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A strengh of storytelling in games

A strengh of storytelling in games
« on: April 15, 2010, 11:19:04 am »

I don't know where I can post that, so I create a topic. Sorry if it wasn't the thing to do.

I want to express a strengh that have video games for telling stories which novels and cinema haven't.
Of course, it is not very exploited yet, but it is the point of this forum right?

When you read a book, you know how far you are from the end, just by looking at the pages left.
Same thing in a movie : You generally know the lenght of a movie before watching it (between 1h30 and 3h00)

But in video games, you never know how far you are.
It's doesn't seem very important, but it's because noone never really used this trick, or only accidentally.

I don't know how to explain it but...for exemple, when you're reading and coming to the end you think "crap! it's almost done! I want more of it" or "Few...almost done, more would have been boring".
In video games you can't.

After a bit a reflection, I remember the trick was used in Monkey Island 2 "It's done, you can close the game now...(you wait for a while) no, it's was a joke, this is not still the end"
It was funny.
But i think we could use this in many different ways (and not always "funny")
What do you think about it? Have you got other exemples?
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Re: A strengh of storytelling in games
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2010, 01:30:18 pm »

The fact that current videogames even have an ending is an unnecessary weakness. There is nothing inherently linear about the procedural medium. Books and films have to end because they are linear. Computer programs only really need to end when the player stops playing. It's a difficult concept to grasp after so many centuries of linear media. But I think the inherent endlessness of software applications is something we should try to embrace as liberating.

Anyway, not knowing when the end is going to happen is a pleasant aspect of videogames that approaches the potential of endlessness a little bit. But I hope we can go further. Also consider that many videogames are simply too long. Most players don't finish their games. I guess you could say that, in a sense, they might as well never end. But the sad truth is that when a person stops playing before the end, it's probably to never return to the game again. And, ironically, a player who does reach the end, may want to go back but be unable to (without going through the entire linear structure again).

I would really like videogames to be more like "states of being" that you can immerse yourself in for five minutes or five hours, depending on how you feel and how much time you have. Like bathing in stories.
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Re: A strengh of storytelling in games
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2010, 02:28:58 pm »

On the flip side, knowing how time is left can also be valuable. It means that you know there is an end to the experience and this can be valuable in many works. But I totally agree that unknowable length (or even unlimited length) of games can be used to great advantage.


Side note: There is a great passage in "Gödel, Escher, Bach" where two character discuss this problem of knowing the pages left in books. A suggestion is to include lots of blank pages, but since that is easy to check they also have the idea of totally breaking the flow or contradicting something of the story to show the ending. Then only one who has read the entire novel will understand where the end is. The passage then ends by the police suddenly enters and accuses one of the characters for counterfeiting. It is not meant to be serious, but I just had to share Smiley
« Last Edit: April 15, 2010, 11:39:23 pm by Thomas »
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Re: A strengh of storytelling in games
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2010, 10:51:25 pm »

On the flip side, knowing how time is left can also be valuable.

We use this in the first part of Fatale: there's actually a bar at the bottom of the screen that fills up and tells you how much longer you have to wait.
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Re: A strengh of storytelling in games
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2010, 06:48:27 am »

I remember that part in GEB - I was pretty confused at first, hehe. Cheesy

I would really like videogames to be more like "states of being" that you can immerse yourself in for five minutes or five hours, depending on how you feel and how much time you have. Like bathing in stories.
I really like this idea too. At the moment, short-session casual games do something like this, without the "story" part. Not sure if that's relevant though. Anyway, I'll think about this.
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