Games can offer great story,in some ways greater than other media

There are many fictional universes that I have a lot of love for and sometimes during the most tenst of situations I will perch at the edge of my seat in order to see how they will suceed. Notice that I didnt say whether they would surive or not since in most universe's that is never an option and its just about going as close before hitting the reset switch and being ok again. This is one of the reasons that I feel it hard to care during most battles, no matter what I do they will suceed and no one will get hurt. 

Until recently it was the same with games, during the big climatic end I would either succeed or restart the level and there was absolutely no middle ground. I also find it hard to care about all but a select few characters in a select few franchise's because im just watching them do stuff so its hard for a show to actually hook into my mind.

This is an area where games can make there story's more effective than the stories in books, video or audio productions. While I have seen people be heavily affected by some TV, especially some anime fans I know who get extremely annoyed when a character dosent fall in love which the person they beleive is right for them, it tends to be almost never for me and even when I do I only care slightly. In the Mass Effect series I get many choices and one of those choices relates to who I get to seek a romance with, or in fact dont seek a romance at all, and in Mass Effect 1 I choose Ashley because I actually "felt" something rather than simply seeing her as a model with audio files I could almost feel a "person" (as I did for most of the main characters in Mass Effect) which was the most that a game has ever made me feel beyond anger and frustration. When I played Mass Effect 2 I again had that choice of romance except I couldent continue with the same Romance so I decided before playing that I should be a nice guy and just ignore the romance option and wait for Mass Effect 3 then came the problem where I started playing and slowly over the course of the game the characters stopped being models and audio but instead more like "people" and they stayed in my mind outside the game. The character I felt most attached to was Tali but I had previously decided I was to stay true but slowly I decided to seek a romance with Tali. This I beleive is where games can stand above other media because I actually felt something, while I wasent playing the game I actually thought it over and part of my mind was saying that I shouldent "hurt" Ashley by moving on without telling her and part of me was saying that I/My Shepard felt more for Tali than I ever did for Ashley.

 Now obviously I know these are just fictional characters in a fictional universe which is why its such a testament to the skill of Bioware, and the power of video games, that it actually made me feel bad about "breaking up" with Ashley and actually made me think about it even when I wasent playing the game. 

Because games give me, the player, the choice as to what to do in many regards including (potentially) who I could romance and how far to take it also has the possibilty to make me feel bad over my decisisons and through that choice bring me closer to the characters and the universe. This is something that no film can ever offer, although books have "Choose your own adventures" I don't believe even they could bring me this close to characters, to their universe and there is no way they could ever make me feel bad about a decision, make me feel I have to perform better in this situation because they arent asking me to make decisions or to perform at all.


I apolagise if this seems rambling, because it is, or contradictory, it could potentially be I had many thoughts in my head, but if you have taken the time to read this then please tell me what you think about it? Do you think games could ever offer a story in a way films/books cant? Do you feel more attached to characters when you make decisions affecting them?

EDIT: I mainly focused on the romance possibilties but it could also be other things like if you dont act as well then characters might die and never appeard in your game (or games) again like in Mass Effect.

6 Comments
6 Comments
Edited by Pazy

There are many fictional universes that I have a lot of love for and sometimes during the most tenst of situations I will perch at the edge of my seat in order to see how they will suceed. Notice that I didnt say whether they would surive or not since in most universe's that is never an option and its just about going as close before hitting the reset switch and being ok again. This is one of the reasons that I feel it hard to care during most battles, no matter what I do they will suceed and no one will get hurt. 

Until recently it was the same with games, during the big climatic end I would either succeed or restart the level and there was absolutely no middle ground. I also find it hard to care about all but a select few characters in a select few franchise's because im just watching them do stuff so its hard for a show to actually hook into my mind.

This is an area where games can make there story's more effective than the stories in books, video or audio productions. While I have seen people be heavily affected by some TV, especially some anime fans I know who get extremely annoyed when a character dosent fall in love which the person they beleive is right for them, it tends to be almost never for me and even when I do I only care slightly. In the Mass Effect series I get many choices and one of those choices relates to who I get to seek a romance with, or in fact dont seek a romance at all, and in Mass Effect 1 I choose Ashley because I actually "felt" something rather than simply seeing her as a model with audio files I could almost feel a "person" (as I did for most of the main characters in Mass Effect) which was the most that a game has ever made me feel beyond anger and frustration. When I played Mass Effect 2 I again had that choice of romance except I couldent continue with the same Romance so I decided before playing that I should be a nice guy and just ignore the romance option and wait for Mass Effect 3 then came the problem where I started playing and slowly over the course of the game the characters stopped being models and audio but instead more like "people" and they stayed in my mind outside the game. The character I felt most attached to was Tali but I had previously decided I was to stay true but slowly I decided to seek a romance with Tali. This I beleive is where games can stand above other media because I actually felt something, while I wasent playing the game I actually thought it over and part of my mind was saying that I shouldent "hurt" Ashley by moving on without telling her and part of me was saying that I/My Shepard felt more for Tali than I ever did for Ashley.

 Now obviously I know these are just fictional characters in a fictional universe which is why its such a testament to the skill of Bioware, and the power of video games, that it actually made me feel bad about "breaking up" with Ashley and actually made me think about it even when I wasent playing the game. 

Because games give me, the player, the choice as to what to do in many regards including (potentially) who I could romance and how far to take it also has the possibilty to make me feel bad over my decisisons and through that choice bring me closer to the characters and the universe. This is something that no film can ever offer, although books have "Choose your own adventures" I don't believe even they could bring me this close to characters, to their universe and there is no way they could ever make me feel bad about a decision, make me feel I have to perform better in this situation because they arent asking me to make decisions or to perform at all.


I apolagise if this seems rambling, because it is, or contradictory, it could potentially be I had many thoughts in my head, but if you have taken the time to read this then please tell me what you think about it? Do you think games could ever offer a story in a way films/books cant? Do you feel more attached to characters when you make decisions affecting them?

EDIT: I mainly focused on the romance possibilties but it could also be other things like if you dont act as well then characters might die and never appeard in your game (or games) again like in Mass Effect.

Posted by Meowayne

Clearly you need to read more books and watch more movies.

Posted by Pazy
@Meowayne said:
" Clearly you need to read more books and watch more movies. "
Ive read many books and watched many films, including some of the "best" ones, but if you feel you have a better one to offer. But do you have an opinion on the the idea that choices in video games affecting characters and story could bring you more in the world and closer to the characters than just watching them perform the same actions?
Posted by MikkaQ

I feel like games' stories have never managed to match what movies are capable are, because of that whole pesky "gameplay" thing you have to worry about crafting your story around. It's pretty limiting most of the time having a whole bunch of game break up your dramatic moments, and how there always has to be some kind of action going on to play. Heavy Rain will probably come closest to any other game at getting the movie feel, and that'S only because the gameplay is pushed faaaaaaar into the background, but it's till not enough. A movie will always have the better story due to it's properties. It's just a given.

Edited by JoelTGM

I absolutely think games can tell better stories than movies.  The average movie is maybe 2 hours long, and some can do amazing things during that time.  However, a whopping 6 hours is considered short for a video game, and many of the story focused games will easily reach 20 hours or more.  A lot of experiences and emotions can be had during that time, a lot of connections made with characters, and a lot of decision making happens as well.  After finishing an RPG, I have all kinds of memories as if from another lifetime.  I mean, racing games and most shooters are just strictly games, but when a game wants to tell a story, it can really immerse you and make you care about what's going on around you.  The most a movie plot will do is be clever, and give you some new quotes to repeat for years to come, but a  video game will be your own personal experience.

Posted by Symphony
@DOUBLESHOCK said:
" I absolutely think games can tell better stories than movies.  The average movie is maybe 2 hours long, and some can do amazing things during that time.  However, a whopping 6 hours is considered short for a video game, and many of the story focused games will easily reach 20 hours or more.  A lot of experiences and emotions can be had during that time, a lot of connections made with characters, and a lot of decision making happens as well.  After finishing an RPG, I have all kinds of memories as if from another lifetime.  I mean, racing games and most shooters are just strictly games, but when a game wants to tell a story, it can really immerse you and make you care about what's going on around you.  The most a movie plot will do is be clever, and give you some new quotes to repeat for years to come, but a  video game will be your own personal experience. "
Well said, and I agree.
 
I find video games can do an amazing job at telling stories. Final Fantasy VI or X, for example, will always stay with me as some of the most memorable romances I've ever experienced. That's not to say TV and movies can't offer similar experiences (I love my romantic anime like Kimi ni Todoke or Clannad, after all), but being a part of the story in video games adds that extra element that can make it all the more emotionally powerful... for me at least. Though granted, not everyone will feel the same and many will be moved by other mediums -- heck, I have a hard time relating to people who can be moved by an abstract piece of artwork or ballet, for example, but that doesn't mean their experiences are any less valid or emotional.