Gameplay vs. Story

Gameplay vs. Story

Chris and Kyle explain their choices in this fight to the death over game elements.

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On that final point, the arcades argument is invalid because 99% of arcades are out of business. They were successful back when my Dad was a kid and just having moving lights was an achievement, now I'd say 87% of the time I play a game it is because of story.
(ie, ME1 & 2 / Arkham Asylum / etc)

I dont think referencing games like Pac Man really work in this argument, because that got popular before games could even have a story. You don't really hear people talking about Pac Man as if it's still relevant.

Also, story based game with a mega-high notoriety? Final Fantasy VII. The entire series really. Yes the gameplay is good (usually), but we all know it's not the reason most people are there, and it's not what people talk about when all is said and done.

Reading what Dan's reasoning, he does come off as being a bit biased for the matter. But I think that both are just about equal. Personally, I actually think that story has become slightly more important in gameplay. I can enjoy a game for it's story and deal with kinda bad gameplay, but unless the gameplay is really good, I'm less likely to bother with a game with good gameplay but no real point to it.

To elaborate, I'm going to give an example of a recent game that kinda debunks the fourth point in my eyes. Heavy Rain. I really enjoyed Heavy Rain. It was a fairly interesting story supported by slow, sometimes clunky gameplay that was almost entirely QTEs when it came to action. And you know what? I loved the game. The gameplay did drag on to pad on the game, but the story and multitude of things that could happen were enough to make it one that I personally enjoyed a lot. I'm kinda sad that it was never brought up as far as I could tell.

Also, the part about the music games of recent years. I disagree with that. Rock Band and Guitar Hero, at least the earlier ones (haven't played the new ones) did have a campaign and story of sorts. Namely, you're a small band playing at a local high-school/bar/etc and you have to work your way up to an amazing band. And I remember something about the devil in one of them and big named guitar players. Not much of a saving grace mind you, but it's something that I feel should be mentioned. The Beetles Rock Band was really a good example of this as it showed the groups career from beginning to end.

The arcade argument is also a bit iffy if due to some games that do manage to hide the story in there. The best that I can think of is Missile Command, which has you trying to defend cities from missiles due to a war, with the ever growing feeling of dread as more and more missiles come down. It isn't much of something, but I would call that a story that can play up the players feelings in a good way. It isn't enough to completely nullify that point, but I still think it deserves mention.

Still, in the end it doesn't matter. It was still a good episode and interesting topic. The two points are so close to equal in importance now that it's almost silly to argue which is slightly ahead of the other. And, of course, the best games are those with great stories and worlds as well as great gameplay.

Mcoffey:
I dont think referencing games like Pac Man really work in this argument, because that got popular before games could even have a story. You don't really hear people talking about Pac Man as if it's still relevant.

Also, story based game with a mega-high notoriety? Final Fantasy VII. The entire series really. Yes the gameplay is good (usually), but we all know it's not the reason most people are there, and it's not what people talk about when all is said and done.

People don't talk about Pac-Man because Pac-Man Fever was cured in the nineties. Now Angry Bird Flu, that is something similar and relevant.

Story gets more discussion simply because it's more open to interpretation and is more easily explained. In most games, gameplay is self-evident and only leaves itself to such topics as: one's preference for the gameplay, where could the gameplay develop to next and how the gameplay could be fixed. With gameplay, one requires more intimate knowledge of its mechanics to be able to truly discuss it. (By intimate, I mean one must have actually played or studied the game at debate)

Gameplay vs Story will always be a case by case scenario for me. Works great for certain genre's but not for others.

For example Dragon Quest and Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete are examples of games with pretty terrible game-play. (Admit it, with a screen that is as active as the original gameboy version of Pokemon it is not exactly entertainment.) The story themselves help you "understand" why you do what you do.

For game-play over story is easy. Angry Birds, Minecraft, Bejeweled, Tetris and I could go on and on.

Melondrupe:

Mcoffey:
I dont think referencing games like Pac Man really work in this argument, because that got popular before games could even have a story. You don't really hear people talking about Pac Man as if it's still relevant.

Also, story based game with a mega-high notoriety? Final Fantasy VII. The entire series really. Yes the gameplay is good (usually), but we all know it's not the reason most people are there, and it's not what people talk about when all is said and done.

People don't talk about Pac-Man because Pac-Man Fever was cured in the nineties. Now Angry Bird Flu, that is something similar and relevant.

Story gets more discussion simply because it's more open to interpretation and is more easily explained. In most games, gameplay is self-evident and only leaves itself to such topics as: one's preference for the gameplay, where could the gameplay develop to next and how the gameplay could be fixed. With gameplay, one requires more intimate knowledge of its mechanics to be able to truly discuss it. (By intimate, I mean one must have actually played or studied the game at debate)

That's a good point about Angry Birds, but I think it's success has less to do with it's gameplay and more to do with marketability. I'd played Angry Birds on Newgrounds years before someone slapped cartoon birds and pigs on it and put it in the app store.

Perhaps at this stage game development should be less about advancing mechanics that already seem to be peaking, and more about how to integrate story more naturally into the experience. I think that's one of the main reasons Half-Life 2 is still heads-and-shoulders above most shooters that have come after it.

Negatempest:

For game-play over story is easy. Angry Birds, Minecraft, Bejeweled, Tetris and I could go on and on.

You see, my problem with at least half those games is that they weren't made to be good. They were made to be addictive, as were most arcade games that were made. Bejeweled, Tetris, and many other games were made for the sole purpose of getting people to play them more and more. In the arcade days, this means that they would put more and more quarters in to play more. Now, it allows games to be re-released with slightly better graphics and less additions then a new Call Of Duty game. Why? Because people will still buy it up because they're addicted to the game.

The way I decide what's better is what sticks with you. Do you really remember many, if any, specific moments in those older games or the newer addictive-based games? I know I don't. But a good story will stick with me well after I finished the game. For games like Bejeweled and Tetris, all I really end up remembering is that I spent 10 hours playing it and got nothing from playing it.

While I agree birds being flung at pigs is more appealing than body-flattening boulders being thrown at people, I'd say that the cartoons made people more willing to give the game a try; playing to the whole sense of how can something so zany exist. Birds crashing into buildings, how ridiculous. I'd wager the gameplay is what made people recommend the game to others.(At least I hope it wasn't the cartoons that were the sole appeal)

I believe story should still remain secondary, as its context is more important than its narrative. Game mechanics still have much room to develop. Take Minecraft, with that you have a system that has done hands-on resource exploitation well compared to what's out there. Most games where one collects items from the environment have you draw items from specific locations that may or mayn't change permanently. With a limited sphere of generation with items being found in greater abundances to specific regions on that sphere and randomly generated civilizations demarcating territory, a system of trade based on resource scarcity and control would be an expansion on the farming and trade genres.

Looking at the development of the Elder Scrolls series from Morrowind to Skyrim, you see the developers slowly realizing that not everything needs to be a skill and that people who play action rpgs prefer it if the weapon they swing makes contact with what it hits. In the future, maybe combat will become more tactical, with the removal of the power attack and enemies that more consistently react to being hit.

Also, let's not forget that most characters in games suffer from the inability to climb fences(small and chain link) and railings. Till characters stop being impeded by fences or other not-truly-a-trouble impediments such as semi-truck blocking the way, game mechanics won't be no where near reaching a plateau.

Gameplay vs Story is just a question about personal preference. I like playing Tetris if I got nothing better to do and if I'm waiting for something, but when I have time I'd rather play something story driven. There are of course games with both great gameplay and story of course like Okami (gawd I love Okami ^^) but I'd say they are pretty rare. I'd glady sacrifice much of the gameplay if it meant better storytelling but that's probably because I'm one of thoose few gamers that love fantasy books. XD

Sandytimeman:
On that final point, the arcades argument is invalid because 99% of arcades are out of business. They were successful back when my Dad was a kid and just having moving lights was an achievement, now I'd say 87% of the time I play a game it is because of story.
(ie, ME1 & 2 / Arkham Asylum / etc)

They didn't go out of buisness because people wanted more story in their games, they went out of buisness because it got cheaper to own consoles.
You could argue that the arcade style of gaming re-emerges with the app-store where you spend a dollar to get a few hours if meaninglss gameplay.
I sit down to play Games, like Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Skyrim, Batman, but on the way to school a whip out my iPad and play me some tripple-town. I love good stories in Games, they are the reason I see my self as a Gamer, not just some guy who plays games on his phone and Guitar Hero at parties, but a game can be awesome without a story, but it can't be awesome without gameplay.

You guys need better publicity for these columns.

Kapol:

Negatempest:

For game-play over story is easy. Angry Birds, Minecraft, Bejeweled, Tetris and I could go on and on.

You see, my problem with at least half those games is that they weren't made to be good. They were made to be addictive, as were most arcade games that were made. Bejeweled, Tetris, and many other games were made for the sole purpose of getting people to play them more and more. In the arcade days, this means that they would put more and more quarters in to play more. Now, it allows games to be re-released with slightly better graphics and less additions then a new Call Of Duty game. Why? Because people will still buy it up because they're addicted to the game.

The way I decide what's better is what sticks with you. Do you really remember many, if any, specific moments in those older games or the newer addictive-based games? I know I don't. But a good story will stick with me well after I finished the game. For games like Bejeweled and Tetris, all I really end up remembering is that I spent 10 hours playing it and got nothing from playing it.

Actually I can. Double Dragon 2 had a "meh" at best story that was skipped over for the gameplay. I remember the different methods I used to destroy each boss and how fun it was. For Super Mario Bros. I remember..well more of feeling the joy of beating world 8 levels. What of Sonic 2 where you remember your 1st time turning Super Sonic? What of Street Fighter 2 in arcade remembering how you defeated your 1st human opponent?

I'm not saying that Story is less than Game-play, because it is not. I am saying that it's important is dependent on the genre.

Negatempest:

Kapol:

Negatempest:

For game-play over story is easy. Angry Birds, Minecraft, Bejeweled, Tetris and I could go on and on.

You see, my problem with at least half those games is that they weren't made to be good. They were made to be addictive, as were most arcade games that were made. Bejeweled, Tetris, and many other games were made for the sole purpose of getting people to play them more and more. In the arcade days, this means that they would put more and more quarters in to play more. Now, it allows games to be re-released with slightly better graphics and less additions then a new Call Of Duty game. Why? Because people will still buy it up because they're addicted to the game.

The way I decide what's better is what sticks with you. Do you really remember many, if any, specific moments in those older games or the newer addictive-based games? I know I don't. But a good story will stick with me well after I finished the game. For games like Bejeweled and Tetris, all I really end up remembering is that I spent 10 hours playing it and got nothing from playing it.

Actually I can. Double Dragon 2 had a "meh" at best story that was skipped over for the gameplay. I remember the different methods I used to destroy each boss and how fun it was. For Super Mario Bros. I remember..well more of feeling the joy of beating world 8 levels. What of Sonic 2 where you remember your 1st time turning Super Sonic? What of Street Fighter 2 in arcade remembering how you defeated your 1st human opponent?

I'm not saying that Story is less than Game-play, because it is not. I am saying that it's important is dependent on the genre.

My point wasn't about games like those four though. In your first quoted example, you said four games. The type I was bringing up were those that you mentioned like Bejeweled and Tetris which are composed solely of gameplay meant to be addictive. Sonic, Mario, and 'NES' era games didn't use the addictive gameplay ideal as much as the more arcade-type games such as Tetris and Bejeweled.

I'm not really sure 'arcade-type' is the best way for me to describe them, as that does make it seem like I'm talking about a wider genre then I intend to. But I can't really think of a better term for them off hand either.

Kapol:

Negatempest:

Kapol:

You see, my problem with at least half those games is that they weren't made to be good. They were made to be addictive, as were most arcade games that were made. Bejeweled, Tetris, and many other games were made for the sole purpose of getting people to play them more and more. In the arcade days, this means that they would put more and more quarters in to play more. Now, it allows games to be re-released with slightly better graphics and less additions then a new Call Of Duty game. Why? Because people will still buy it up because they're addicted to the game.

The way I decide what's better is what sticks with you. Do you really remember many, if any, specific moments in those older games or the newer addictive-based games? I know I don't. But a good story will stick with me well after I finished the game. For games like Bejeweled and Tetris, all I really end up remembering is that I spent 10 hours playing it and got nothing from playing it.

Actually I can. Double Dragon 2 had a "meh" at best story that was skipped over for the gameplay. I remember the different methods I used to destroy each boss and how fun it was. For Super Mario Bros. I remember..well more of feeling the joy of beating world 8 levels. What of Sonic 2 where you remember your 1st time turning Super Sonic? What of Street Fighter 2 in arcade remembering how you defeated your 1st human opponent?

I'm not saying that Story is less than Game-play, because it is not. I am saying that it's important is dependent on the genre.

My point wasn't about games like those four though. In your first quoted example, you said four games. The type I was bringing up were those that you mentioned like Bejeweled and Tetris which are composed solely of gameplay meant to be addictive. Sonic, Mario, and 'NES' era games didn't use the addictive gameplay ideal as much as the more arcade-type games such as Tetris and Bejeweled.

I'm not really sure 'arcade-type' is the best way for me to describe them, as that does make it seem like I'm talking about a wider genre then I intend to. But I can't really think of a better term for them off hand either.

My Bad. I should of used the examples of; Streets of Rage 2, Double Dragon 2, Street Fighter 2, Super Mario Bros. games, Mega Man etc. of examples for games where game play is more important than story. Boy did these games have non-scripted moments for each gamer.

Negatempest:

My Bad. I should of used the examples of; Streets of Rage 2, Double Dragon 2, Street Fighter 2, Super Mario Bros. games, Mega Man etc. of examples for games where game play is more important than story. Boy did these games have non-scripted moments for each gamer.

Well, it's a bit of a reach, but you could say a few of those games (Mario and Mega Man being the ones that jump at me, though the rest could have it apply) actually tell you a bit of a story while you're playing. They do use the most basic of ideas as stories. Save princess, stop bad guy, win fighting contest, simple. But that's not a bad thing.

And Mario and Mega Man do kind of reenforce their world through their gameplay. Mario, for example, shows you that the Mushroom kingdom is named due to the fact that mushrooms do play a large part in that world. Giant mushrooms, mushrooms altering size, and a lot of other aspects come into play. Same for showing you what kind of creatures live there. Mega Man shows you that the world they live in is so entirely dependant on technology that, when controlled, the robots can be incredibly dangerous to society.

Mind you, that doesn't mean your point is wrong. Those are games that are dependant almost entirely on gameplay. But at the same time I wouldn't say there isn't any story to be had there. Even if it's only on a level of the details of the world they're set in, they're still there. In the characters, enemies, and areas.

Kapol:

Well, it's a bit of a reach, but you could say a few of those games (Mario and Mega Man being the ones that jump at me, though the rest could have it apply) actually tell you a bit of a story while you're playing. They do use the most basic of ideas as stories. Save princess, stop bad guy, win fighting contest, simple. But that's not a bad thing.

And Mario and Mega Man do kind of reenforce their world through their gameplay. Mario, for example, shows you that the Mushroom kingdom is named due to the fact that mushrooms do play a large part in that world. Giant mushrooms, mushrooms altering size, and a lot of other aspects come into play. Same for showing you what kind of creatures live there. Mega Man shows you that the world they live in is so entirely dependant on technology that, when controlled, the robots can be incredibly dangerous to society.

Mind you, that doesn't mean your point is wrong. Those are games that are dependant almost entirely on gameplay. But at the same time I wouldn't say there isn't any story to be had there. Even if it's only on a level of the details of the world they're set in, they're still there. In the characters, enemies, and areas.

Well it was what I was trying to say earlier. Which part is "important" is dependent on genre. Action/Adventure games are a strong hybrid genre. Role-playing is more "story" focus than game-play. (Which is why we let the swinging and walking animation slide for games like Skyrim. Could you imagine such an animation in a action adventure or beat-em up?)

In a game like Street Fighter and Tekken, animation/gameplay is everything while story is secondary. Making sure clipping is correct. Movement is more fluid. No "skating" movement we see a lot in RPG's.

Even the classics of Castlevania and Metroid strong point is gameplay. Which fall into action/adventure as well...like a said these genre can be a hybrid of either and/or.

A good example I use is FFXIII the mythology and history and plans of the fal'cie and the true fate of the l'cie was really good but the story itself suffered because honestly the main cast wasn't very engrossing and the narrative and exposition was lame (datalog...really) But I could tolerate all that. The thing that killed it for me was the Combat System which was absolutely atrocious (who the hell wants to play a game that plays for you, screw auto-battle) that's the reason i stopped playing so game play is the most important for me, to enjoy the story i need to be having fun.

 

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