Why do people care so much about storylines?

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if you know me, you know I like JRPGs a LOT, and you know that I like my stories to be set-in-stone

however what I dont get is why people care so so much about storylines in games. I hear so many complaints about characters being annoying, or voice acting being bad, but I never notice any of that stuff. Its a lot less common that people complain about the actual gameplay of these games. It seems to me as though people have lost grasp of what a "game" is... its about the challenges, the skill requirements, the decisions, the rewards, the punishments etc. But I always hear people complain about "emo characters" and stuff... like for example, people say that Cloud is "emo", can't say i've ever noticed, and even if i did then what difference does it make?

you PLAY GAMES for the GAMEPLAY.

I've heard people say that people play JRPGs for the storylines cause their gameplay is limited. To me this was a huge "wtf?" moment, cause I always played JRPGs for their expansive gameplay elements and not their stories.

I just dont get it

Well...

hmm...

Well, people want more than gameplay. They want a rich, original, immersive story because it adds interest, drama, and tension to the game. Many people (above the age of 16, anyways) don't want to play the ol' classic CnP "Click to Shoot X", because its just been done more times that popular hooker on your street block.

Also, stories in games are important because they are a relatively brand new media that can tell a story that has the fun of a well-written book and a dramatic movie that you can control.

The "good" games, anyways.

Storylines make games interesting and give motivation to play through.

Depth. That is all.

TheFacelessOne:
Well...

hmm...

Well, people want more than gameplay. They want a rich, original, immersive story because it adds interest, drama, and tension to the game. Many people (above the age of 16, anyways) don't want to play the ol' classic CnP "Click to Shoot X", because its just been done more times that popular hooker on your street block.

well I want a rich experience aswell, like I said, I like RPGs, I like to use strategy and leveling up and all that jazz. I just dont see how stories make games so much better all of a sudden... I agree that good stories are better than bad stories, I would rather the story be good than bad, but I just dont get why people see storyline as one of the biggest gameplay experiences

Jaranja:
Storylines make games interesting and give motivation to play through.

thats only ever happened to me once, on Dragon Quest VIII, otherwise what pushes me are the rewards and challenges that lie ahead

Gameplay is good and all, but the 'playing' part all revolves around a story & plot/setting.

With little/no story there's literally no point in playing. the gameplay becomes meaningless & boring. Not only is there no incentive to do anything, but people would just sit there thinking "well why the hell am I doing this?"

With no storyline, the plot doesn't move. There is no interest.

kampori:
Gameplay is good and all, but the 'playing' part all revolves around a story & plot/setting.

With little/no story there's literally no point in playing. the gameplay becomes meaningless & boring. Not only is there no incentive to do anything, but people would just sit there thinking "well why the hell am I doing this?"

With no storyline, the plot doesn't move. There is no interest.

I strongly disagree

I like to know the reasons for what i'm doing in games.

Jaranja:
Storylines make games interesting and give motivation to play through.

Kinda like a carrot dangling in front of you!.

Its weird how difficult it is in putting gameplay mechanics into another form of media to give it substance in terms of discussion value, like with films, lets take Die Hard 4.0... you don't watch it for its engrossing story but rather to watch Bruce Willis "Kill a Copta with a car". Now lets take Shawshank Redemption, I'm dismayed to say there isn't a single copta death in that film but the story more than makes up for it.

So what I'm saying is storyline isn't always important providing there are good gameplay mechanics/HeliCopta deaths to make up for the hollow insipid ness of it all.

DugMachine:
I like to know the reasons for what i'm doing in games.

the reason I play games is cause they're fun

Velocity Eleven:

TheFacelessOne:
Well...

hmm...

Well, people want more than gameplay. They want a rich, original, immersive story because it adds interest, drama, and tension to the game. Many people (above the age of 16, anyways) don't want to play the ol' classic CnP "Click to Shoot X", because its just been done more times that popular hooker on your street block.

well I want a rich experience aswell, like I said, I like RPGs, I like to use strategy and leveling up and all that jazz. I just dont see how stories make games so much better all of a sudden... I agree that good stories are better than bad stories, I would rather the story be good than bad, but I just dont get why people see storyline as one of the biggest gameplay experiences

Because it adds motivation for you...like, let's imagine that a game has no storyline, or at least one that isn't attractive or interesting.

If the storyline doesn't keeped you hooked onto the game, doesn't keep you wanting to know what's at the end and thus making you play more, then the game has no motivation. Sure, you might finish it because of those danged achievements, but that's it. A good game will keep you playing because you want to see the end for the end, not for some achievement or just solely for the feeling of accomplishment.

Now, you can argue that some games can have no story and get away with it (Damn you, Peggle!) but those don't count as they are mostly arcade types.

Velocity Eleven:

you PLAY GAMES for the GAMEPLAY.

I've heard people say that people play JRPGs for the storylines cause their gameplay is limited. To me this was a huge "wtf?" moment, cause I always played JRPGs for their expansive gameplay elements and not their stories.

I just dont get it

The thing is, there's more to it then that. I like good stories no matter the format ( Game, movie, book ) but due to the interactivity of gaming, it's far easier to get immersed in the experience and the story they're trying to tell. It adds another level to the experience in my opinion.

Yeah when I was an eight year old kid and all I knew about video game storytelling was "Sorry Mario, your princess is in another castle", then I didn't care so much. But then you have developers like Valve, Bioware, Obsidian pushing the bar for storytelling in games, and yeah, it's something I look for now as an adult. It's just a great way to tell a story that a film just can't do.

Then on the other hand, anyone who's played through Silent Hill 2 and the Final Fantasy Series will know what I mean when I say I've put up with some very annoying gameplay mechanics because I liked the story that was going on and I had gotten into it. To be fair, you're not the only person I've spoken with who likes the JRPG elements solely for their own sake, ( For my part, I don't get it ). I always feel like I need an encyclopedia just to make the most of it.

It doesn't have to be one or the other. IMO, the best games are ones that can work gameplay and story together. The story is mostly there to make you care, to give you context for wanting to put yourself through the dungeon crawls and such.

Velocity Eleven:

DugMachine:
I like to know the reasons for what i'm doing in games.

the reason I play games is cause they're fun

He means...

Say your character was told to go beat up a pillar who was stealing this arch's lunch money.

Now, say the arch just told you to beat up the pillar, and forget the lunch money part.

It adds no reason as to why you're beating up a poor pillar! Poor pillar...

I guess it all comes down to opinion? How hard is it to figure out that people like a story? Shit.

I've played pretty much every single genre in depth, and gameplay mechanics no longer surprise or challenge me. If I want to play Mindless Shooter 1137561387, why not just play Mindless Shooter 82526572? I mean, they're both mindless shooters with the same gameplay.

So I play for the story, where there's differentiation between games.

Seriously, this is like asking why Transformers 2 isn't considered better than Citizen Kane.

TheFacelessOne:

Velocity Eleven:

TheFacelessOne:
Well...

hmm...

Well, people want more than gameplay. They want a rich, original, immersive story because it adds interest, drama, and tension to the game. Many people (above the age of 16, anyways) don't want to play the ol' classic CnP "Click to Shoot X", because its just been done more times that popular hooker on your street block.

well I want a rich experience aswell, like I said, I like RPGs, I like to use strategy and leveling up and all that jazz. I just dont see how stories make games so much better all of a sudden... I agree that good stories are better than bad stories, I would rather the story be good than bad, but I just dont get why people see storyline as one of the biggest gameplay experiences

Because it adds motivation for you...like, let's imagine that a game has no storyline, or at least one that isn't attractive or interesting.

If the storyline doesn't keeped you hooked onto the game, doesn't keep you wanting to know what's at the end and thus making you play more, then the game has no motivation. Sure, you might finish it because of those danged achievements, but that's it. A good game will keep you playing because you want to see the end for the end, not for some achievement or just solely for the feeling of accomplishment.

Now, you can argue that some games can have no story and get away with it (Damn you, Peggle!) but those don't count as they are mostly arcade types.

when you say "but that's it" you make it sound as if the accomplishments are small and insignificant. What I am saying is that I disagree with that, to me the accomplishments are the greatest reason to complete the challenges (along with the reward for doing so)... now seeing "the end" of the game, as in the final cutscene or whatever is rewarding (to me) because watching it is a signifier that the game has been completed

ColdStorage:

Jaranja:
Storylines make games interesting and give motivation to play through.

Kinda like a carrot dangling in front of you!.

Its weird how difficult it is in putting gameplay mechanics into another form of media to give it substance in terms of discussion value, like with films, lets take Die Hard 4.0... you don't watch it for its engrossing story but rather to watch Bruce Willis "Kill a Copta with a car". Now lets take Shawshank Redemption, I'm dismayed to say there isn't a single copta death in that film but the story more than makes up for it.

So what I'm saying is storyline isn't always important providing there are good gameplay mechanics/HeliCopta deaths to make up for the hollow insipid ness of it all.

I don't know if I can agree with that completely. Yes, the action bits are alot of fun, but honestly, I find myself watching Die Hard 4.0 because I like John McClane, the character is alot of fun for me to watch, which is more story then strictly the action. Not like there aren't plenty of other big budget action movies out there to watch, but Willis playing McClane is always a good show.

Some people don't only play games for gameplay. Sometimes you want to play Saints Row 2 and just run around killing everyone, but sometimes you actually want to hear a good story. Sometimes you can even sacrifice good gameplay for a story.

Some people do some people don't. I think story is very important for single player games but for me it's all about how the story is told. If there's an over abundance of CG movies, I am generally turned off. However, if it is told from the perspective of your character then I think there's a lot of good potential in story.

kampori:
Gameplay is good and all, but the 'playing' part all revolves around a story & plot/setting.

With little/no story there's literally no point in playing. the gameplay becomes meaningless & boring. Not only is there no incentive to do anything, but people would just sit there thinking "well why the hell am I doing this?"

With no storyline, the plot doesn't move. There is no interest.

I think your taking it a little too far. I can understand that stories (good ones) do a lot to immerse you in the game (that's what they are for to begin with) but I'm sure that even you have played dozens of enjoyable games with little to no story line to follow. There are other numerous ways to keep the player immersed without the aid of a narrative.

TheFacelessOne:

Velocity Eleven:

DugMachine:
I like to know the reasons for what i'm doing in games.

the reason I play games is cause they're fun

He means...

Say your character was told to go beat up a pillar who was stealing this arch's lunch money.

Now, say the arch just told you to beat up the pillar, and forget the lunch money part.

It adds no reason as to why you're beating up a poor pillar! Poor pillar...

I don't mind, it's the same pillar... same difficulty, same methods, same rewards

Angerwing:
I guess it all comes down to opinion? How hard is it to figure out that people like a story? Shit.

I've played pretty much every single genre in depth, and gameplay mechanics no longer surprise or challenge me. If I want to play Mindless Shooter 1137561387, why not just play Mindless Shooter 82526572? I mean, they're both mindless shooters with the same gameplay.

So I play for the story, where there's differentiation between games.

Seriously, this is like asking why Transformers 2 isn't considered better than Citizen Kane.

well i generally dont like shooters, which is why i dont play them

To use an analogy, (gotta fill the quota) some people like movies where it's all about the action, or the comedy, or things like that. Others like movies where it's about the characters, and emotions and have meaning. I like both, but not really at the same time because then it tends to be not as good at either.

This trend carries over to gaming pretty much the same.

Ironic Pirate:
To use an analogy, (gotta fill the quota) some people like movies where it's all about the action, or the comedy, or things like that. Others like movies where it's about the characters, and emotions and have meaning. I like both, but not really at the same time because then it tends to be not as good at either.

This trend carries over to gaming pretty much the same.

I think when it comes to films and TV programmes and such then the storyline is important, because it's the main feature of the medium

Well, gameplay may be the sole reasob why you play through games, but not everybody plays games the same way. I for one, rarely play games for merely gameplay. Otherwise I think puzzle games like Tetris and Peggle would take up a lot more of my gameplaying time then they do now.

I could not play an RPG that was just a mechanism for leveling and finding loot. I am particularly unwilling to play RPGs for the gameplay alone. Gameplay can certainly help if the leveling system is unique and interesting, but after about 15 hours of playing the same game, I've mastered that gameplay. There is going to have to be something else to draw me through to the finish.

If you are genuinely interested in why different people play games, you might want to check out the excellent book A Theory of Fun for Game Design by Raph Koster. It is a quick read that you might find interesting.

I play most games for the story alone as opposed to the gameplay. Mass Effect 1 was an okay game, the shooter and exploration elements in the first one were generally average, but the story was epic, and it was the story that made me play through the game 6 times.

Some people will enjoy stories, and enjoy being a part of them and shaping the way they progress by their own actions, it's not for everyone, but then neither is your approach, opinions differ from person to person. Still if you're going to question everyones opinion that differs from your own you'll spend a bloody long time doing it, but I do hope you find it enjoyable while you do.

Some stories are about story, some are about gameplay.

It never hurts to have a good story - and with most game mechanics becoming as common as they are the story can become the driving factor.

Although i think game design is a factor that a lot of people ignore and is a lot more important.
You can have 2 games with the same mechanics, but what matters is which is designed better. That should be considered before you bring the story into it.

meganmeave:
Well, gameplay may be the sole reasob why you play through games, but not everybody plays games the same way. I for one, rarely play games for merely gameplay. Otherwise I think puzzle games like Tetris and Peggle would take up a lot more of my gameplaying time then they do now.

I could not play an RPG that was just a mechanism for leveling and finding loot. I am particularly unwilling to play RPGs for the gameplay alone. Gameplay can certainly help if the leveling system is unique and interesting, but after about 15 hours of playing the same game, I've mastered that gameplay. There is going to have to be something else to draw me through to the finish.

If you are genuinely interested in why different people play games, you might want to check out the excellent book A Theory of Fun for Game Design by Raph Koster. It is a quick read that you might find interesting.

I will look that up when i have the time... I remember reading something by him before and liking it... I referenced it for one of my assignments

Even if people don't care about stories, annoying characters and bad voice acting are still a detriment to the game's quality. Most of the games that I have played do not have skippable cutscenes, and they are almost always too short to do something else, but long enough to have bad voice acting and/or annoying characters become grating. Plot may not matter, but the game is doing something wrong if characters just get on your nerves.

Velocity Eleven:
*snip*

Why do you assume that liking gameplay and liking story is mutually exclusive? Did it ever occur to you that people might like both? OF COURSE gameplay is important. If it's crap, then no amount of story can make the game good. However, good gameplay can be enhanced by a good story by providing more depth and deeper immersion, as well as an overall richer experience.

Next, did it ever occur to you that people might like different things than you do? Maybe you couldn't care less about the story, but you can't honestly expect everyone to be the same as you?

A good story keeps me playing, keeps my attention.

They mix up location and make the player question characters.

Velocity Eleven:

you PLAY GAMES for the GAMEPLAY.

Then you sir are lacking a full gaming expierence and havecome across as quite arrogant.

RidleyValiant:
I play most games for the story alone as opposed to the gameplay. Mass Effect 1 was an okay game, the shooter and exploration elements in the first one were generally average, but the story was epic, and it was the story that made me play through the game 6 times.

Some people will enjoy stories, and enjoy being a part of them and shaping the way they progress by their own actions, it's not for everyone, but then neither is your approach, opinions differ from person to person. Still if you're going to question everyones opinion that differs from your own you'll spend a bloody long time doing it, but I do hope you find it enjoyable while you do.

questioning oppinions is good, I wouldn't mind other people questioning mine... asking questions and discussing is how we find answers

Jandau:

Velocity Eleven:
*snip*

Why do you assume that liking gameplay and liking story is mutually exclusive? Did it ever occur to you that people might like both? OF COURSE gameplay is important. If it's crap, then no amount of story can make the game good. However, good gameplay can be enhanced by a good story by providing more depth and deeper immersion, as well as an overall richer experience.

Next, did it ever occur to you that people might like different things than you do? Maybe you couldn't care less about the story, but you can't honestly expect everyone to be the same as you?

I dont expect everyone to be like me, that would be silly... I'm just confused as to why storyline is as made as important as it is

LordCuthberton:
A good story keeps me playing, keeps my attention.

They mix up location and make the player question characters.

Velocity Eleven:

you PLAY GAMES for the GAMEPLAY.

Then you sir are lacking a full gaming expierence and havecome across as quite arrogant.

a "full gaming experience" is subjective

irishstormtrooper:
Even if people don't care about stories, annoying characters and bad voice acting are still a detriment to the game's quality. Most of the games that I have played do not have skippable cutscenes, and they are almost always too short to do something else, but long enough to have bad voice acting and/or annoying characters become grating. Plot may not matter, but the game is doing something wrong if characters just get on your nerves.

I understand how unskippable cutscenes are annoying, I agree there... I also think unpausable cutscenes are worse

also, I want to make this clear that its not that i dislike stories at all... I never skip cutscenes unless Ive seen them before, I do enjoy story, but it's just the reason as to why they are put so high on a pedestal that I do not understand (in the context of games)

Games are a lot more than just gameplay these days, they're an experience. Even the best game can be partially ruined when the storyline is bad, or the music is awful, it's an entire experience meant to immerse you into the entire game.

Some games have amazing stories, while certainly never better than gameplay, it does make a good game better. It's like graphics, no one will deny gameplay>graphics, but no one wants to play a game with terrible graphics.

Valeran:
Games are a lot more than just gameplay these days, they're an experience. Even the best game can be partially ruined when the storyline is bad, or the music is awful, it's an entire experience meant to immerse you into the entire game.

Some games have amazing stories, while certainly never better than gameplay, it does make a good game better. It's like graphics, no one will deny gameplay>graphics, but no one wants to play a game with terrible graphics.

i agree with that

YOU play games for the gameplay.

For me, a game has to have DAMN good gameplay to have a crappy story. Bayonetta is a good example, and even with its STELLAR gameplay the story and cheesyness is enough to make me want to shoot myself in the face instead of playing.

Tetris doesnt have much of a story, but its gameplay is probably one of the most famous things in the world.

It is possible to make games to cater to a lot of different audiences. If I'm gonna play a single player game it better tell a good story or I'll lose interest pretty fast.

Gameplay is most important for non-rpgs. Back in the day all you really had WAS gameplay (ie Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, etc)

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