Posts Tagged ‘narrative’

Garriott Says We’ve Not Mastered Storytelling

By John Walker on February 1st, 2011.

He's lived on the moon.

Interviewed in the latest episode of Game Theory with Scott Steinberg (below), Lord Richard Garriott of Britain explains that as far as game narratives may have come, be believes they’re still falling far short of those in books and films. He says,

“I don’t think we’ve yet mastered the techniques of true interactive storytelling.”

You can see the full interview, along with contributions from Charles Cecil, Jane Jenson, Bob Bates and others, in the third episode of this new series, this time focusing on game narrative. Oh, and I have a little rant, too.

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Gore Verbinski: Not Useless After All

By Alec Meer on March 10th, 2008.

Look upon my pixel-shaded facial pockmarks ye mighty, and despair

Though the internet gave the director of the increasingly turgid Pirates of the Caribbean movies a gentle roasting for his infamous “You must possess some madness” advice to gamingdom, it rather seems as though he’s thinking along potentially exciting lines for his own flashing pixel endeavour. (Pirates of the Carribbean Online, pictured above, is not it. But hey, you make your bed, you lie in it.) Read on for Gore’s thoughts on “anti-narrative.” Not a pretty phrase, but his intentions sound better.
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A Word Is Worth A Thousand Pictures

By John Walker on February 4th, 2008.

This wordthink originally appeared in the Escapist. It’s an exercise in tackling the graphics vs narrative argument, which perhaps occasionally lapses into cliche. As you’ll see as you read through, I don’t necessarily agree with all my arguments – it was written in an attempt to create a thesis which would generate opposing antitheses. Together, we can reach synthesis. Discuss.

Booker's front cover

A Word Is Worth A Thousand Pictures

“It is a curious characteristic of our modern civilization that, whereas we are prepared to devote untold physical and mental resources to reaching out into the furthest reaches of the galaxy, or to delve into the most delicate mysteries of the atom… one of the greatest and most important mysteries is lying so close beneath our noses that we scarcely even recognize it to be a mystery at all. At any given moment… hundreds of millions of people will be engaged [in] one of those strange sequences of mental images which we call a story.” – Christopher Booker, The Seven Basic Plots

Narrative is our link to the universe.

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Hooray For The Writer’s Strike?

By Alec Meer on November 27th, 2007.


COD4′s Captain Price. Everything a real man should be.

Protesting writers may be dragging the US movie and TV industries to an embarrassing halt at the moment, but ever-terse entertainment industy rag Variety (via Eurogamer) reckons distressed wordsmiths may turn to videogames to fill their increasingly empty coffers.

Having slaved through more atrociously-written games than I can remember, that’s potentially very exciting. While a disdainful look at the last few months of similarly atrociously-written Hollywood blockbusters (Die Hard 4.0′s “send all the gas!” lunacy kept me chuckling for months) suggests that this won’t lead to an influx of Bioshock and Planescape beaters, having professional writers attached to games is surely a step up from getting That Quiet Guy In The Office Who’s Good At Apostrophes to do it. The idea of TV writers coming over is particularly exciting – there’s been some incredible US genre telly of late. Read the rest of this entry »

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GCDC: Stories Vs. Games

By John Walker on August 21st, 2007.

GCDC provides another interesting debate, this time on the subject of story in games. Specifically, that games shouldn’t even try to make them more complex, as they’re simply no good at it. Say the writers of stories in games.

Find her. Save her.

Bethesda’s Ken Rolston and adventure veteran (and man responsible for the frattish Spellcasting series in the early 90s), Bob Bates, both agreed that, “our inability to pay off on all the choices that there should be available. It’s so difficult to make a genuinely complex dramatic choice,” in the words of Rolston. Which is, essentially, an argument against non-linearity in games. Which I strongly argue is a good thing.

In the world of storytelling, non-linearity has only ever existed as a novelty, perhaps a choose-your-own-adventure, or idiotic stunt on the BBC to let viewers call in and “decide” what happens next. But books, television and film have always survived rather well without letting the consumer dictate the story for them. Frankly, if you’ve got a story worth telling, the last thing you should be doing is letting anyone else get in the way. Games find themselves in a more awkward position, as progression becomes rather dependent on the player interacting in some way. And for most elements of a game, from killing to constructing, this interaction is necessary. But leave the story in the hands of the storyteller.

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