Once upon a time, video games were all about accomplishing simple tasks like eating white pellets while avoiding ghosts in the classic hit Pacman. Technological advances have transformed gaming titles, blurring the line between movies and games. While games light on narrative still exist, many titles tell complex stories that have gamers controlling heroes who travel to distant lands to save the world.
Modern video games have turned games into a story with a plot that players live as they play. Like a good book, these games draw players in with a story that’s hard to put down and keep them glued to their seats until the ending credit roll. Keep reading to learn about the power of storytelling in video games.
Living Through the Character
As players embark on a mission or quest in a new game, they leave themselves behind and assume a new persona. A transformative bonding experience takes place as they control the player in a game. Often, the protagonist is facing a situation that could happen in the player’s world, making the story seem even more real.
Just as dystopian novels have become major hits, video games like Stray, which offers an optimistic twist on dystopias, have told stories that allow fans to live new experiences. These games allow players to experience the world in new and unexpected ways.
What separates a video game from a movie is that the gamer plays an active role in the story’s experience and outcome, creating a shared experience that other storytelling mediums can’t replicate. The Last of Us from Naughty Dog is one of the best examples of narrative in a video game. Players take control of different characters in the game, seeing the world through their eyes.
As they play chapter after chapter, their attachment to the characters grows, and so does their investment in the game. It’s a hard game to put down, and most players want to see it through to the end. It’s a powerful example of how important storytelling can be in gaming.
In these types of video games, the player’s decisions have an immediate outcome on what happens next in the game. Depending on the player’s choices, a character may react one way or another. The unpredictability of the outcome is part of the fun because nothing is set in stone.
If a player decides to side with one character over another, war could break out, or an empire could fall. The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us are two of the most famous examples in this genre. These games appeal to gamers become it puts them in the driver’s seat, letting them control how the game will end.
Fantasy Driven Games
Exploring a world with magic, dragons, and other creatures is something many gamers love. These titles usually fall under the RPG genre, with the Elder Scrolls franchise being one of the most important games in this genre.
The game’s story evolves around the protagonist, a human with a dragon’s blood and soul. Players explore the fictional world of Skyrim, going on quests, meeting people, discovering locations, and finally defeating the evil dragon Alduin.
Although the last game in the franchise was released over a decade ago, millions of fans continue to play it worldwide. There’s something about fantasy that draws people in and gives them an escape from the daily routine, making this type of storytelling highly effective.
Not every gamer wants to sit through long cutscenes or read lots of text while playing a video game. While you can’t get the full experience of a book or movie if you skip parts of the dialogue, you can have a meaningful gaming experience doing just that.
Many games have outstanding narratives but don’t force players to read through the dialogue before getting to the action. If a player wants to skip all the dialogue and return to it later, they can do that and still experience a great deal of the stories.