Interactive Narrative Means Choosing How Invested You Really Want to Be

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Yahtzee Croshaw:
And these two approaches suit the different reasons that audiences buy into the two different mediums. A filmgoer wants to unwind with a satisfactory story, and time must be spent acquiring their investment by letting them get to know the characters and situations before the climax will satisfy. A gamer, meanwhile, wants a challenge, and they automatically have investment because they want to beat the challenge.

Except that this is a nonsensical false dichotomy that has nothing to do with the many varied reasons people choose to engage in both mediums. Filmgoers often want much more than to simply passively unwind, and a large part of the interest of films like Primer is trying to figure out what is actually happening. At the same time, gamers often just want a bit of mindless fun to unwind and not a difficult challenge. Casual gaming wouldn't even exist if games were all challenge all the time, and the mere existence of clickers which have precisely zero challenge shows just how little challenge many people are interested in.

Most games are far more than a Tetris-style challenge at the expense of all else, while most films are much more than a mindless Michael Bay explosion-fest. People choose to play or watch one or the other for a huge variety of reasons, and any argument that relies on pigeonholing them into a single unifying motivation will result in complete nonsense, as your argument that films and games are fundamentally incompatible continues to do.

Casual Shinji:
Define 'what is actually happening and why'. There's plenty of symbolism and clues scattered throughout the in-game world, but without the context of the narrative in the cutscenes these have little to latch onto. You cut out all the cutscenes, both pre rendered and in-game, and the narrative gets completely butchered. For example, without the cutscenes you'd never get an idea as to what kind character Maria is, or really any of the other characters except maybe for James.

Nah, its getting too hard to explain. Try reading Silent Hill Plot Analysis by SilentPyramid if you want an impression on how deep the whole thing goes. If you try hard enough you can piece together much more than the cutscenes tell you.
And it isn't like Dark Souls does not have cutscenes too. It is the way they are used that matters.

I used to like liner, cutscene focused games but I've kind of gone off them in more recent years. I do prefer a more interactive approach to videogame storytelling. The Dark Souls/DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM style is nice but I found with Dark Souls I didn't immerse myself in the lore when I played it, I just looked up lore videos on youtube after the fact.

As a personal preference I like games that involve making choices, like Telltale's games or Life is Strange. Even if the your choices don't amount to much it's an effective way of engaging the player in the story. But in those games I like it when the decision making is the main part of the gampeplay. Those "action" sequences (QTEs) in The Walking Dead added nothing to the game for me and I'd prefer it if they weren't there at all.

More recently I've really enjoyed Firewatch and Oxenfree. Games I like to call "walking and talking simulators". Essentially walking simulators but with the addition of a lot of conversation and dialogue choices.

I've also been playing some modern point and click adventure games which I really like. The stories are linear but I like being able to interact with the world in the way that those games offer. And modern ones have mostly done away with the idiotic moon logic of the point and click games of the '90s which would always kill the pacing of the story when you inevitably got stuck.

I guess I actually kind of like to keep gameplay and story separate. The story driven games I like are ones with minimal gameplay, and the gameplay focused games I like are ones with minimal story. There are very few games where I've found a great marriage of story and gameplay where they both feel integral to the experience and complement each other.

Now understandably critics are always seeming to seek innovation (except for when it suits them not to), but I don't understand what gameplay would have served Uncharted and The Last of Us better, they are aiming for a grounded approach, and i don't know about anyone else, but if i'm being shot at by assholes repeatedly in real life, i'm going to make damn sure i find some cover and a weapon to retaliate. It may not be mind blowing originality and Earth shattering (debatable term), but it's kind of what i'd expect to happen in reality, therefore adding to immersion within the story. To expect some hypothetical "other" gameplay is sort of weird, given the context. FPS's don't seem to have these demands.
Anyhow, on topic, most people have already said what i was going to say. Text dumps are not fun, pausing gameplay to read tiny writing is somehow better? Have you seen the amount of text in The Witcher 3 and Skyrim? Fuck that noise, i didn't turn on a game to read a ravaged book as i squint painfully at those mocking pixels! Fallout 4 had interesting environment storytelling, if one were to pay actual attention to the design. If every game used the same storytelling method, it would be a terribly boring past time.

I did count those OOO's, why oh why though? Mysteriously have intense cravings for hula hoop crisps now.

Phoenixmgs:
I never commented on a Yahtzee article but...

How the fuck is READING the story more attune with an interactive medium than a cutscene (that actually can have some interactivity)? I guess books are more like video games than movies.

Literature, apart from schooling both Video Games and Cinema still, is the God of these mediums. Yes, to a certain extent, it is closer to games than movies are to games. That may seem strange, but it really ain't.

camazotz:

K12:
"DOOM has a better narrative than The Last of Us" should be put on Yahtzee's gravestone after he gets murdered by a mob of angry Sony fanboys.

You don't have to be a Sonybro or whatever to realize that Yahtzee has a bit of a weird bias here. I'm still trying to wrap my head around the notion that Dooooooom has a better narrative than The Last of Us. The former is...well....a fun experience that I have all but forgotten about after two weeks. The Last of Us however is a game I still think about and like to replay for the experience, and had a significant impact on how I realize I want to experience storytelling in games now and in the future. DOOOM? Fun for a bit but utterly forgettable, and I'd probably stop playing FPSes entirely if they were all like this.

EDIT: I mean, when I finally figured out all the story was loaded in to the archives to be read, I started reading them...and they were fun....but I was at best mildly annoyed at the fact that the game itself is at best pretending it has a story at all. If the story can be masked/hidden, then why the hell bother? If you can't "show" the story or create tools to interact with the story, then sticking it in ready bits is not going to make for an improved experience. Not every game has to do this, of course....DOOM is fine for what it does, but the idea that this might be some hidden holy grail of storytelling approaches is just inane.

TLOU never did it for me. Good movies or mid-tier books obliterate it easily as an experience. DOOM I would remember more. Such is life though.
Still, STALKER is better.

Xsjadoblayde:
snip.

As long as you read the Witcher books, all is forgiven.

Phoenixmgs:
Why not use tried and true storytelling methods that have been fine-tuned to a near science from other mediums when that method works for that particular scene?

Because they have been tuned specifically for expectators. But if the player is the protagonist (or has a role in it), he can't just be an expectator the whole time. The fine-tuning falls appart when the player's freewill is prioritized over the story. If you want to apply those methods as they were intended, the easiest way is to render the player passive (hence cutscenes, QTEs or just taking control for a few seconds), but overusing it kinda defeats the purpose of games focused in action (and frustrates the players that want gameplay action over story). Ironically, the action games genre is one of the most common places where narrative-driven games are found nowadays.

But I agree. Better stories are definetly needed. One of the reasons that restricting the players' actions to corridors, cutscenes and QTEs fell out of grace in the past generation was because the stories weren't very good to begin with. It's amusing how the AAA "cinematic" games tried so hard on emulate the movie techniques, but they never seem to get any better in writing their stories (pretty similar to having better graphics but worse gameplay). Just remember, the AAA doesn't aim to make their things great; just good enough.

PS: I have never played MGS3. I missed the whole PS2 games library (except for a couple of PS3 remakes).

Kahani:
Casual gaming wouldn't even exist if games were all challenge all the time

I think you and me are interpreting constant challenge in a different way. Tell me if you agree: challenge brings the players' skill to test, but the test isn't necessarially hard or long. Candy Crush and Angry Birds are games of challenge, because they are mostly gameplay (pure puzzle solving) and almost no story (they have as much story as the original Doom). They are games of challenge all the time (the reward for finishing a level is another puzzle level), and yet they are considered the main representatives of casual gaming (clickers are not).

Charcharo:
Literature, apart from schooling both Video Games and Cinema still, is the God of these mediums. Yes, to a certain extent, it is closer to games than movies are to games. That may seem strange, but it really ain't.

No way books are closer to games than movies. Both games and movies are at least a visual medium. Stopping both interactivity and the visual aspect of playing a game to actually get the story is worse than only stopping gameplay while keeping up the visual experience. The word VIDEO is in the title of the medium, VIDEO games.

CaitSeith:

Phoenixmgs:
Why not use tried and true storytelling methods that have been fine-tuned to a near science from other mediums when that method works for that particular scene?

Because they have been tuned specifically for expectators. But if the player is the protagonist (or has a role in it), he can't just be an expectator the whole time. The fine-tuning falls appart when the player's freewill is prioritized over the story. If you want to apply those methods as they were intended, the easiest way is to render the player passive (hence cutscenes, QTEs or just taking control for a few seconds), but overusing it kinda defeats the purpose of games focused in action (and frustrates the players that want gameplay action over story). Ironically, the action games genre is one of the most common places where narrative-driven games are found nowadays.

But I agree. Better stories are definetly needed. One of the reasons that restricting the players' actions to corridors, cutscenes and QTEs fell out of grace in the past generation was because the stories weren't very good to begin with. It's amusing how the AAA "cinematic" games tried so hard on emulate the movie techniques, but they never seem to get any better in writing their stories (pretty similar to having better graphics but worse gameplay). Just remember, the AAA doesn't aim to make their things great; just good enough.

PS: I have never played MGS3. I missed the whole PS2 games library (except for a couple of PS3 remakes).

Most stories require characters talking to each other. You can do some to most (depending on the story and dialogue) dialogue during gameplay but there's going to some important things said and important moments that can't be missed because of the player being distracted by gameplay and to me that's where the cutscene comes into play and works just fine in a game. Video games can improve upon movies with regards to cinematography just due to being able to put the camera literally anywhere. And, you can still have some basic interaction in cutscenes like being able to look around to pressing a button to do something (like shoot someone ala MGS3). You can soon play on MGS3 on a pachinko machine lol.

Phoenixmgs:
Video games can improve upon movies with regards to cinematography just due to being able to put the camera literally anywhere.

Movies can already do that (specially now with animated movies and CGI scenes). If camera freedom is the best improvement that videogames bring to movies, then it's a pretty pointless one (from movies perspective), because it comes at the loss of several film techniques that can't be recreated in games. Add interactiviy, and it makes it even worse: allow to look around and the player may not focus on what it's important. Press a button to make an action, and the pacing falls on the players' hands (risking the scene to not have the intended impact). Give interactivity in such scenes, and you make the players to be its filmmakers (and more likely than not, they won't be good filmmakers).

I think that trying to make the games imitate the movies as much as possible to deliver the narrative, just because the two are visual mediums, is a trap that ends up making both the gameplay experience and the narrative experience worse (at least in action games).

CaitSeith:

Phoenixmgs:
Video games can improve upon movies with regards to cinematography just due to being able to put the camera literally anywhere.

Movies can already do that (specially now with animated movies and CGI scenes). If camera freedom is the best improvement that videogames bring to movies, then it's a pretty pointless one (from movies perspective), because it comes at the loss of several film techniques that can't be recreated in games. Add interactiviy, and it makes it even worse: allow to look around and the player may not focus on what it's important. Press a button to make an action, and the pacing falls on the players' hands (risking the scene to not have the intended impact). Give interactivity in such scenes, and you make the players to be its filmmakers (and more likely than not, they won't be good filmmakers).

I think that trying to make the games imitate the movies as much as possible to deliver the narrative, just because the two are visual mediums, is a trap that ends up making both the gameplay experience and the narrative experience worse (at least in action games).

Then why not stop treating narrative games like a film and instead treat them like a radio show?

CaitSeith:
Movies can already do that (specially now with animated movies and CGI scenes). If camera freedom is the best improvement that videogames bring to movies, then it's a pretty pointless one (from movies perspective), because it comes at the loss of several film techniques that can't be recreated in games. Add interactiviy, and it makes it even worse: allow to look around and the player may not focus on what it's important. Press a button to make an action, and the pacing falls on the players' hands (risking the scene to not have the intended impact). Give interactivity in such scenes, and you make the players to be its filmmakers (and more likely than not, they won't be good filmmakers).

I think that trying to make the games imitate the movies as much as possible to deliver the narrative, just because the two are visual mediums, is a trap that ends up making both the gameplay experience and the narrative experience worse (at least in action games).

Fair point about movies and CGI, I was just thinking about standard filming.

The opening of TLOU and looking out the windows of the car is a great way to implement a cutscene while giving interaction. Does that work for every scene? Of course not. I'm not wanting games to imitate movies but there are scenes where a cutscene works best so use a cutscene in those situations. One of the gaming medium's strengths is being able to pull elements from any medium and use them when appropriate; saying that a cutscene is always wrong will only hurt storytelling in games. There's a great scene in Uncharted 4 (a very average game IMO) with Elena and Drake on the couch talking and eating dinner, and how would that be done if cutscenes weren't allowed? I don't see any way to do a scene like that within gameplay that would have more emotional impact than using a cutscene. Or are games not allowed to have such scenes because there's not enough interactivity?

Phoenixmgs:

CaitSeith:
snip

Fair point about movies and CGI, I was just thinking about standard filming.

The opening of TLOU and looking out the windows of the car is a great way to implement a cutscene while giving interaction. Does that work for every scene? Of course not. I'm not wanting games to imitate movies but there are scenes where a cutscene works best so use a cutscene in those situations. One of the gaming medium's strengths is being able to pull elements from any medium and use them when appropriate; saying that a cutscene is always wrong will only hurt storytelling in games. There's a great scene in Uncharted 4 (a very average game IMO) with Elena and Drake on the couch talking and eating dinner, and how would that be done if cutscenes weren't allowed? I don't see any way to do a scene like that within gameplay that would have more emotional impact than using a cutscene. Or are games not allowed to have such scenes because there's not enough interactivity?

It isn't so much of "being allowed". It's more about when it's "being overused/misused" and being in odds with the gameplay (which happened often in shooters the past generation and in The Order 1886). When that happens, we get games with lousy gameplay and (usually) a pretty bad story.

Transdude1996:

CaitSeith:

Movies can already do that (specially now with animated movies and CGI scenes). If camera freedom is the best improvement that videogames bring to movies, then it's a pretty pointless one (from movies perspective), because it comes at the loss of several film techniques that can't be recreated in games. Add interactiviy, and it makes it even worse: allow to look around and the player may not focus on what it's important. Press a button to make an action, and the pacing falls on the players' hands (risking the scene to not have the intended impact). Give interactivity in such scenes, and you make the players to be its filmmakers (and more likely than not, they won't be good filmmakers).

I think that trying to make the games imitate the movies as much as possible to deliver the narrative, just because the two are visual mediums, is a trap that ends up making both the gameplay experience and the narrative experience worse (at least in action games).

Then why not stop treating narrative games like a film and instead treat them like a radio show?

Like Portal 2 did in its Perpetual Testing Initiative campaign? (yes, that happened)

CaitSeith:

Transdude1996:

CaitSeith:

Movies can already do that (specially now with animated movies and CGI scenes). If camera freedom is the best improvement that videogames bring to movies, then it's a pretty pointless one (from movies perspective), because it comes at the loss of several film techniques that can't be recreated in games. Add interactiviy, and it makes it even worse: allow to look around and the player may not focus on what it's important. Press a button to make an action, and the pacing falls on the players' hands (risking the scene to not have the intended impact). Give interactivity in such scenes, and you make the players to be its filmmakers (and more likely than not, they won't be good filmmakers).

I think that trying to make the games imitate the movies as much as possible to deliver the narrative, just because the two are visual mediums, is a trap that ends up making both the gameplay experience and the narrative experience worse (at least in action games).

Then why not stop treating narrative games like a film and instead treat them like a radio show?

Like Portal 2 did in its Perpetual Testing Initiative campaign? (yes, that happened)

I wouldn't know since I have yet to play Portal 2. It's just that I figured that it would solve the problem of the player missing something visually because they're focused somewhere else.

Because my post seems to become quite flabby and disconnected trying to explain this in detail, here's the best way I can sum it up. Imagine something like the event 11 minutes into The War of the Worlds broadcast (Link to the audio) playing out in the world. Then, there's you, the game's protagonist, who watching the broadcast live (The fictional one, that is), or wondering about the area while the report is still clearly heard.

As you hear the events unfold, there's nothing that the player can easily miss out on. Everything is told clearly, and the story comes across as detailed enough. There's no need to hold the player to the ground to deliver the story, or forcing them to have their attention focussed on one character for very long. And, everything just unfolds naturally.

Do you see where I'm coming from with this idea?

CaitSeith:
It isn't so much of "being allowed". It's more about when it's "being overused/misused" and being in odds with the gameplay (which happened often in shooters the past generation and in The Order 1886). When that happens, we get games with lousy gameplay and (usually) a pretty bad story.

I agree with that. I mainly posted to begin with because games that use, I guess, "game-y" storytelling elements I usually find very underwhelming in the storytelling department like Dark Souls as mentioned by Yahtzee in the article. And, more often than not, I would've usually preferred a cutscene. I think gameplay and storytelling are both naturally at odds with each other to some extent. For example, if you are making a shooter, you kinda have to stop with the shooting to have meaningful dialogue and exposition whether it's a cutscene or walking around your hideout in Wolfenstein The New Order. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I also feel giving the player some input in those "scenes" is important.

Transdude1996:

CaitSeith:
snip

I wouldn't know since I have yet to play Portal 2. It's just that I figured that it would solve the problem of the player missing something visually because they're focused somewhere else.

Because my post seems to become quite flabby and disconnected trying to explain this in detail, here's the best way I can sum it up. Imagine something like the event 11 minutes into The War of the Worlds broadcast (Link to the audio) playing out in the world. Then, there's you, the game's protagonist, who watching the broadcast live (The fictional one, that is), or wondering about the area while the report is still clearly heard.

As you hear the events unfold, there's nothing that the player can easily miss out on. Everything is told clearly, and the story comes across as detailed enough. There's no need to hold the player to the ground to deliver the story, or forcing them to have their attention focussed on one character for very long. And, everything just unfolds naturally.

Do you see where I'm coming from with this idea?

Not as good or detailed, but it was something like that (hearing a voice reporting briefly what's happening, without interrupting your actions).

I think that games, as an interactive medium, should force players to advance the storyline rather than be a simple participant in it. A lot of games' stories are set out in a way that makes us players little more than an outside observer. But if we are to be truly invested, the game has to make us work for the morsels that explain 'why we are here'.

Phoenixmgs:

CaitSeith:
It isn't so much of "being allowed". It's more about when it's "being overused/misused" and being in odds with the gameplay (which happened often in shooters the past generation and in The Order 1886). When that happens, we get games with lousy gameplay and (usually) a pretty bad story.

I agree with that. I mainly posted to begin with because games that use, I guess, "game-y" storytelling elements I usually find very underwhelming in the storytelling department like Dark Souls as mentioned by Yahtzee in the article. And, more often than not, I would've usually preferred a cutscene. I think gameplay and storytelling are both naturally at odds with each other to some extent. For example, if you are making a shooter, you kinda have to stop with the shooting to have meaningful dialogue and exposition whether it's a cutscene or walking around your hideout in Wolfenstein The New Order. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I also feel giving the player some input in those "scenes" is important.

I think here is a good place to note that not all players like same things in games (even "average player" is a generalization here). What I like about Dark Souls and Uncharted narratives is how well tuned is the delivery with the rest of the game (in both cases). DS lore demands time and effort as much as the gameplay (it's certainly delivered the way the fans of that game like the things to be). Uncharted attempts to make the transition between gameplay and cutscenes as smooth as possible by not disturbing the pacing.

I can't tell which one is better, because they were designed with two different types of audiences in mind.

Phoenixmgs:

Charcharo:
Literature, apart from schooling both Video Games and Cinema still, is the God of these mediums. Yes, to a certain extent, it is closer to games than movies are to games. That may seem strange, but it really ain't.

No way books are closer to games than movies. Both games and movies are at least a visual medium. Stopping both interactivity and the visual aspect of playing a game to actually get the story is worse than only stopping gameplay while keeping up the visual experience. The word VIDEO is in the title of the medium, VIDEO games.

Most stories require characters talking to each other. You can do some to most (depending on the story and dialogue) dialogue during gameplay but there's going to some important things said and important moments that can't be missed because of the player being distracted by gameplay and to me that's where the cutscene comes into play and works just fine in a game. Video games can improve upon movies with regards to cinematography just due to being able to put the camera literally anywhere. And, you can still have some basic interaction in cutscenes like being able to look around to pressing a button to do something (like shoot someone ala MGS3). You can soon play on MGS3 on a pachinko machine lol.

You are looking at this way too simplistically. The fact that they are both visual is correct, but many of the tenants of good story design work better on games than on cinema (the ones that are applicable to literature, the superior art form to both).

Transdude1996:

CaitSeith:

Transdude1996:

Then why not stop treating narrative games like a film and instead treat them like a radio show?

Like Portal 2 did in its Perpetual Testing Initiative campaign? (yes, that happened)

I wouldn't know since I have yet to play Portal 2. It's just that I figured that it would solve the problem of the player missing something visually because they're focused somewhere else.

Because my post seems to become quite flabby and disconnected trying to explain this in detail, here's the best way I can sum it up. Imagine something like the event 11 minutes into The War of the Worlds broadcast (Link to the audio) playing out in the world. Then, there's you, the game's protagonist, who watching the broadcast live (The fictional one, that is), or wondering about the area while the report is still clearly heard.

As you hear the events unfold, there's nothing that the player can easily miss out on. Everything is told clearly, and the story comes across as detailed enough. There's no need to hold the player to the ground to deliver the story, or forcing them to have their attention focussed on one character for very long. And, everything just unfolds naturally.

Do you see where I'm coming from with this idea?

The original FEAR did a bit of that, as do some of the Bioshock titles, FEAR has radio communications with other members of the team, and a series of voice messages you can find which detail exactly what went on, which runs parallel to the story you're playing, which also has it's own cutscenes and story sections.

I think it's all a matter of execution though. The excessive adherence to film style storytelling has the problem where it's often shoehorned in over what's potentially better for the game, or is otherwise frustrating. The best example for me would be Wolfenstien The New Order. It's a decent enough game, but playing through it felt like they'd taken all of the worst implementations of cutscenes from the last decade of gaming into one package. Levels are broken up by non-interactive cutscenes, which sometimes will even lead onto another cutscene. They're rarely very good, though there are some stand out moments, and they frequently include things that could have been a part of gameplay, and involve exposition that would probably be better played to the user in the level to add some interest to the openings of levels, which are often slow. It also commits the cardinal sin of having characters doing things that the player would like to do in the cutscenes, and defeating the player in cutscenes, typically grabbing their weapons as well, because that's always fun.

Got to the point where I just started skipping them all, the game became much more fun.

The Last of Us breaks up the near universally praised story and cutscenes with gameplay which has been mostly described as adequate.

You can definitely make a great game that takes inspiration from film techniques and styling, from what I hear, that's one of the big positives of the Uncharted series (Not a Playstation 3 or 4 owner), the better CoD titles do it, and the old school content muncher where progress through the game is rewarded with more story, through set piece story moments or cutscenes still works. It's just that it's better if it works with the gameplay. And allowing players to choose their involvement with the story when a game is focussed mostly around gameplay, like say, a Doom, or Wolfenstein, keeps the player from feeling annoyed that they're being interrupted with a story they don't care about. I don't care about the stupid story in TNO. I care about the smaller story of me killing a bunch of Nazis in various ways. Every interruption to that, especially when it has unfair gameplay consequences, like nicking my guns, takes away from the experience.

It feels bad when the two are uncomfortably seperate. Like in your example, if you're hearing things about the world in a WOTW style, while also moving through it, you can see what's going on, and the two reinforce each other. In the case of TNO, what I'm doing is either advancing the story or playing the game, and very rarely both at the same time, and that ends up being through brief moments in the gameplay.

CaitSeith:
I think here is a good place to note that not all players like same things in games (even "average player" is a generalization here). What I like about Dark Souls and Uncharted narratives is how well tuned is the delivery with the rest of the game (in both cases). DS lore demands time and effort as much as the gameplay (it's certainly delivered the way the fans of that game like the things to be). Uncharted attempts to make the transition between gameplay and cutscenes as smooth as possible by not disturbing the pacing.

I can't tell which one is better, because they were designed with two different types of audiences in mind.

With Dark Souls, I'd at least want the very basics of the plot told in some manner that the player can't miss. I have no problem with lore expanding on the details, characters, etc.

Charcharo:
You are looking at this way too simplistically. The fact that they are both visual is correct, but many of the tenants of good story design work better on games than on cinema (the ones that are applicable to literature, the superior art form to both).

I guess you're getting at that games can pack much more story like books than a movie. Then replace cinema with TV. Unless it's something else because there's really nothing a book can do that cinema/TV can't do.

Phoenixmgs:

CaitSeith:
I think here is a good place to note that not all players like same things in games (even "average player" is a generalization here). What I like about Dark Souls and Uncharted narratives is how well tuned is the delivery with the rest of the game (in both cases). DS lore demands time and effort as much as the gameplay (it's certainly delivered the way the fans of that game like the things to be). Uncharted attempts to make the transition between gameplay and cutscenes as smooth as possible by not disturbing the pacing.

I can't tell which one is better, because they were designed with two different types of audiences in mind.

With Dark Souls, I'd at least want the very basics of the plot told in some manner that the player can't miss. I have no problem with lore expanding on the details, characters, etc.

Charcharo:
You are looking at this way too simplistically. The fact that they are both visual is correct, but many of the tenants of good story design work better on games than on cinema (the ones that are applicable to literature, the superior art form to both).

I guess you're getting at that games can pack much more story like books than a movie. Then replace cinema with TV. Unless it's something else because there's really nothing a book can do that cinema/TV can't do.

There is quite a bit... that Literature can do that TV and cinema stumble to do(not the same as unable to do mind you). It is a more developed art form after all, so it is normal for it to be better. No shame in that.

TV is closer overall I'd say, but not quite as much as literature is to games.

Charcharo:
There is quite a bit... that Literature can do that TV and cinema stumble to do(not the same as unable to do mind you). It is a more developed art form after all, so it is normal for it to be better. No shame in that.

TV is closer overall I'd say, but not quite as much as literature is to games.

Yet again you post with nothing at all to back up your claim. What can books do that TV can't do?

Phoenixmgs:

Charcharo:
There is quite a bit... that Literature can do that TV and cinema stumble to do(not the same as unable to do mind you). It is a more developed art form after all, so it is normal for it to be better. No shame in that.

TV is closer overall I'd say, but not quite as much as literature is to games.

Yet again you post with nothing at all to back up your claim. What can books do that TV can't do?

A few things.

First one is that reading requires imagination. Unlike TV (and movies), books require the reader to imagine the events playing out in their head. And, when one sees that directly adapted into a visual medium, the viewer will possibly be disappointed because what the way they thought it played out is often different than what they see happening screen (And, is likely, not as exciting).

The second is that traditional TV shows are designed to hook the viewer to keep watching the series the coming weeks. What this means is that TV shows often fall into the same traps as comic books (You know, the left-field @$$hat plot twists at the end of the issue, watch 24 if you want a great example of this). Some shows have gotten away from this with the rise of Netflix and Amazon Prime, but often those shows also fall into the pit of making sure that the show is shocking enough on the first episode that viewers will continue watching the rest of the series (Despite it's overall quality). The thing with books is that they, often, escape this because you won't honestly know how good a book is until after you bought it and read about a third to half of it.

A third one is the time taken to delivery the story. When one reads through a book, the chapters are not restricted to being a certain number of pages or words. With TV shows, you have to compress everything into a 20-45 minute slot (With breaks for commercials). What this means is that some events become rushed and others are stretched as filler versus books which can take all the time they need.

Also, IIRC, the average person reads about 600 words per minute, meanwhile shows and movies can only muster about 100-150 words per minute (And, with games, it's about 16 WPM).

Transdude1996:
First one is that reading requires imagination. Unlike TV (and movies), books require the reader to imagine the events playing out in their head. And, when one sees that directly adapted into a visual medium, the viewer will possibly be disappointed because what the way they thought it played out is often different than what they see happening screen (And, is likely, not as exciting).

The second is that traditional TV shows are designed to hook the viewer to keep watching the series the coming weeks. What this means is that TV shows often fall into the same traps as comic books (You know, the left-field @$$hat plot twists at the end of the issue, watch 24 if you want a great example of this). Some shows have gotten away from this with the rise of Netflix and Amazon Prime, but often those shows also fall into the pit of making sure that the show is shocking enough on the first episode that viewers will continue watching the rest of the series (Despite it's overall quality). The thing with books is that they, often, escape this because you won't honestly know how good a book is until after you bought it and read about a third to half of it.

A third one is the time taken to delivery the story. When one reads through a book, the chapters are not restricted to being a certain number of pages or words. With TV shows, you have to compress everything into a 20-45 minute slot (With breaks for commercials). What this means is that some events become rushed and others are stretched as filler versus books which can take all the time they need.

Also, IIRC, the average person reads about 600 words per minute, meanwhile shows and movies can only muster about 100-150 words per minute (And, with games, it's about 16 WPM).

-TV does have the imaginations of a group of people putting together a work of art vs 1/2 (the author/the reader). For example, Malcolm Reynolds of Firefly was written differently and Nathan Fillion added his input and the character evolved. If Firefly was book, the character would've been different.

-TV shows don't need to hook the viewer in cheap ways especially not anymore. You always want to "hook" the reader/viewer in some way. Writers are taught to hook the reader just like shows want to hook the viewer. And, hooking your audience isn't a "bad" thing to do either. Seeing a character in a pressing moment can quite quickly convey a lot more about that character and thus the audience gets to know the character faster.

-TV shows can take their time as well. Look at House, which is an 8 season character study of Sherlock Holmes, much lengthier than the literature Sherlock Holmes. That was a network show that accomplished that too. And winter still hasn't come in Game of Thrones yet lol.

-Much of the words read in books are descriptors and adjectives and basically stuff that you'd take in by seeing almost instantaneously in TV/movies. Pretty much all the words taken in when watching TV/movies are dialogue. I bet TV/movies have more dialogue per minute than books. I feel I can take in more content per minute in TV/movies vs books.

Phoenixmgs:

Charcharo:
There is quite a bit... that Literature can do that TV and cinema stumble to do(not the same as unable to do mind you). It is a more developed art form after all, so it is normal for it to be better. No shame in that.

TV is closer overall I'd say, but not quite as much as literature is to games.

Yet again you post with nothing at all to back up your claim. What can books do that TV can't do?

Show internal thoughts, struggle and character development. TV has issues with that, it can not do it directly, at least not well.

This is just the easiest example. I do not get the defensiveness though... do you people not get taught these things at school? I always see this absurd level of defense always for the younger and still inferior Cinema/Gaming.

Also, Game of Thrones is one of those TV series that relies on cheap thrills to hook the viewer. It is not helping your cause at all.

Charcharo:
I do not get the defensiveness though... do you people not get taught these things at school? I always see this absurd level of defense always for the younger and still inferior Cinema/Gaming.

The defensiveness might be coming from your obscenely elitist manner of making your point. Calling one medium superior over others because it has, to date, produced more positive results, is not only an assumption, but also a matter of taste, and, moreover, very much owed to the fact that it is simply older. That does not make the medium itself superior.
There are things that cinema has achieved that written literature could never dream about. I would like to ask you to imagine, if you will, a written version of Gaspar Noe's Enter the Void or, if that is more to your liking, an actual literary version of 2001 (not the short story on which it is based, an actual adaptation). Similarly, every Hitchcock film is based on an inferior book.

Again, the way you make your case is, frankly, infuriating. You're writing in an overly patronizing voice, stating questions of taste as facts, and don't give proper argumentation; instead, you replace this (very necessary) step with the repeated emphasis that what you're stating should be considered factual truth and sign off with (seemingly?) feigned surprise about how people can even consider another opinion.

Finally, the notion that film was not able to show internal thoughts and struggles, and that character development is generally an issue for the medium is, sorry, laughable. Internal thoughts and struggles have been depicted in film for decades, and not just in inner monologue, and characters develop from A to B to X,Y,Z all the time.

There's room for different kinds of storytelling in games, but when gaming is at it worst is when it tries to emulate cinematic storytelling reducing playability and with that I mean cutscenes that take control away from the player and QTEs.

I really like that there are so many ways to tell stories in games:

- cinematic storytelling
- environmental storytelling
- adventure games
- choose your own adventure
- procedural storytelling
- audiologs
- cutscenes

I think gaming is at it best when it takes advantage of its unique ways to tell stories. One thing I dislike is when cinematic storytelling doesn't give the possibility to shape the story depending on your decisions or do so at the last moment like in Mass Effect 3. A good example is Chrono Trigger with its 13 different endings.

The best way to do cutscenes is when they are interactive, something partially done by Valve with Half-Life 2.

I also like when games let you create your own stories through gameplay like in Crusaders II. You can also mix that with more traditional storytelling like in XCOM. Dwarf Fortress takes it to another extreme. Even GTA V lets you create your own narrative with its sandbox, alongside traditional cutscenes. I think it would benefit much more for having something closer to having proper graphics, but the possibilities of something like that for gaming is amazing.

A mix of traditional storytelling and procedural storytelling like in Sunless Sea and 80 Days is also what I think games should aspire more to.

I also like the experimentation in Dishonored that gives you unique narratives depending on how you play. A game like Bioshock Infinite would have greatly benefited from a similar approach which takes me to another criticism of games. If games did not focus so much on violence we would have more varied experiences.

My ideal storytelling in games would be something that has a big open world that lets you live in it, have a job, get married, have the most mundane kind of life, but you could meet people that follow their own routines and find quests in which you have the option to complete in different ways, violently or peacefully. There would be a lot of environmental storytelling, but also characters with scripts, but their dialogues would depend on how you behave in the game. It would be like a mix between Skyrim, Dishonoured, Ultima and Lucasarts adventure games.

But when there are linear games with traditional cinematic storytelling I think developers could at least hire a good writer and create a story that is at least as good as a film's one! And I also like the fact that some games are only gameplay like Doom and Rocket League, but you still have all those cool stories relating to how that match went or how you managed to fight all those monsters. Some games need to let you speak to the monsters and others let you shoot them.

The beauty of games is that they are varied and there is not only one way to tell a story with them.

Charcharo:

Phoenixmgs:
Yet again you post with nothing at all to back up your claim. What can books do that TV can't do?

Show internal thoughts, struggle and character development. TV has issues with that, it can not do it directly, at least not well.

This is just the easiest example. I do not get the defensiveness though... do you people not get taught these things at school? I always see this absurd level of defense always for the younger and still inferior Cinema/Gaming.

Also, Game of Thrones is one of those TV series that relies on cheap thrills to hook the viewer. It is not helping your cause at all.

Every time you reply to me you state things as if they are facts just because you believe something to be true without any proof whatsoever to back it up exactly like the post I'm replying to right now (no facts, just opinion). You can't even cite one thing literature does that TV/film can't do. TV/film can do things literature cannot; for example, I can take in more content in a set period of time in a visual medium because I don't have to spend time reading adjectives and descriptors, I just see it all instantaneously. I don't see how TV can't do internal thoughts, struggle, character development. House has far more content and character development than the literature version of Sherlock Holmes. The show is basically an 8-season long character study, what book series can even compare to that?

I like Game of Thrones but I don't think it's anything too special. It just demonstrates TV can take time (and lots of time) developing plot and characters regardless of how well or poor it is executed in GoT.

And what this guy said:

Gladion:
The defensiveness might be coming from your obscenely elitist manner of making your point. Calling one medium superior over others because it has, to date, produced more positive results, is not only an assumption, but also a matter of taste, and, moreover, very much owed to the fact that it is simply older. That does not make the medium itself superior.
There are things that cinema has achieved that written literature could never dream about. I would like to ask you to imagine, if you will, a written version of Gaspar Noe's Enter the Void or, if that is more to your liking, an actual literary version of 2001 (not the short story on which it is based, an actual adaptation). Similarly, every Hitchcock film is based on an inferior book.

Again, the way you make your case is, frankly, infuriating. You're writing in an overly patronizing voice, stating questions of taste as facts, and don't give proper argumentation; instead, you replace this (very necessary) step with the repeated emphasis that what you're stating should be considered factual truth and sign off with (seemingly?) feigned surprise about how people can even consider another opinion.

Finally, the notion that film was not able to show internal thoughts and struggles, and that character development is generally an issue for the medium is, sorry, laughable. Internal thoughts and struggles have been depicted in film for decades, and not just in inner monologue, and characters develop from A to B to X,Y,Z all the time.

Gladion:

Charcharo:
I do not get the defensiveness though... do you people not get taught these things at school? I always see this absurd level of defense always for the younger and still inferior Cinema/Gaming.

The defensiveness might be coming from your obscenely elitist manner of making your point. Calling one medium superior over others because it has, to date, produced more positive results, is not only an assumption, but also a matter of taste, and, moreover, very much owed to the fact that it is simply older. That does not make the medium itself superior.
There are things that cinema has achieved that written literature could never dream about. I would like to ask you to imagine, if you will, a written version of Gaspar Noe's Enter the Void or, if that is more to your liking, an actual literary version of 2001 (not the short story on which it is based, an actual adaptation). Similarly, every Hitchcock film is based on an inferior book.

Again, the way you make your case is, frankly, infuriating. You're writing in an overly patronizing voice, stating questions of taste as facts, and don't give proper argumentation; instead, you replace this (very necessary) step with the repeated emphasis that what you're stating should be considered factual truth and sign off with (seemingly?) feigned surprise about how people can even consider another opinion.

Finally, the notion that film was not able to show internal thoughts and struggles, and that character development is generally an issue for the medium is, sorry, laughable. Internal thoughts and struggles have been depicted in film for decades, and not just in inner monologue, and characters develop from A to B to X,Y,Z all the time.

It is elitist and patronizing, because otherwise no one will ever read it. This is how the internet works, it is sad, but it is a fact. Sorry if it comes out assholish, but this is what I have learned works.
Yes, one medium is superior. Flat out. Due to its age and maturity. I think I even stated that, if not I state it here. We agree. It is obvious, both points. Cinema is not even close to literature, but it is obvious it still can not be, it is just too young. It is not inherently inferior, just younger. Same for gaming.

Interestingly, I personally mostly care for games and books. Still I know Cinema has so far done better than games, due to it being older. Such is life really.

Phoenixmgs:

Charcharo:

Phoenixmgs:
Yet again you post with nothing at all to back up your claim. What can books do that TV can't do?

Show internal thoughts, struggle and character development. TV has issues with that, it can not do it directly, at least not well.

This is just the easiest example. I do not get the defensiveness though... do you people not get taught these things at school? I always see this absurd level of defense always for the younger and still inferior Cinema/Gaming.

Also, Game of Thrones is one of those TV series that relies on cheap thrills to hook the viewer. It is not helping your cause at all.

Every time you reply to me you state things as if they are facts just because you believe something to be true without any proof whatsoever to back it up exactly like the post I'm replying to right now (no facts, just opinion). You can't even cite one thing literature does that TV/film can't do. TV/film can do things literature cannot; for example, I can take in more content in a set period of time in a visual medium because I don't have to spend time reading adjectives and descriptors, I just see it all instantaneously. I don't see how TV can't do internal thoughts, struggle, character development. House has far more content and character development than the literature version of Sherlock Holmes. The show is basically an 8-season long character study, what book series can even compare to that?

I like Game of Thrones but I don't think it's anything too special. It just demonstrates TV can take time (and lots of time) developing plot and characters regardless of how well or poor it is executed in GoT.

I do not simply believe it. It is just obvious...

I cited one thing. Internal character struggles and thoughts. The easiest example.

"House has far more content and character development than the literature version of Sherlock Holmes."
Disagree, but the thing is... Sherlock Holmes actually has a different main narrative theme and focus than House. BTW, actually a good show you chose. Good job.

"what book series can even compare to that?"
Pretty much all of the literary classics blow it away when it comes to impact and complexity, but I currently can not think of a more direct example.

BTW, something does not have to be compared to its inspiration but its closest narrative and thematic counterpart. I won't compare STALKER (a game) to Tarkovsky's movie or Roadside Picnic (though it is an inferior work to both)... rather would try to compare it to a Western or a Klondike Gold Rush themed book.

Phoenixmgs:

Transdude1996:
First one is that reading requires imagination. Unlike TV (and movies), books require the reader to imagine the events playing out in their head. And, when one sees that directly adapted into a visual medium, the viewer will possibly be disappointed because what the way they thought it played out is often different than what they see happening screen (And, is likely, not as exciting).

The second is that traditional TV shows are designed to hook the viewer to keep watching the series the coming weeks. What this means is that TV shows often fall into the same traps as comic books (You know, the left-field @$$hat plot twists at the end of the issue, watch 24 if you want a great example of this). Some shows have gotten away from this with the rise of Netflix and Amazon Prime, but often those shows also fall into the pit of making sure that the show is shocking enough on the first episode that viewers will continue watching the rest of the series (Despite it's overall quality). The thing with books is that they, often, escape this because you won't honestly know how good a book is until after you bought it and read about a third to half of it.

A third one is the time taken to delivery the story. When one reads through a book, the chapters are not restricted to being a certain number of pages or words. With TV shows, you have to compress everything into a 20-45 minute slot (With breaks for commercials). What this means is that some events become rushed and others are stretched as filler versus books which can take all the time they need.

Also, IIRC, the average person reads about 600 words per minute, meanwhile shows and movies can only muster about 100-150 words per minute (And, with games, it's about 16 WPM).

-TV does have the imaginations of a group of people putting together a work of art vs 1/2 (the author/the reader). For example, Malcolm Reynolds of Firefly was written differently and Nathan Fillion added his input and the character evolved. If Firefly was book, the character would've been different.

He's/we're talking about the audience experience, not the creator.

I really don't think he's saying TV doesn't require imagination to create, but it doesn't require imagination to /watch/, it's an entirely passive viewing experience.

While this sort of gameplay-gamestory interaction is nice, I always feel that it separates the player base in an awkward sort of way. Like you'll be talking to a person about dark souls lore, and a not person hears you talking about games, wonders what game your talking about and when you tell it, they start discussing their favorite methods of wrecking newbs that have the gall to use a humanity in their house, and the conversation closes with the infamous "Dark Souls has a plot?" question.

DO??OM on the other hand seems to interact the story with the plot just enough that you know that there's a plot going on, whether or not you interact with it... but it seems closer to "Borderlands done right" than anything else as far as comparatives.

"A filmgoer wants to unwind with a satisfactory story, and time must be spent acquiring their investment by letting them get to know the characters and situations before the climax will satisfy. A gamer, meanwhile, wants a challenge, and they automatically have investment because they want to beat the challenge.

I think this is a false assumption. It is for what calls me to games anyway. Challenge is not a large component in why I choose one game over another; story is the primary component in that process, actually. This wasn't always the case of course, and as I have gotten older I think I have trended more towards appreciation of the writing of a video game in terms of character depth, world lore and depth, and story overall. This means my acquisition of investment comes more from the delivery of the game's exposition - however it is delivered - which build those things much more than the "challenges" of gameplay. I need to be hooked on the character or the world or the story to want to engage the challenges of the gameplay, or I simply move on to something else, since game mechanics are if not standard then at least fairly similar in most cases when it domes to games. So much so that we all know what's coming when we start quests most of the time - a fetch, a kill, a craft, a combo of the three in some manner, etc. How that is dressed up, what immersive manner it is delivered in and what the game's story or the character's story is doing to make me care about it is what keeps me engaging the gameplay.

The Wizardry series had real choice, real multiple endings and, in the sequels, it even had multiple beginnings. I'm not talking about the same ending with different colors and slightly different text. I'm talking about, picking who wins a war level of different.

Speaking of conversations, you could actually type responses to NPCs. It wasn't as sophisticated as some of the bots you find these days but it was pretty good for a series as old as it is.

I never really had the chance to play the earlier parts of the series but 7 was nearly a sandbox level of do what you want, when you want. Yet, there were chronological plot paths for you to follow, should you choose to. Of course, you had to be careful not to get curb stomped by enemies you had no hope of winning against by following the story. That said, you were free to go and get yourself hopelessly slaughtered, if you really wanted to run off to a high level area.

Wizardry 7 has been the bar I've measured RPGs by since I first played it in 1996. It's depressing how far most modern games fall short of it and in so many ways. Sure, the new games are pretty and the combat is sometimes more exciting but they lose in nearly every other aspect.

Edit: I thought I was replying to the other post he made on this topic. I would have just deleted this but I doubt anyone will read it at this point anyways.

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