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  1. #1
    Network Hub Namdrol's Avatar
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    Dev Shawn McGrath Lays Down Some Smack: storytelling in games is worthless

    SM: Mass Effect attempted it, and people praise it. Itís horrible. Itís horrible because the choices that you make are so meaningless and people say, ďOh, but itís getting to a point where the whole galaxy is going to change based on your decisions,Ē and I say, no, thatís impossible, thatís an NP-hard problem, thatís a computer science problem where ďthat problem is not computable.Ē


    Itís just a waste of time. Iíve read a lot of science fiction. The science fiction in Mass Effect is not something I would consider even passable for a high school paper. Itís horrible. But if you put in a game then itís praised for being so great. Itís especially so because in the context of video games, stories are fucking awful.


    So attempting that is a worthless endeavor. Games are really fucking awesome. We can tell stories through entirely interactive ways, with no text.


    Q: The fact that games are bigger than movies and books these days Ė as far as the breadth of content Ė what do you propose to change it, or provide as an alternative?


    SM: Oh, I donít give a shit. Thatís a stupid number. Itís a meaningless metric. It means large corporations have made a whole bunch of money. That reflects nothing on the actual art form. Zero.
    My kinda guy...

  2. #2
    I don't see how some guys opinion on what constitutes good science fiction is relevant in general. Especially if all that guy's got to his name is an upcoming PSN arcade game Dyad.

  3. #3
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    His reasoning boils down to "I didn't like it, so nobody should try."

    He's full of shit.
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
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  4. #4
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Jesus_Phish's Avatar
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    Small time dev makes stupid statement, gets attention.

    News at 11.

    Also this is beyond stupid

    Itís horrible because the choices that you make are so meaningless and people say, ďOh, but itís getting to a point where the whole galaxy is going to change based on your decisions,Ē and I say, no, thatís impossible, thatís an NP-hard problem, thatís a computer science problem where ďthat problem is not computable.Ē
    So the story is bad because the choices you make are meaningless? As opposed to the choices I get with most sci-fi books which are, continue to read or stop reading. Sure in the long run the choices are meaningless, but that alone doesn't make a story bad. Is the story in Deus Ex bad because my choices are meaningless? The Walking Dead? Bastion?
    Last edited by Jesus_Phish; 29-11-2012 at 02:14 PM.

  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sabrage's Avatar
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    Oh, it's one of Phil Fish's friends.

  6. #6
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    And if you're going by what he says, I'm assuming you hate the Mass Effect story too? Granted, the ending was crap, but I really liked the way the whole "cure for the genophage" moved from the first game to the third.

  7. #7
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    Full article: http://dorkshelf.com/2012/11/28/game...shawn-mcgrath/

    He has a point: that mixing interactive play with a linear narrative can be awkward. But he conveniently ignores the fact that other mediums have been doing non-linear narratives forever.

  8. #8
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Jesus_Phish's Avatar
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    So the jist is, stories in games are crap except in my games because my games are new and don't follow a traditional format.

  9. #9
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Kadayi's Avatar
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    Why yes you're right I'm deliciously evil

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    His reasoning boils down to "I didn't like it, so nobody should try."

    He's full of shit.
    That's what the reasoning of all reviews boil down to too, I liked it/I didn't. I agree with him though, the Mass Effect games are very mediocre titles with high production values and meaningless romance.

  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shane View Post
    That's what the reasoning of all reviews boil down to too, I liked it/I didn't. I agree with him though, the Mass Effect games are very mediocre titles with high production values and meaningless romance.
    I don't give a shit that he didn't like it.

    I give a shit about the (il)logical leap between "I didn't like it" and "nobody should ever attempt this," because the only response to that is, "who died and made you King Asshole of Douchebagistan?"

    I liked Mass Effect. It was very moving for me. But even if I didn't, I can appreciate that they made a three-part game with an epic arc where things you did in the first two games were referenced repeatedly in the second two.
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  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by DeathPig View Post
    And if you're going by what he says, I'm assuming you hate the Mass Effect story too? Granted, the ending was crap, but I really liked the way the whole "cure for the genophage" moved from the first game to the third.
    Yeah, the Genophage thread was the best thing about the ME series. It was legitimately good sci-fi. The reaper storyline notsomuch.

    I think this guy has a point but is overstating the case.

  13. #13
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Voon's Avatar
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    Don't exactly agree with the guy. Storytelling in the game is good so long as it is pulled off in a way that it's interesting/important enough to be a part of the game. Most of Black Isle/Obsidian's games does it, some of the old Sierra adventure games does it, and they worked out well so far.
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  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Rauten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kadayi View Post
    Who?

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    Exactly.

    10 char

  15. #15
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sparkasaurusmex's Avatar
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    I think anyone looking for "Science Fiction" in Mass Effect is going to be disappointed. Again (cos I know we had a similar discussion here before)- Mass Effect is like Star Wars, it's space opera, not science fiction. There's no science, it's just in the future with space ships.

    I agree that the story is "good" for a video game, but compared to "good" novels it's pretty shite.

  16. #16
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Tikey's Avatar
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    As I see it, the story in mass effect is terrible. BUT it's fairly well written with nice characterization and some very good moments.

  17. #17
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    I don't know who the hell this guy is but he's right that telling a story in a video game is self defeating. If he even meant such a thing.

  18. #18
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sparkasaurusmex's Avatar
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    Good point. Perhaps that's what appeals more in the story in a game. The very good moments, obviously, are extremely important because we get to play those. So Mass Effect would not be a good novel, but the purpose of the plot is not to tell a good story, it is to set up these "very good moments."

    Personally just give me the moments with very little exposition and I'm happy. I'd love a great RPG with a heavy, literary type of story, but a failed attempt at that is worse than a game with very little story.

  19. #19
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Jesus_Phish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wizardry View Post
    I don't know who the hell this guy is but he's right that telling a story in a video game is self defeating. If he even meant such a thing.
    Explain how telling a story in a video game is self defeating?

    You're not allowed use the excuse "books do it better".

    Go.

  20. #20
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparkasaurusmex View Post
    So Mass Effect would not be a good novel
    And most novels do not make good movies.

    And most movies most certainly do not make good games.

    So?
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