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Forums - Gaming Discussion - Jimquisition about movie comparisons, crunch and TLOU2

So as I already said before if you wish for narrative depth and better exploration of thematics, you should strive for genre such as Adventure/Visual Novel games which usually base their strength on it's story telling through text and varying degrees of visual presentation first.
Of course, they can't be compared to movies or even books due to them using the codification of video game to identify themselves. Better though, is when these games are willing to use the strength of it's medium or hardware to further the experience into actual "Citizen Kane" territories.
My better example would easily be 999 Zero Escape on the DS which has the unique feature to tell the narrative part of the story from 2 POV at once using the dual screens to seperate the perspectives.
This is what it means to actively use the strength of video games uniqueness to further it's own narrative.



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Leynos said:
The Fury said:
His video, while on form with his usual stuff raised a question for me.

What is considered a good video game story?

Nier Automata

This is why I think Jim Sterling got it wrong here. Games can reach the quality of narrative of a good movie, so long as the devs did a good job baking the gameplay into to the narrative. If your mechanism is zombie or people-killing, then that will draw the boundaries of how far one could go, or how creative one must be to create true meaning out of that limit.

The issue with TLOUII is not that it can't compare to movies, the issue is that it was predesigned to fit an agenda (anti white male feminism), and the result is a degradation of the overall quality of the story. It could have been done differently, but it wasn't. And we have seen this plague many other things, especially movies.

So the problem isn't in the inherrent nature of games and a ludonarrative limitation, but it's something much deeper than that, and it goes beyond games.



The Fury said:
DonFerrari said:

I love how much hate cinematic and heavy story telling gets on vgc.

"it isn't videogame"

"the focus should be gameplay"

"photorealism is bad"

I think this is very much a sign of the times. The idea of Cinematic gameplay was a very Gen 7 thing. Heavy set piece, story driven games with Uncharted being onf of the biggest and The Last of Us being a swan song to the gen, games with only 5-6 hour campaigns. The gameplays were usually quite generic and the stories not much different but they had their place. For all it's dislike and rather generic story, I liked Detroit: Become Human as it looked great and the way it was played and how you could form a story was well done, it really is just a 'cinematic' game.

Of course we as a community also hate Battle Royales and they are the bread winners at the moment, games with literally zero story, so what do we know?

I think you are right, but I also understand how he feels.  I've seen plenty of genres fade that used to be at the height of popularity.  Early arcade games were mostly shmups and maze games like Pac Man.  They hardly even make these games anymore.  Gen 3 and 4 were mostly about 2D platformers.  They still make these games, but they don't get the budget and flagship attention like they used to.  Gen 5 was when turn based RPGs were at their height.  Now I'm told that turn based combat is outdated, and of course these types of games don't get the budget and flagship attention that they used to.  Not even Final Fantasy wants to be a turn based RPG anymore.  It's only natural that cinematic action games are going to fade from popularity, because that is what happens to all popular genres.  But if this is your favorite genre then it can be pretty disappointing.

The only genre that never seems to fade in popularity is open world games.  If anything they seem to grow in popularity.  In Gen 3 and 4 open world meant Zelda 1 and Link to the Past, both very popular in their day.  In Gen 5, the Final Fantasy games became open world once you got an airship.  In Gen 6, GTA3 exploded in popularity and GTA popularity still seems to be growing.  MMOs like WoW are essentially gigantic open world games with lots to do and of course lots of other players.  And more recently, people love Skyrim.  People love Minecraft.  People love Breath of the Wild.  For whatever reason, gamers can't seem to get enough of open world games as long as they are well made.



Tbh he's not wrong games shouldn't be compared to films and vice versa.



The_Liquid_Laser said:
The Fury said:

I think this is very much a sign of the times. The idea of Cinematic gameplay was a very Gen 7 thing. Heavy set piece, story driven games with Uncharted being onf of the biggest and The Last of Us being a swan song to the gen, games with only 5-6 hour campaigns. The gameplays were usually quite generic and the stories not much different but they had their place. For all it's dislike and rather generic story, I liked Detroit: Become Human as it looked great and the way it was played and how you could form a story was well done, it really is just a 'cinematic' game.

Of course we as a community also hate Battle Royales and they are the bread winners at the moment, games with literally zero story, so what do we know?

I think you are right, but I also understand how he feels.  I've seen plenty of genres fade that used to be at the height of popularity.  Early arcade games were mostly shmups and maze games like Pac Man.  They hardly even make these games anymore.  Gen 3 and 4 were mostly about 2D platformers.  They still make these games, but they don't get the budget and flagship attention like they used to.  Gen 5 was when turn based RPGs were at their height.  Now I'm told that turn based combat is outdated, and of course these types of games don't get the budget and flagship attention that they used to.  Not even Final Fantasy wants to be a turn based RPG anymore.  It's only natural that cinematic action games are going to fade from popularity, because that is what happens to all popular genres.  But if this is your favorite genre then it can be pretty disappointing.

The only genre that never seems to fade in popularity is open world games.  If anything they seem to grow in popularity.  In Gen 3 and 4 open world meant Zelda 1 and Link to the Past, both very popular in their day.  In Gen 5, the Final Fantasy games became open world once you got an airship.  In Gen 6, GTA3 exploded in popularity and GTA popularity still seems to be growing.  MMOs like WoW are essentially gigantic open world games with lots to do and of course lots of other players.  And more recently, people love Skyrim.  People love Minecraft.  People love Breath of the Wild.  For whatever reason, gamers can't seem to get enough of open world games as long as they are well made.

I don`t think all the games you listed are open world as genre but yes they do have the elements.



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I think the most important takeaway here is that trying to meet movie-style storytelling with game storytelling rarely plays to the strength of games. There's only a couple of examples I can think of where I really liked and was invested in a game's story and, surprise, even then what I tend to remember most is the gameplay. Games where the story is front and center and the only truly great part of the experience are also titles where I tend to be really into them for a week, then just never think about them again.

Games are great at iconography. Generally speaking, iconography makes a games story just as much if not more than it's writing. Having a game with cool character designs, interesting settings and unique scenarios allow you to be much more immersed and give more credence to stories that are otherwise just decent. The same isn't untrue of movies, they are both visual mediums after all, but I find there's a lot of movies that are strong enough as narrative pieces that they don't really even need to focus on those things - and that's just not true of games to me. These are things that realistic games often lack.

Games are great at skits. Banter is an amazing quality to have when you are releasing a product that will probably be, at minimum, 4x longer than most movies. They often tell you more about a character than the actual plot itself because they have their own unique pace and tend to focus on trivial yet equally fascinating qualities.

Games are great at music. When you have a product that is super long, having pieces which set the tone, but are also diverse and awesome just totally makes the experiences, especially when it's above the quality of most other releases.

Now none of this is exclusive to games as a medium, but I think the distinguishing factor is that most of these elements are much more important to games than just the narrative of the title itself. There can be cutscene heavy games which excel at all these aspects and create a truly interesting narrative out of them, and maybe in such a scenario I'd cling to each and every cutscene like a moth to a flame, but those don't tend to be the games being compared to Schindler's List and Citizen Kane .... in fact, those are probably games self-serious story fans might even scoff at



AngryLittleAlchemist said:

I think the most important takeaway here is that trying to meet movie-style storytelling with game storytelling rarely plays to the strength of games. There's only a couple of examples I can think of where I really liked and was invested in a game's story and, surprise, even then what I tend to remember most is the gameplay. Games where the story is front and center and the only truly great part of the experience are also titles where I tend to be really into them for a week, then just never think about them again.

Games are great at iconography. Generally speaking, iconography makes a games story just as much if not more than it's writing. Having a game with cool character designs, interesting settings and unique scenarios allow you to be much more immersed and give more credence to stories that are otherwise just decent. The same isn't untrue of movies, they are both visual mediums after all, but I find there's a lot of movies that are strong enough as narrative pieces that they don't really even need to focus on those things - and that's just not true of games to me. These are things that realistic games often lack.

Games are great at skits. Banter is an amazing quality to have when you are releasing a product that will probably be, at minimum, 4x longer than most movies. They often tell you more about a character than the actual plot itself because they have their own unique pace and tend to focus on trivial yet equally fascinating qualities.

Games are great at music. When you have a product that is super long, having pieces which set the tone, but are also diverse and awesome just totally makes the experiences, especially when it's above the quality of most other releases.

Now none of this is exclusive to games as a medium, but I think the distinguishing factor is that most of these elements are much more important to games than just the narrative of the title itself. There can be cutscene heavy games which excel at all these aspects and create a truly interesting narrative out of them, and maybe in such a scenario I'd cling to each and every cutscene like a moth to a flame, but those don't tend to be the games being compared to Schindler's List and Citizen Kane .... in fact, those are probably games self-serious story fans might even scoff at

You forgot the thing games are best at. Choice. Giving the player the ability to actually impact the story in front of them, and the world they inhabit. That player agency is the greatest strength games have over every other medium.



Angelus said:
AngryLittleAlchemist said:

I think the most important takeaway here is that trying to meet movie-style storytelling with game storytelling rarely plays to the strength of games. There's only a couple of examples I can think of where I really liked and was invested in a game's story and, surprise, even then what I tend to remember most is the gameplay. Games where the story is front and center and the only truly great part of the experience are also titles where I tend to be really into them for a week, then just never think about them again.

Games are great at iconography. Generally speaking, iconography makes a games story just as much if not more than it's writing. Having a game with cool character designs, interesting settings and unique scenarios allow you to be much more immersed and give more credence to stories that are otherwise just decent. The same isn't untrue of movies, they are both visual mediums after all, but I find there's a lot of movies that are strong enough as narrative pieces that they don't really even need to focus on those things - and that's just not true of games to me. These are things that realistic games often lack.

Games are great at skits. Banter is an amazing quality to have when you are releasing a product that will probably be, at minimum, 4x longer than most movies. They often tell you more about a character than the actual plot itself because they have their own unique pace and tend to focus on trivial yet equally fascinating qualities.

Games are great at music. When you have a product that is super long, having pieces which set the tone, but are also diverse and awesome just totally makes the experiences, especially when it's above the quality of most other releases.

Now none of this is exclusive to games as a medium, but I think the distinguishing factor is that most of these elements are much more important to games than just the narrative of the title itself. There can be cutscene heavy games which excel at all these aspects and create a truly interesting narrative out of them, and maybe in such a scenario I'd cling to each and every cutscene like a moth to a flame, but those don't tend to be the games being compared to Schindler's List and Citizen Kane .... in fact, those are probably games self-serious story fans might even scoff at

You forgot the thing games are best at. Choice. Giving the player the ability to actually impact the story in front of them, and the world they inhabit. That player agency is the greatest strength games have over every other medium.

I actually did forget to add that, was going too though. I also forgot to add that, the sooner we stop acting as if games deserve a minimum score for superfluous achievements, the better. Games are not an automatic minimum 6/10 because they are technically competent. If a game bores a reviewer to tears, a 5 or less is really not that out there ... guess my comment was just too long to remember everything I wanted to. 



AngryLittleAlchemist said:
Angelus said:

You forgot the thing games are best at. Choice. Giving the player the ability to actually impact the story in front of them, and the world they inhabit. That player agency is the greatest strength games have over every other medium.

I actually did forget to add that, was going too though. I also forgot to add that, the sooner we stop acting as if games deserve a minimum score for superfluous achievements, the better. Games are not an automatic minimum 6/10 because they are technically competent. If a game bores a reviewer to tears, a 5 or less is really not that out there ... guess my comment was just too long to remember everything I wanted to. 

Yes, I agree, gaming outlets place too much emphasis on the production values in their coverage. Having spectacular visuals is certainly most welcome, we can all agree on that, but just because something looks like it's best in class, doesn't mean it actually is best in class when taking all elements into account. If we wanna stick with the movie comparison, that would have meant that back in 2009, Avatar would have been called the greatest masterclass of cinema to date. Alas, this was not the case. It was an incredibly successful movie, and it was generally very well received by critics, but pretty much nobody hailed it as one of the best movies ever made, and certainly nobody looks back on it thinking as much.



Good video. It was a laughably stupid comparison and deserved the trolling and mockery it received. Schindler’s List came out almost 30 years ago IIRC and is still talked about and still holds up. LoU2 will be forgotten in a year or so, if not sooner.

The worst part is the way the press gushes over narrative type games because they badly want their medium to be held in the same light as movies or television. When in reality if LoU2 is the cream of the crop when it comes to gaming narratives, it’s not even as good John Wick let alone Shindlers List.