Jump to content

Storytelling In Videosgames

K.os Theory

Recommended Posts

So talking to my better half tonite,


we were discussing stories in entertainment ( movies to be exact ). She mentioned that I never tell/talk to her about the stories that occur in videogames that I've played, but I'm more than happy to argue the ins and outs of movies/books until the cows come home. So I thought :


"videogames are again in the spotlight, maybe we should be discussing the stories behind the games, rather than the mechanics and graphics?"


I'm interested to see how you guys view videogames as an authentic method of story-telling?


What games would you class as having "proper" storylines? You know the kinds that take you on a proper journey/give you that book/movie experience...


for me?


I loved half-life, it started as a "John Mclain" story that was made even more amazing as "I" had to make up all the vocabulary ( of the main character )and I discovered what was happening in "Black Mesa". That game took me on a real journey...


I found the sequel and subsequent "episodes" were almost seperate to the initial story but still amazing in their own right ( reminded me of the Tripods for some reason ), building a real tangible world and instilling real feelings of loneliness and impedending "DOOM".


The Modern Warfare series has also been fantastic, although not what I'd call "intelligent" but as stories go they're proper pacey ( kind of like a James Rollins book ;) ) and I've got to admit that the scene near the end of MW2 with Ghost and Roach will be long remembered by me ( more so that the airport scene ) :( ..


I suppose one of the questions has to be, do you play for the sake of the story or just for the sake of playing?


( Edited just to say, i've not taken too much time thinking of games that offer fantastic stories, just 2 that spring to mind )


please discuss...



Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Modern Warfare series has also been fantastic, although not what I'd call "intelligent" but as stories go they're proper pacey ( kind of like a James Rollins book ;) ) and I've got to admit that the scene near the end of MW2 with Ghost and Roach will be long remembered by me ( more so that the airport scene ) :( ..


For me the storyline on Gears so far has been fantastic.


You pick up the 1st one with Marcus being freed from prison after being jailed for treason.As you progress through the first one details emerge about his past ( the artwork book in the special edition talks about the Coalition Of Governments - COG , the pendulum wars , emergence day etc.. ) Marcus is tainted by his past , and by things Adam Fenix ( his father ) has perhaps done.As you come into the 2nd one , you go through places like the Lab where the sires are , the security around the lab is tight , what was going on there that was so secret ? What was Adam Fenix involved in ? After the sinking of Jacinto what will happen to mankind ? Why are the Locust hellbent on destroying the Lambent ? Where did the Locust come from , was Adam Fenix involved in their creation ? Who is the Locust Queen ? Why does Adam Fenix say what he does at the end of Gears 2. Is Adam Fenix still alive ?


As regards MW2 the story had me all the way through , I disagree with you on the airport level , it is awesome , however the ending is superb , the deceit of Shephard the treachery of his actions , thoroughly captivated me.Definitely going to be a MW3 and if it raises the bar as much as MW2 has it should be another absolute epic campaign from IW.


Quite a few friends who have played the MGS series say that the story from MGS 1 through to MGS 4 is amazing.I have never played Metal Gear Solid but their enthusiasm for it is very infectious.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My favourite game storylines are the ones where the narrative is delivered through gameplay rather than cutscenes. These make the most of the unique aspects of games over movies and books. For example, the Portal story is delivered subtly, not just through what the communications system says to you but through the grafitti on the walls in hidden areas that appear to be 'outside' the levels, and through the changing nature of the tasks you perform. Brilliant stuff.


Bioshocks similar, you find tapes and recordings that explain what happened as you move through, but you can also change the outcome of the game through the moral choice of sacrificing the little sisters to enhance your power, or saving them.


The daddy of this style of play though has to be System Shock 2. Way ahead of it's time, the game play is fully immersed in the story, finding snippets, seeing evidence of the struggle that happened there before your arrival in what's left behind, absolutely amazing stuff for the observant.


Big fan of RPG's too, though they're usually just about tonnes of dialog. Planescape Torment was particularly strong, huge amounts of dialog and background reading in a massive game, but a gripping original story, and the Nameless has got to be the best game character of all time.


Quick nod to squaresoft, who didn't cry when aries died?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

System Shock 2

Mass Effect

Gears of War

Neverwinter Nights

Ghost Recon

Rainbow Six

Fallout 3

Star Wars: Dark Forces Jedi Knight

The Halo Series

Knights of the Old Republic Series (not so much 2 though)



Just the few that I could think of just now. All of these games to me have had stories that have drawn me wanting to know what would happen next and understand the relationships between the characters.


Oh and shot some more aliens in the face.


I'm dead excited for Mass Effect 2 in January. I've heard rumours that the new game will actually analyze your save games from the first installment and alter the game flow depending on the decisions you made (which characters you saved, which enemies you spared etc..)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Depends on the title, I love old fashion classic style games from when they had no real story (although they tried to have a silly back story in the manuals).


But the only games I really complete are ones that have a story that grips me enough to want to find out more. Often these fall into the more on rails category of game, I don't like the multiple story idea of gaming, only from the point, that I'll be buggered if I'm going to play it again differently just to find out another angle on the same story.


There aren't many games out there I would say have a truly gripping storyline imo.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Agree single player is waaayyyy too short.


I'd love to see someone come out with a good engrossing single player FPS. I haven't experienced one since Bioshock


how bout :


Half Life

Half Life 2

Half Life 2 ( ep. 1 )

Half Life 2 ( ep.2 )


" episode 3 should be out in 2010 "


edited to add Portal...




Dead Space ( underrated story imho )



I'm with Slim on this, I'd rather an amazing "linear" experience (that gives me a brilliant story over the course of maybe 6-8hours), rather than having to sit/play through useless levels that are just there to "pad" ( see GTA 4 for prime examples; keeping your friends happy anyone?!?! ) out the story for another 5 or so hours...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The older games had more of a story than they do now, way back when the PS1 came out, there were a few that still stand out today:


Tomb Raider... As the series expanded there seemed to be less storyline and more puzzles but with the first 2 I was genuinely excited to progress with the story and find out more.


Resident Evil - Remember the very first time you played it? "We suggest for the best playing experience you turn off all the lights".. screw that! I felt they put more story into RE2 though, which I played endless times to see the story / alternate story for each character. But the first one played out much like a movie, and for the time was presented brilliantly.


FF7 - Aeris getting killed had me hooked, until then I wasnt sure if Final Fantasy was for me. Completing it I actually felt it was the closest a game has been to a book or movie for telling a story. Never did enjoy 8, 9 or 10 as much, and I've not played the newest ones.


Nothing much else springs to mind between then and Half Life, have to agree they were on the ball there. Never played Half Life 2 though.


Elder Scrolls - Morrowind and Oblivion had some degree of a story, but they both relied on telling it through quests mostly, there wasnt much else, except for the feeling that you really did go on an adventure.


Neverwinter Nights was a good one, not the greatest of stories and perhaps a little bit dragged out if you get side-tracked by all the non-storyline quests.


More recently I'd have to say Fable 2, it has a similar feel to FF7 but with the freedom to craft your own story to tell.


I like the Call of Duty story modes, but they all seem too short. But (I haven't played MW2 yet) they're all believable and you could easily forget your in a game at some points.


GTA series is probably top of my list though, Vice City was the only exception as it never really played out as fluently as the rest have done. 3 and San Andreas seemed to have a lot of storyline whereas 4 is in a class of its own. Hopefully they wont tarnish the GTA series like a lot of other games and try to make a movie out of it.


None of these compare to the real classics though, those games way back when that were all story.. Monkey Island? Broken Sword? Masterpieces. I doubt they could be recreated these days, point 'n' click is now aim and fire, shoot and score or even brake before and accelerate through.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Donkey Kong was based on all of the obstacles people throw at us and we have to face in life, our inbuilt willingness to help damsels in distress, provided excellent advice on using the right type of ladder - all whilst proving that if you worked hard in life and persisted you would be rewarded with a bonus.


Other than a life-long fear of bananas, I learned much from that story.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I always felt that the Silent Hill series was pretty strong in terms of story telling, with two and three standing out particularly in my memory. Fallout three was also pretty good as well, probably one of the best stories for any of the games I've recently played.


Also, I have to say that, having just picked it up, Arma 2 is pretty good for an FPS. I would put it higher than CoD, which is just plain silly - fun, but basically just a three dimensional Operation Wolf with a watered down Tom Clancy wannabe story.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...