Hello Giantbomb, I wanted to comment and question as to where Jeff’s “hang up” with Nested Stories came from, assuming a clear origin exists. If Jeff himself could chime in on this, that would be extremely helpful.
In the latest Bombcast, the crew is discussing Hellblade and its use of mental psychosis as a character trait. Jeff commented that he was concerned that the story would end with “the girl waking up in some office building.” Suggesting that the events of the game were all a dream. I’ve noticed that this is a common concern for Jeff. He’s brought this up a few times in previous Bombcasts. “I’m afraid this game will end up being - YOU WERE IN A COMA THIS WHOLE TIME.” Especially in regards with indie games that have stories that are atypical to most games.
For clarity’s sake, a Nested Story is essentially a ‘story-within-a-story.’ Jeff’s occasional worry is with a subset of this narrative, the Nested Story Reveal, or even more specifically the ‘It Was All a Dream’ trope. Perhaps the most famous example being The Wizard of Oz.
This narrative reveal has been used to greater and lesser effect in film and TV shows. See Jacob’s Ladder and Dallas for more extreme examples of quality. But it’s not as common a trope in Video Games, at least not enough to warrant continued concern when it comes to games whose stories veer a little off the beaten path.
So why the hang up? I can understand being annoyed with the trope in general as it can often be used as a story crutch. But I’m not quite sure why Jeff would preemptively assume that a game’s story would not only end with a twist, but that it would end with it all being a dream, or a coma, etc.
So what are your thoughts? How do you feel about this story trope? Do you have some good examples of it being used? Let me know what you think.