No Right Answer: Gameplay vs. Story

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Y'know, I loves me my stories... but books have great stories too. No... it's gotta be game-mechanics, because an RTS out there might have the greatest story ever told and I still wouldn't play the damn thing.

If you ask a flawed question, that doesn't meant here is no right answer.

First of all, story and gameplay should be on the same team. Working together instead of fighting.

Second, if you had to choose either one or the other (and by "had to choose" I mean you had a gun on your head and had to choose), then I would pick gameplay.
If I wanted a story, I would read a book.

Story >> gameplay = movies or books. Gameplay >> story = chess or poker. Videogames are unique in their ability to mix the two, and both are important in a good gaming experience.

However, we need to be harping on the importance of gameplay, otherwise developers will take the easy route and start chunking out series of quick-time events and call that a game. Gameplay, it appears, is the harder of the two to get right, and so it needs to be emphasized, underscored, and good quality demanded, the most.

Pebkio:
Y'know, I loves me my stories... but books have great stories too. No... it's gotta be game-mechanics, because an RTS out there might have the greatest story ever told and I still wouldn't play the damn thing.

You are referring to Homeworld?

Sadly, this one really has no right answer for me. If one is good enough, the other can be forgiven to an extent. I've enjoyed games like Heavy Rain and Xenosaga for their stories even if the gameplay was lacking. On the other hand I've also enjoyed games like Borderlands and tetris, where story was poor to non-existent.

It is also true that if either gameplay or story are terrible the other won't be worth the aggravation. FF13 had a decent story imo but the gameplay issues ruined it for me. Dragon Age 2 had decent gameplay but the bland story just ruined the experience for me.

For me, story edges out a win though. Good gameplay will entertain me for a while, but good story will immerse me even years down the road.

And SC2 was a bad example. SC series has been known for great gameplay, AND being one of the few fighters to have a wothwhile story (though both have taken a dive since 3) Fingers crossed for SC5 ^_^

Obviously this is a highly subjective topic, but I personally think that gameplay is far, far more important than story. What sets videogames apart from other mediums is their interactivity, i.e. the gameplay. Story helps to round out an experience but it's certainly not necessary for a good game. There are many games that are light on story but strong on gameplay that are very good games. There are far fewer games that have a story good enough to overlook the gameplay.

Take for example Heavy Rain. Lauded for it's story, but not it's gameplay. Tons of QTEs and, at times, excruciatingly slow game action did little to endear it to gamers. People came for the story to be sure, but the game itself wasn't that good. Once I finished it once I had no desire to play it again, even for the different endings. There's just wasn't enough gameplay there to warrant a repeat playthrough.

On the other hand, a game like Street Fighter (any incarnation, really) has a pretty dumb storyline. I bunch of people fighting each other world wide while at the same time battling some weird shadow corporation? It doesn't make a ton of sense, but it doesn't matter because the gameplay mechanics are so deep and absorbing. No one cares about the story, but we keep coming back game after game, year after year to play multiple versions of the franchise.

Story can take you only so far, but can rarely carry a game that's bad in other areas. Gameplay on the other hand can make you forget all about a bad, weak or non-existent story.

Story definitely has a place within videogames, but if it comes at the expense of gameplay, you're in the wrong medium. If someone really wants to tell a story, film or prose is far better at doing it than games are. Stories are too easily sidetracked, broken or ignored by players. Looking again at a game like Heavy Rain where some of the plot points become nonsensical due to player actions it's clear that allowing the player to have an affect on the story can ruin the story as the author intended it.

Without good gameplay, a video game is nothing more than a narrative with a shitty, annoying or awkward means of progressing the story.

This question HAS a right answer. Gameplay is more important than Story no matter what anyone says.
Quite easy to think about it.
A game with epic story if it doesn't have good gameplay it sucks, however a game with awesome gameplay but without or with a lame plot it's still great. I don't even have to say Mario...

The reason I don't play Cod SP anymore is because the story is good (cliché but entretaining) but gameplay sucks ass. In MP I have great gameplay and no story to interrupt my interactivity.

Gameplay has always won for me. If I want a story I'll read a book or watch a movie, I play games for gameplay, simple.
However, I realised something watching this episode that I've noticed a few times before. A lot of times it seems as though the person with the most arguments win, even if the other one has better ones. I think you should change your point system. How about rating the arguments or giving extra points to a particularly good one? Most of the annoyance comes when someone give a 2 parted, well thought out argument and only gets one point.

I find gameplay to be more important, agreeing with the point that a game with gameplay without story is still a game but a game with story and no gameplay ceases to be a game.

In particular, I'd like to respond to the idea that story can save an otherwise poor quality game with this: it may well be the case that a lackluster game with good story can keep you playing or returning to it despite poor gameplay, but couldn't you improve such a game by not making it a game at all? It seems to me that the flip side of the 'story propping up the game' coin is that the gameplay (or bugs, if it's sloppy coding or QA rather than bad mechanics causing the problem) is holding the story back, and thus the whole would be improved if it were a TV series or movie rather than a game. One would get the good without the bad.

This isn't to say story should be neglected, if one designs a game where the story and gameplay mesh and story is a key part of the experience, a good amount of effort will need to be put into both to make something of quality. And some of the best experiences come from story and gameplay working together.
It's just that if story is the only key, or only worthwhile, element of an experience then I imagine one would be better off making something that is not a game.

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