’s brief, that call of duty was mentioned in the line up of games were we had to question whether a game had a story, I’ve played various fps war games and despite the outside look of that they’re all the same, I rather enjoyed their stories, like call of duty on the Xbox, titled the big red one...yeah....I enjoyed it because it portrayed the campaign of the 1st infantry division of the US forces, as the title, the big red one, aptly named for their big red patches.

Now compared to a game like second life.....which I’m not even sure can be called a game could it? It’s more or less the internet with avatars :/ but ah well I dunno, for now I’ll compare it to COD, SL doesn’t have a set story and while a huuuge online game of sorts, it doesn’t even have the back-story of warcraft its basically a big world where everything is made up by its users. But considering its popularity I guess it stems from the fact it’s a huge world with user made content, it allows them to create their own stories from scratch even though they may not be as well thought out as world of warcraft it still gives them satisfaction.

"Whatever Floats your boat"

So in short I believe a strong story can be a very helpful factor in creating a successful game however I believe that it’s not always the case as even with a weak storyline, players can often make an amazing experience by adding their own personal touches to the game.

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