I’m not really wanting this to become a video game blog as such, I used to do regular video game reviews and podcasts over on ‘Brake For Frogger‘ (you can possibly still hear me prattle on during the podcasts if the server is still running) but there’s two main reasons why I’ll be mentioning games every now and again here. Firstly, I have probably invested more time over the years into video games than I have movies, music and books. To some people this might make me sound like some kind of sad loner but I’ve always valued the interactive experience highly. The second reason is that writing is all about story telling and story telling is much harder to get right in games. Consider a screenplay, you know that an audience will be passive and take in the story in the speed at which you dictate. The stories told by games have the double edged sword that you are placed directly central in the action. It’s basically like watching a play and getting up on stage to direct the actors when you think the performance is lulling a bit. Strangely though, it’s something games have taken a long time get get anywhere near right.
Some games will guide you through a story, never allowing you to change events and giving you a set list of goals to achieve. Others will bend the story slightly depending on your actions, often changing the ending and having very binary ‘good or bad’ responses to problems encountered. Some games meanwhile simply give you the environment and let you get on with it, making your own stories as you go. There’s no particular ‘correct’ way of doing it as there’s fantastic examples of each method. I’ll probably end up going through a few examples in blog entries in the near future as examples of the craft of storytelling via an interactive medium.
Obviously, there will be spoilers.