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Game Musings: You don't need to play a game to judge only its story.

Forums - Gaming Discussion - Game Musings: You don't need to play a game to judge only its story.

Doobie_wop said:

A lot of your argument is based around comparing video games to movies, but then you don't add in all the advantages that game's have over movies when offering an interactive experience. 

Your also relying on what you've read or watched about the game. Game's are meant to be played, so no matter what your argument is, your view point will always be one of a over the shoulder viewer.

'That's another thing. From what I've heard, the main story barely explains anything, and almost all the exposition, the stuff that lets you know about the world and the characters, is in text you have to unlock.

That was a major turn off for me, and just bad storytelling. And it's another thing I shouldn't have to play the game to know is bad storytelling. There is a big difference between exposition and backstory.'

You have no experience with the game, so I don't blame you for not knowing that the game isn't based on a linear storey, but one that changes depending on the character involved. I think it's an intelligent and realistic design that I don't know what happen's on one side of town if I'm playing with a character on the other side of town. If I allow all the character's to live, then I will get a fuller and more robust story, if all but one character dies, then it's understandable that what ever would have happened to those dead character's would stay a secret because no one would know what would happen to a dead character.

The game isn't playing out like a movie, it's playing out like a 'Choose your own Adventure' book. If you wanted to know everything about the game, then you can replay it as many times as you want and cause different scenarios to occur, this will allow you to fill more gap's that you found in the first play through. Stop comparing a game to a movie or a normal novel, because it's not what it is. Game's are much more flexible in what they can do and how they can interact with you, this is something that limit's other form's of media.


Wait, which game are you talking about? I was discussing Final Fantasy XIII in the parts you quoted. Are you responding with a different game?

And I still haven't gotten an answer from anyone. How can someting look a plot hole, but not be a plot hole when you play the game? Claming I'm not entitled to judge if it's a plot hole if, I haven't played the game, kind of depends on that, as that's the only way that claim makes sense.



A flashy-first game is awesome when it comes out. A great-first game is awesome forever.

Plus, just for the hell of it: Kelly Brook at the 2008 BAFTAs

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Ooh, great thread.

I have to agree with Khuutra that good stories are tied to their mediums due to their very specific uses of the medium.  8 1/2 and Citizen Kane have to be films, Watchmen has to be a graphic novel, and Super Metroid and Half-Life have to be games.  All are great stories for completely different reasons.  While a Watchmen game could be really fun, the storytelling would be shit.  Who would want to read about 8 1/2 or Citizen Kane without the editing and cinematography?  A Super Metroid movie would be 99% walking down corridors and shooting tiny monsters.

But I also have to agree with LordTheNightKnight that plot holes are plot holes are plot holes, no matter the medium and no matter the experience.  And Heavy Rain has a pox of plot holes whether it's a movie, a game, or a Choose Your Own Adventure book.  And you don't need to experience the gameplay to recognize those plot holes.  That doesn't mean it's not fun as hell though.  Plot holes rarely stop me from having fun.  But I still will never play a game that hands me a lock pick, calls me the master of lock picks, and immediately presents me with a locked door and says "Hey, maybe you should use that lock pick because you are the master of lock picks and I just gave you a lock pick... Jill Sandwich."



A plot hole will be a plot hole wether just written or played however in multipath stories some plot holes won't always be there.  Also some plot holes are worse than others and more forgivable.  Plot holes of how people act are easier to ignore since people can have many reasons for acting in ways that don't seem logical to use.  Plot holes of time can be more anoying.  If I'm in control of a character and later I find the character did things that were not shown while I was in control of the character without there being any moment for that event to have happened.  I'll be more annoyed than people not telling the police everything. 



I should also repeat that I might enjoy the game when actually playing it. I've played plenty of game with bad stories, and still enjoyed them. Trust me, I know a bad story when I see one (not saying this is bad, though, just not that good). I just will not pass judgement on the entire game because of it, just noting the story. Take Resident Evil or those crappy FMV games from the mid 90s. Both have lousy stories, but the latter sucked as games because the games sucked. RE games are usually great, so the story isn't a problem (and I haven't seen a line or scene in Heavy Rain as cheesy and bad as the RE games).

Also, the reason the police thing annoys me is because any time, in any story, that the police are acting like idiots to make the main characters look good, it's annoying.

Okay, one of the main characters here is an FBI agent, but his partner is such a shmuck. He has no grasp of procedure, whether it's in searches or arrests. Just watching the videos of what he does make me wish the game had an option to smack the hell out of him. Is there?



A flashy-first game is awesome when it comes out. A great-first game is awesome forever.

Plus, just for the hell of it: Kelly Brook at the 2008 BAFTAs

The original poster is correct. All the excuses that have been made are things that can be addressed within conversion. Granted that you accept an allowance for subtration, alteration, and addition. Basically anything can be addressed in another medium through the tools of that medium. Games are no exception to this rule. Books can become movies, and movies can become books. Television series can even become graphic novels. The only limitation is the skill of the one that is conveying the story. So the story is totally seperate from the game. Anything the game can do is easily replicated in another medium.

This isn't even the classical argument that has some merit. For instance great books that become great movies. Basically a book isn't constrained by a time limit, and doesn't have to adhere to pacing. Thus someone can reasonably argue that there was no way Jurassic Park the movie could be as good as Jurassic Park the novel. By the way read the book the character Nedry isn't quite the asshole that the movie portrayed. Anyway the stories in games are much smaller, and so they exist at the other end of the spectrum. Basically they can be built up rather then stripped down.

What really proves the original poster correct is interchangability. No matter the game you could introduce a different story, and it would mesh with the game play. In other words both aspects of the game both play and story are truly independent of one another. You could drop any dark story into Alan Wake, and the game would still work. The story might not be as good, but it could be done. Your only complaint would be that the story of Alan Wake wasn't as good as you would have liked, or it could actually be better then you imagined.

Damn that Wicked witch of the west who kidnapped Alans mental sister, and demanded that he fight the shadow master to get to the magical type writer. Thankfully Alans older brother herman an avid deep sea diver is there to help him. If only Alan could remember what happened after the witch gave him that twisted acid. You see it can actually be done. Hell its probably been done before near the end of a project where the writing staff decided to do a rewrite, and none of you ever figured that out.

I read some talk of multiple choices in this thread, and it made me feel very said. The reason being that this isn't some new concept only relevant to games. This has been done in the literary sense. There have been books that have done this exact same thing, and frankly they have gone all the way. Some books had dozens of potential or even hundreds of potential outcomes due to the readers choice. Am I the only one that remembers reading these novels as a child. They were quite popular for a time. Not only do they predate the games, but there are more of them then there are games that do this multiple path layout.

Anyway yeah he is right games and their stories aren't so interwoven that you can't remove the story from the game. It isn't even as if you can't replace a games story with a different story. Sure it might seem a little convoluted, but you can do it. More to the point due to being tied with a game a story is always more convoluted. A game puts limits on story, and places a lot of surreal constraints on story. So we have all come to expect that a games story is going to be a little contrived.



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 I don't think you can pass valid judgement if your method of judging the story is completely different to that which it is intended.

 For example, FFXIII is a story intended to unfold over a 40 hour playthrough type adventure, presented in cut scenes, writing and gameplay. There's no way you can judge the whole story by reading a Wikipedia summary - even if you understand it - simply because the presentation of a story wasn't meant for that way. 

 For me no matter how much you read the story summary and how in-depth it is it's not fair to judge the story without playing the game, albeit sure you can pass judgement if you want, no ones stopping you. Just I wouldn't say you're right to do so.

I guess alot of it depends on how you replace playing the game to find out the story in the first place.

 



" For example, FFXIII is a story intended to unfold over a 40 hour playthrough type adventure, presented in cut scenes, writing and gameplay. There's no way you can judge the whole story by reading a Wikipedia summary - even if you understand it - simply because the presentation of a story wasn't meant for that way. "

The thing those who have played it have stated it's not unfolding the story that's the problem, and I'm a heavy RPG player-look at my games list, it's that it takes almost as long just to know what's going on. Unless you read loads of text. That is not good storytelling when you mix up exposition into the supplemental materials. This isn't Silent Hill where we're supposed to find out what's going on later. This is a mythologial world, where you should know about it so you can care about it.

And the reason it's fair to judge the story, but not the gameplay (usually) is that the gameplay adjusts on the fly to your actions. The story will not. It can't. Even in the context of playing the game, if a character is set to do one action, that action will be done no matter what I do in the game.



A flashy-first game is awesome when it comes out. A great-first game is awesome forever.

Plus, just for the hell of it: Kelly Brook at the 2008 BAFTAs