30 October, 2021

Games are Interactive Stories

At first, I never paid too much attention to a game's storyline and dialogue. I just simply played them. For the years I've been working on a few projects, I never thought of games as actual stories. It wasn't until I got into the concept of being a storyteller. The feeling is incredible being able to create stories. What's even great is sharing them. 

I used to not like games with bad endings. You know, where your character dies or something bad happens to them. I used to believe playing these games was a waste. I thought the idea of a game was getting the feeling of accomplishment and goal completing. Games with bad endings, the struggles, and progress seemed pointless if it meant nothing. I mean, what was the point if you were going to die anyway? 

My first experience of this was when I played the Legend of Spyro. In the final game of the series, you fall into darkness and what looks like you're being flushed down the toilet several times (well, me at least) when you lose. You keep playing, only to learn how the game ends. I didn't see this as a good ending. I mean, I did love this game, as I love Spyro, but I wasn't sure about the ending. 

Next, I came across the first Little Nightmares game. I played the part with Six, and saw how the ending went. I was hesitant to pay for the Secrets of the Maw, but I decided to do it. I thought the gameplay was very interesting, with the Janitor, the Granny, and the Painted Lady. I even thought it was interesting how the boy you played befriends the Nomies to get passed different obstacles. I play it through.... Only to find out the character's fate. Again, Six is the only character who has a truly good ending. 

I began looking around and saw other games with not so good endings, such as Saw, Halo: Reach, Outlast, and so many other titles. I thought this was interesting. 

Then, I started getting deeper into game development, and realized the most important part was story creation. I realized this when working on the mapping of my projects. Perhaps games are more than just getting the sense of rewards and accomplishment. I know humans instinctively react to rewards and motivation, caused by our amygdala (a part in the brain that reacts to such things). It releases a chemical called dopamine during this (a research backed by Vanderbilt University). These chemicals release during gameplay. So, the question can be could gamers react better to games with good, accomplishing endings? 

Well, as a storyteller, I see things differently now. Games with bad endings are not entirely pointless. Actually, they're not pointless at all. Sometimes, the whole idea of a game is to interactively follow the story of the character you're playing. This sometimes is not about the player, but the character itself. Games are stories, rather they are good ones or not, they still provide some sort of storytelling. In many games, you're trying to figure out and learn about the character's identity unless you're told right away. Games are simply stories you interact with. This is how I feel about games now. So, I feel it can be worth experiencing certain games rather the ending is good or bad.

And this is what I wanted to share about this topic. I'll be sure to share more soon...

2 comments:

  1. Games often have better stories than other mediums. It's not just about programming - it's the story and the art.
    Although I am still not fond of a game with a bummer ending. I play to escape the bummer stuff in life.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi from the IWSG list. I don't play Games although I would like to after reading your blog post and now that I know they are interactive stories.

    ReplyDelete

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