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Posted by Dizazter (83 posts) -

 

I’ve noticed more and more over the years that gamers and some reviewers seem to judge the worth of a game based on “the story”. For some reason, I think the story because a simple thing for people to focus on. But I’m of the opinion that story is not what video games are about, they’re about the gameplay. Story is secondary. And it’s fair to say that different gamers play different games for different reasons. But – if you’re only playing a game for the story, I think you’re missing the point.

An example:

Game A has absolutely amazing gameplay, but the story is terrible. Game A is still enjoyable.

Game B has terrible gameplay, but an absolutely amazing story. Game B is a nightmare to play.

See? Story can “add” to the fun of gameplay, but it is no replacement, yet a game can still be fun in spite of a terrible story IF the gameplay is good enough. As games focus more and more on story, what seems to happen is that they’re competing with movies. Which to me, leaves video games horribly outgunned. Movies will always have much better stories, acting and cinematography, because they don’t have to be concerned with gameplay, and everything is pre-rendered. So to me, if a great story is what you’re looking for, you need to go see a great movie, actually much better yet, read a good book.

Here’s a good analogy: race cars. It is like saying your main thing you like about a good race car is how it looks. YES – many race cars are gorgeous looking, and that’s great and all. But they are designed to go fast and handle corners, looking pretty is secondary. If what you care about most is how it looks, there’s no point in spending hundreds of thousands or even millions on engineering to make it go insanely fast, and have great handling. You can just go get yourself a scale model of a prettier car. But saying that the focus of the race car should be it’s looks, will make it lose races. Everyone likes seeing a gorgeous race car win, but does anyone care about the amazingly gorgeous race care that game in 12?

One big factor for me about how fun a game is, is its replayability. And let’s be honest, if story is the main thing, how many times are you gonna want to go through the same story? I’m not saying it impossible, there’s certainly movies I’ve seen half a dozen times. But 40+ hour games? Not something I’d see myself doing multiple times to relive a story I already know what is gonna happen.

Look at classic games. The stories are non-existent or laughable. Pac man? Donkey Kong? Pit Fall? Any story for these games could be described in probably 2 sentences max. Did that make them bad games? Nope – they had great gameplay and were highly replayable.

And I think the problem is, that for video games, we need to not focus on “the story”, instead focus on “the experience”, which in fact, is the story that is unique to each gamer who plays the game. Video games are an interactive media, focusing on a linear story takes away from that. And this coming up with 20 different endings is a band aid measure, slapped on at the end when you realize, oh crap, everyone who plays this has the exact same experience, why in the hell would anyone play this more than once? Problem solved!!!: Multiple endings!!! (+100 to *weak*)

Something else besides gameplay I feel is more important than the story: environment. The actual game world you’re in. To me, if it is a pointless, boring, rehashed, cookie-cutter looking place, where I really don’t give a crap about what is around the next corner, it doesn’t matter how good the story is. But an amazing environment, which is exciting to explore, can really compensate for a bad/nonexistent story. This is where games prevail over movies. Movies don’t really have an environment, they have a set, which is recorded once, and never changes. Video games however, can have an interactive, exploreable, changing environment. The success of minecraft is a good example of this.

#1 Posted by Dizazter (83 posts) -

 

I’ve noticed more and more over the years that gamers and some reviewers seem to judge the worth of a game based on “the story”. For some reason, I think the story because a simple thing for people to focus on. But I’m of the opinion that story is not what video games are about, they’re about the gameplay. Story is secondary. And it’s fair to say that different gamers play different games for different reasons. But – if you’re only playing a game for the story, I think you’re missing the point.

An example:

Game A has absolutely amazing gameplay, but the story is terrible. Game A is still enjoyable.

Game B has terrible gameplay, but an absolutely amazing story. Game B is a nightmare to play.

See? Story can “add” to the fun of gameplay, but it is no replacement, yet a game can still be fun in spite of a terrible story IF the gameplay is good enough. As games focus more and more on story, what seems to happen is that they’re competing with movies. Which to me, leaves video games horribly outgunned. Movies will always have much better stories, acting and cinematography, because they don’t have to be concerned with gameplay, and everything is pre-rendered. So to me, if a great story is what you’re looking for, you need to go see a great movie, actually much better yet, read a good book.

Here’s a good analogy: race cars. It is like saying your main thing you like about a good race car is how it looks. YES – many race cars are gorgeous looking, and that’s great and all. But they are designed to go fast and handle corners, looking pretty is secondary. If what you care about most is how it looks, there’s no point in spending hundreds of thousands or even millions on engineering to make it go insanely fast, and have great handling. You can just go get yourself a scale model of a prettier car. But saying that the focus of the race car should be it’s looks, will make it lose races. Everyone likes seeing a gorgeous race car win, but does anyone care about the amazingly gorgeous race care that game in 12?

One big factor for me about how fun a game is, is its replayability. And let’s be honest, if story is the main thing, how many times are you gonna want to go through the same story? I’m not saying it impossible, there’s certainly movies I’ve seen half a dozen times. But 40+ hour games? Not something I’d see myself doing multiple times to relive a story I already know what is gonna happen.

Look at classic games. The stories are non-existent or laughable. Pac man? Donkey Kong? Pit Fall? Any story for these games could be described in probably 2 sentences max. Did that make them bad games? Nope – they had great gameplay and were highly replayable.

And I think the problem is, that for video games, we need to not focus on “the story”, instead focus on “the experience”, which in fact, is the story that is unique to each gamer who plays the game. Video games are an interactive media, focusing on a linear story takes away from that. And this coming up with 20 different endings is a band aid measure, slapped on at the end when you realize, oh crap, everyone who plays this has the exact same experience, why in the hell would anyone play this more than once? Problem solved!!!: Multiple endings!!! (+100 to *weak*)

Something else besides gameplay I feel is more important than the story: environment. The actual game world you’re in. To me, if it is a pointless, boring, rehashed, cookie-cutter looking place, where I really don’t give a crap about what is around the next corner, it doesn’t matter how good the story is. But an amazing environment, which is exciting to explore, can really compensate for a bad/nonexistent story. This is where games prevail over movies. Movies don’t really have an environment, they have a set, which is recorded once, and never changes. Video games however, can have an interactive, exploreable, changing environment. The success of minecraft is a good example of this.

#2 Posted by FlyingRat (1445 posts) -

Opinions, opinions.

#3 Posted by Vorbis (2748 posts) -

It's entirely genre specific, I'll take good story over good gameplay on RPGs any day, but on a shooter? Other way around.

#4 Posted by AlexW00d (6062 posts) -
@FlyingRat said:
" Opinions, opinions. "
#5 Posted by kratier (223 posts) -

Whats with the children who reply "opinions opinions" nowadays, is that the new meme for people who can't retort? is umad too old now to be edgey?
 Of course it is his opinion, and this is a messageboard where you post your opinions.

#6 Posted by CptPanda29 (189 posts) -

Bad gameplay is so jarring it will rip me out of any story. 
 
If it sucks to play I'll just say "I don't want to play this game any more." 
  
It'd be easier to animate a short movie that program and entire game. Badly. 

#7 Posted by Azteck (7447 posts) -

I really couldn't disagree with you more. Story goes a hell of a lot longer than gameplay in my book. Obviously the game has to be playable for this to be the case, but if it isn't then the game just isn't worth it anyway.

#8 Posted by FlyingRat (1445 posts) -
@kratier said:
" Whats with the children who reply "opinions opinions" nowadays, is that the new meme for people who can't retort? is umad too old now to be edgey?  Of course it is his opinion, and this is a messageboard where you post your opinions. "
Since you can't reply directly to said children, i guess i'll reply to you instead. I have simply grown sick and tired of people on the internet claiming their opinion to be fact. I know it's an opinion, you... seem to know it's an opinion, but reading what the guy wrote, he clearly does not.
#9 Posted by kratier (223 posts) -

I dont think you know how to retort, that's why you posted the typical 2 word response manchildren tend to rely on nowadays

#10 Posted by XenoNick (1368 posts) -

Honestly I have to fully disagree. Story does so much more for keeping me hooked in a game. That may be since all I played as a kid was RPGS so I'm always up for story.
Not saying a game with great story and bad gameplay is good either.

#11 Posted by FlyingRat (1445 posts) -
@kratier said:
" I dont think you know how to retort, that's why you posted the typical 2 word response manchildren tend to rely on nowadays "
You on the other hand, come across as extremely mature.
#12 Posted by kishan6 (1914 posts) -
@Dizazter: Quite true but i will probly remember Deadly Premonition more than i will remember Bulletstorm 
 
probly because of how ridiculous the characters were and the story 
I havent thought of DP in like 2 months and i still have vivid memories of Agent Francis York Morgan talking to his Coffee 
However i couldnt really tell you that much about Dead Rising 2 even though i had a total blast playing the game
#13 Posted by FateOfNever (1758 posts) -

You're looking at a very narrow definition of what video games are if you think story doesn't matter to them.

#14 Posted by Juno500 (381 posts) -

I pretty much ignore stories in games universally. Don't really like any of them.

#15 Posted by Sammo21 (3031 posts) -
@kishan6:   Well, that isn't exactly because Deadly Premonition has a good, decent, average, or even subpar story...its downright terrible.  You remember it because of how out there it is, not because of its quality.
 
Story is important to certain games and not others.  I could care less if a fighting game has a story at all.  I could care more if a 3rd person action game has a story.  The more gamers try and say "it doesn't matter" the more stagnant our hobby becomes.  If thats the case, Dizazter (which sounds like, and has the literary prowess, of a gangster rapper) we would only be playing Wii mini game collections.
#16 Posted by Bloodgraiv3 (2712 posts) -
@CptPanda29 said:
"Bad gameplay is so jarring it will rip me out of any story.  If it sucks to play I'll just say "I don't want to play this game any more."   It'd be easier to animate a short movie that program and entire game. Badly.  "

Hate to bring this up, but Deadly Premonition played terribbly yet the story kept me hooked.
#17 Posted by Napalm (9020 posts) -
@Vorbis said:
" It's entirely genre specific, I'll take good story over good gameplay on RPGs any day, but on a shooter? Other way around. "
/thread
#18 Posted by Helgi (79 posts) -

  I think this video is relevant here.

#19 Posted by MooseyMcMan (9767 posts) -

Deadly Premonition was my game of the year last year, despite horrible gameplay. A good story can MORE than make up for bad gameplay. 

#20 Posted by Aus_azn (2224 posts) -

I can tolerate mediocre gameplay for a good story, re: Lost Odyssey.
 
I cannot tolerate good gameplay with a lousy story, re: Final Fantasy XIII, BlOps campaign.

#21 Posted by Juno500 (381 posts) -

I don't think I can honestly say I've played a single game that I felt had a compelling and well-written story. Really I think the subject is pretty much irrelevant to me.

#22 Posted by mikeeegeee (1534 posts) -
@Napalm said:
" @Vorbis said:
" It's entirely genre specific, I'll take good story over good gameplay on RPGs any day, but on a shooter? Other way around. "
/thread "
This, and a good story can take a good game and elevate it to greatness. I'd argue that Red Dead Redemption had good gameplay and a great story. Having a good or great story is not requisite to having a good game. If it plays well, it'll get by. But in today's world, where the medium is improving such that stories can be more cinematic and complex, to see uniquely interesting and engaging stories is an undeniable plus.
#23 Posted by Dizazter (83 posts) -
@FlyingRat said:

" @kratier said:
Since you can't reply directly to said children, i guess i'll reply to you instead. I have simply grown sick and tired of people on the internet claiming their opinion to be fact. I know it's an opinion, you... seem to know it's an opinion, but reading what the guy wrote, he clearly does not. "

Blog = opinion. 
It's not an encyclopedia or a history book. There's still people that don't know this? Come on.
But I countlessly say in here, "I think", "I'm of the opinion" or "to me...." etc. 
Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but I don't think that's what he meant by "opinions, opinions" I think he meant "everyone has their own opinion on this".
#24 Posted by BaneFireLord (2878 posts) -

My issue is when a game that has good gameplay, but an awful story, tries to hype its story and it turns out terribly (re: COD, Killzone). If a game's story is incredible but is otherwise kind of broken, I'm fine with that, provided it isn't unplayably broken.

#25 Posted by Dizazter (83 posts) -
@Juno500 said:
" I don't think I can honestly say I've played a single game that I felt had a compelling and well-written story. Really I think the subject is pretty much irrelevant to me. "
I would tend to agree with you. Take the best story line in a video game ever made, and you can find 1000 movies with better stories, and 100,000 books.
#26 Posted by Dizazter (83 posts) -
@FateOfNever said:
" You're looking at a very narrow definition of what video games are if you think story doesn't matter to them. "
 I never said story doesn't matter. I simply said it's not THE MOST IMPORTANT part of a game.
#27 Posted by FateOfNever (1758 posts) -
@Dizazter said:
" @FateOfNever said:
" You're looking at a very narrow definition of what video games are if you think story doesn't matter to them. "
 I never said story doesn't matter. I simply said it's not THE MOST IMPORTANT part of a game. "
Well then, just take that part off and my statement still stands.   Though the statement works fine as is, as multiple times throughout your post you said that a game's story can be horrible or almost non-existent, or completely non-existent, which would mean to say - the story doesn't matter because the rest of it is good enough that the story is inconsequential to the experience.  While you do mention that story can have an effect, you still treat it as being probably the last thing a game should be concerned about.
 
For example - if your definition of 'video game' is Super Mario Bros. style platformer, fighting game, or FPS - you'd probably be right.  But to say that the game play is far more important in, say, an RPG or a sandbox-esque game like RDR, GTA4, or Deadly Premonition, then I would say you're wrong.  Does that mean that the game play doesn't matter either?  No, but it means in games like that, it doesn't matter HOW amazing your game play is if the person playing the game feels no reason to keep playing the game; and the best way to do that is through a compelling story.  It all depends on the KIND of game that you're playing when it comes down to it.
#28 Posted by Kjellm87 (1728 posts) -

A good story helps a game a long way, but not as much as gameplay.
Then again I'm a big fan of Ace Attorney, so I can see why some people find the story most important, 
 especially if you plan only one playthrough of the game

#29 Posted by Animasta (14460 posts) -

Whatever, I'm playing through Persona 2: Innocent Sin right now, and it's tough because the gameplay's so slow, but i'm doing it for the story
 
so OP your opinion is dumb

#30 Posted by Aetheldod (3343 posts) -

 I dont play games with bad story / good gameplay or great story/ bad gameplay , I play the ones with good story / good gameplay :P , for me both are highly important , reason why I dont play Mario , Zelda , sports ,racing ,  puzzle games , or at least I try to. But what makes a good gameplay or good story varies from person to person , but we all can agree that there are some very , very awfull games out there.
 
One more thing , sometimes I can spare the good story and substitute it with a good premise / concept i.e. Super Meat Boy

#31 Edited by ryanwho (12082 posts) -

Game stories are almost always dumb and are occasionally presented well. You don't need a good story in a game like you don't need it in an action movie, you just need good cadence from scene to scene so people don't get bored (like with Matrix 2's overlong action scenes). Its not rocket science. Anime weirdos who wanna think the struggle between Nobodys and Heartless with Disney characters is compelling narrative, well that's a marginal, small, opinion. We don't need more of that. We just need better pacing and cadence. God of War's dumb story works because you progress at a decent rate. Same reason the Star Trek reboot's dumb story works. You're having such a good time you don't realize how ridiculous it is that Kurk, Spock Prime, and Scotty all happen to be within a mile of each other on the same planet independent of each other in an infinite universe. And that's all you need to do. Keep people in the moment so they don't notice the dumb things you do to make your game mechanics work, to set up your setpieces, and make your conflict work.

#32 Posted by GetEveryone (4454 posts) -
@FlyingRat said:
" Opinions, opinions. "
Also: OP says a lot, manages to make very few, actual points.
#33 Posted by Octaslash (435 posts) -

 @FlyingRat said:

"Since you can't reply directly to said children, i guess i'll reply to you instead. I have simply grown sick and tired of people on the internet claiming their opinion to be fact. I know it's an opinion, you... seem to know it's an opinion, but reading what the guy wrote, he clearly does not. "

  Where did he state that his post was fact? What gave you the impression he doesn't know fact from opinion?
 
 He clearly (and needlessly) stated it was his opinion so idiots could distinguish it from fact.
#34 Edited by kingzetta (4307 posts) -
@kratier said:

" Whats with the children who reply "opinions opinions" nowadays, is that the new meme for people who can't retort? is umad too old now to be edgey?  Of course it is his opinion, and this is a messageboard where you post your opinions. "

The problem is everyone hates everyone else's opinion. Also No one on here is ever going to actually be swayed from their opinion.  So the only actual retort anyone can have is "Well that's your opinion." If you actually tried to put up a real retort, you'll have people saying "wah wah wah opinions can't be wrong." 
#35 Posted by kingzetta (4307 posts) -
@Juno500 said:
" I pretty much ignore stories in games universally. Don't really like any of them. "
Oh yeah I'm sure you played Persona 3 for the gameplay.
#36 Posted by Juno500 (381 posts) -
@kingzetta said:
" @Juno500 said:
" I pretty much ignore stories in games universally. Don't really like any of them. "
Oh yeah I'm sure you played Persona 3 for the gameplay. "
Actually  I did. And it's my favorite RPG ever.
#37 Posted by ProfessorEss (7123 posts) -

Just Cause 2 was my favourite game of last year.
 
...I think it's obvious where I stand.

#38 Posted by Entmoot (95 posts) -

I don't know if games should just have re playability and some rad GRAFIX.These notions keep the gaming world in the dingy pits of "a child's toy".

#39 Posted by BigLemon (1022 posts) -

From a story-telling point, the limitations of the medium have been very apparent over the last couple of decades. However, in the last few years, we have seen many developers get comfortable in their ability to turn out quality gameplay mechanics and art assets and shift the focus onto story-telling. To say that movies and books are intrinsically of a better-quality plot is just nonsense. Obviously, the quality of a subjective, as is the quality of anything. But the video games are getting better at immersing a player into a world where they attempt to spin you a tale. Just last year, Mass Effect 2 and Red Dead Redemption did this extremely well.

#40 Posted by xaLieNxGrEyx (2580 posts) -
@Dizazter:
No idea, what you are talking about.
#41 Posted by Hunkulese (2528 posts) -
@Aus_azn said:
" I can tolerate mediocre gameplay for a good story, re: Lost Odyssey.  I cannot tolerate good gameplay with a lousy story, re: Final Fantasy XIII, BlOps campaign. "
Whoa now. I think you're a little mixed up. Final Fantasy XIII had a fantastic story and while the gameplay was pretty good by the end it took 20+ hours to get anything enjoyable out of it.
#42 Posted by blueaniman93 (604 posts) -
@Vorbis said:
"

                    It's entirely genre specific, I'll take good story over good gameplay on RPGs any day, but on a shooter? Other way around.

                   

                "

yeah most jrpgs especially dont have especially thrilling combat but the stories are interesting and the mechanics that surround the battle make it worth it 
i kinda had that with ff13 where the combat felt slow at first but i really wanted to see where the story was going
#43 Posted by wickedsc3 (1046 posts) -

Personally I would have to agree with you as i generally find all game stories about as dull and predictable as shit.  But i am however loving the new directions some games are taking such as Alan Wake and Heavy Rain.   
 
For the most part though if it plays good i can usually ignore the shitty storytelling, and get enjoyment out of beating the game, achievements, easter eggs, collectibles, and pushing the limits of the gameplay. 
 
But if the it feels like shit, locks up, and overall performs bad then there are usually other outlets for me to explore the story.  Such as mass effect books, and others.

#44 Posted by Andorski (5111 posts) -

Games the include a immersive narrative become experiences.  Games that are simply about gameplay are just toys.  As I get older, I'm realizing how vital story is to be a good entertainment product.  The story doesn't have to be a masterpiece (since no game has come out that rivals story telling in other mediums like literature, film, etc.), but a simple narrative explaining why I am doing something can go a long way in crafting an experience comparable to a movie or a TV show while at the same time being unique in it's interactive nature.

#45 Posted by DonutFever (3515 posts) -

Most of my top games of last year also had the top stories. 

#46 Posted by Mr_Faraday (241 posts) -

The problem I see here is that no single video game nowadays has "great" gameplay. Most of the AAA video games have at best average gameplay so when I play a video game its not because the gameplay is so good that I just cant stop, its because the story of the game is good or great. If the story is lacking than I'm likely to get bored and want to move on to something with a better story.
#47 Posted by Jimbo (9710 posts) -

I don't feel a pressing need to play through any game more than once tbh, and I find it difficult to get into a game with no context or story, no matter how good the gameplay is (there have been a couple of rare exceptions).  I wouldn't say I'm playing for the story necessarily, but it's usually important to me that it's there, or at least that I know there's a set point where I will be done with a game.  For me, great gameplay with no context is more like a race car with no race track. 
 
I guess it depends on what you want out of games.  If you buy them as something to fill your free time, then sure, you probably want to squeeze as many hours out of it (with replayability, multiplayer, whatevs) as possible, but I prefer to think of it as spending my free time on experiencing the game.  If CoD4 can deliver an awesome campaign experience -without an ounce of fat on it- in 5 or 6 hours then that, imo, is far better than the weaker, padded 12 hour campaign most other developers would have managed.  I don't regret paying full price for that campaign at all - they more than delivered and they did it in a timely manner.
 
Multiple endings shouldn't necessarily be treated as an incentive to replay games.  They can / should exist primarily to give weight to your choices the first time through.  Do games like Deus Ex or Dragon Age or The Witcher or New Vegas become a better experience from playing through them multiple times and seeing every possible outcome?  I don't think so.  Not only are there diminishing returns on subsequent playthroughs, but it also often has a detrimental effect on how you remember your first play through, because you start to see through the smoke and mirrors that these games rely on so heavily.  I think there's a lot of merit in David Cage's (Quantic Dream, Heavy Rain) theory that these games benefit from only being played once.

#48 Posted by FlyingRat (1445 posts) -
@Octaslash said:
"  @FlyingRat said:

"Since you can't reply directly to said children, i guess i'll reply to you instead. I have simply grown sick and tired of people on the internet claiming their opinion to be fact. I know it's an opinion, you... seem to know it's an opinion, but reading what the guy wrote, he clearly does not. "

  Where did he state that his post was fact? What gave you the impression he doesn't know fact from opinion?   He clearly (and needlessly) stated it was his opinion so idiots could distinguish it from fact. "
By saying things like: "I think those people are missing the point." As long as those people are enjoying themselves, why does it matter? Guy who started this thread wants people to enjoy games in the exact same way he does. Also he uses the word "Over-Hyped". Which is a word that implies that there are right and wrong opinions.
#49 Posted by Natesaint (147 posts) -

I side on gameplay over story, if there is a lack of story or no story use your imagination. I usually find bad stories fun, although I can recognize they are terrible.
#50 Posted by FancySoapsMan (5750 posts) -

I'm willing to deal with mediocre gameplay if the story is game enough. It keeps me interested in the game.