Are Games a Storytelling Medium? (Guest Article by Fabian Fischer)

Editor’s Note: One of our most active Auro beta testers, Fabian Fischer (aka “Nachtfischer”), had written this great piece for his German-language site.  We’ve been talking a lot about story in games on our forum, and I decided it would be great if Fabian could translate and update this article for my site, and that’s just what he did.  I think it pretty much nails why authored story and interactivity don’t go well together.  Enjoy!

 

A while back, Mr. Burgun wrote about this issue. Nevertheless, since there is still a frequent and passionate debate on the matter, so I thought it would not hurt to approach it from a slightly different point of view and throw some new arguments into the mix.

 

Definitions

  • Story in the context of this article describes an authored, linear (not necessarily chronologically linear) sequence of fictional events.

  • Game specifically means a contest of ambiguous decision-making; most readers of this site should be familiar with this.

(Some games look like movies.)

During the last few decades of digital gaming, we’ve gotten used to understanding games primarily as a storytelling medium. Developers tried really hard to push games into the same category as movies. Sometimes AAA games are even referred to as “blockbuster games” and most titles from the recently rising world of indie games also advertise their “compelling story” up-front. Below I will present some arguments, some “food for thought”, on why this marriage of stories and games was probably a pretty bad idea to begin with.

 

Arguments

1. Logic

The following was the main point of Mr. Burgun’s article linked above and illustrates the inherent conflict of games and stories in the most fundamental way: A story by its very nature is linear. A game as a machine enforcing difficult decision-making is everything but linear. The two forms dramatically oppose each other, even when looked at from a very low-level, i.e. mechanical, point of view.

 

2. Context

Just like games, stories are incredibly complex and fragile constructs. And just as a game has a core mechanic, which ideally is supported by every single mechanism in the game, a story also embodies a core, called the “controlling idea”. In a strong and compelling story, every part of it is linked to this idea. A means to achieve this is the heavy use of context: When presenting a linear sequence of events, the author can completely rely on what the audience has already experienced at any given moment. On top of that, because it is his story, he also has complete certainty about any future events. These facts are heavily taken advantage of in traditional storytelling mediums such as movies and novels. In these mediums, the author, or rather the storyteller, is able to use the context very efficiently at all times. At any given moment, it is perfectly clear which sentences of a novel the story’s recipient has read before, or which pictures of a movie were seen before. Whereas in an interactive system it is not possible to use the context that efficiently. Any freedom an agent inside such a system has will get in the way of tension, timing, cinematography etc. The solution of AAA developers is then to heavily cut down on the interactivity, sometimes even trivializing it (quick time events). The inevitability of this compromise is another indicator of story and game hurting each other.

 

3. Nature

It is also kind of “unnatural” to force a story upon a game. Let’s have a look at the smallest or rather core components of novels, movies and games: Novels consist of words. Line up multiple words in some reasonable way and sentences will emerge. Quite naturally you could make use of such sentences to tell a story. It’s just as obvious in the case of movies. They consist of pictures. Now show multiple pictures in some reasonable way, and again they will form a story. Games on the other hand consist of mechanisms. Assemble some of those and you will probably get a holistic gameplay mechanism, but there is no story to be seen at all, not even a theme. Now, adding a theme to a game is not unnatural at all, as it can support the game’s mechanisms tremendously, i.e. by making it much more intuitive. In the same manner, music is added to movies to support the story, because that is what movies are all about, whereas a story in a game has to be “tacked on”. Now, one could call that an “evolution” of games, but with respect to the inherent nature of the conflict, other reasons for the marriage (e.g. game shame) seem much more plausible.

 

Choose Your Own Adventure (AKA “Disturb Your Own Story”)

(Some novels pretend to be games.)

 

Not only did we get used to making and understanding games as a storytelling medium, but sometimes the conflict was even approached from the other end of the spectrum.  That is, novels were written that forced the reader to make decisions from time to time. The most famous representatives of this literary form are the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books.  Now, as said above, the strength of a story can be measured by how tightly it ties all of its parts to the core idea.  Therefore there must exist one single composition which is the “best”, the most compelling version of a story. Identifying that optimal version of a story is what makes good storytelling an incredibly difficult endeavor. In fact, you will likely not be able to identify it, but it is your duty as an author to ensure that your story is the best and most compelling version you can make. If it comes close to that optimal version, that is what potentially makes you a good artist.

 

Coming from this realization, the premise of “Choose Your Own Adventure” books seems insolent: Does the author not know what would be best for his own story? Now the (most likely) non-expert reader is going to decide what happens next? From that, some serious problems arise:

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  1. The reader makes a decision, but the story would have been better if he chose differently. That is obviously problematic, but likely to happen. “Players” will usually not pick the best alternative for the story, but e.g. for “their character”, thereby frequently pushing their story in a horribly cliché-heavy direction.

  2. The story is not, or only in a very minor way, affected by the reader’s choice. Then the mere process of making the decision degrades into a waste of time.

  3. The story is best when the outcome of multiple decisions is read. This occurs if the reader is just handed additional information by reading multiple outcomes. This is probably the worst case of them all. Should the reader go back after each single decision and try all the others? That cannot be an option if you want any tension to survive the course of the story. So maybe the whole book has to be read multiple times then? Due to the second point of this list, this would likely be a very inefficient usage of the reader’s time. On top of that, the author explicitly limits the quality of any possible single version of the story. Why do multiple versions even exist to begin with? Why not have one single better story?

 

Of course, the reader might more or less randomly pick the best of the alternatives sometimes, but do we want to get a good story because we got lucky? Or because a capable author, who really knew what he was doing, delivered one?

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Consequences

(Some people just don’t want to make games, and that’s fine!)

 

Different people seriously reasoning about the nature of games as interactive systems already came to the only plausible conclusion from the above arguments: Story and game do not go well together. In fact, you can easily take the arguments one step further and apply them to interactive systems in general, concluding story and bare interactivity oppose each other. But explicitly sticking to the topic of games for now, here are some examples on how to move on from here:

 

1. Greg Costikyan: Games, Storytelling, and Breaking the String

“In other words, there’s a direct, immediate conflict between the demands of story and the demands of a game. Divergence from a story’s path is likely to make for a less satisfying story; restricting a player’s freedom of action is likely to make for a less satisfying game. To the degree that you make a game more like a story – a controlled, predetermined experience with events occurring as the author wishes – you make it a less effective game. To the degree that you make a story more like a game – with alternative paths and outcomes – you make it a less effective story. It’s not merely that games aren’t stories, and vice versa; rather they are, in a sense, opposites.”

Comment: Costikyan fully realizes the inherent nature of the problem, but then backs off – maybe afraid to make a “bold claim”. In his article he then struggles to find examples of when games and storytelling work together rather than against one another. In these examples though, either the amount of interactivity (the gameplay) is severely reduced or the story as defined for this article (and by the way, also for Costikyan’s) is dropped. Therefore the core of the problem is even strengthened: Take away from one side and the potential of the other one will grow.

 

2. Jonathan Blow: Fundamental Conflicts in Contemporary Game Design

“Trying to create “Drama” or “Crafted Impact” […] requires careful pacing and framing. […] Interactivity sabotages Delivery! […] Interactivity sabotages Structure!”

Comment: Jonathan Blow (famous for creating Braid) is a double-edged phenomenon. He recognizes and very clearly describes many problems of our modern day gaming scene (e.g. poor gameplay while focusing on story and audiovisual spectacle, addiction enforcement through “skinner box”-like reward mechanisms etc.). But the conclusions he draws as someone obviously wanting to be a “game designer” are quite odd to say the least: His solution basically is just not to make games. He instead proclaims that heavily-themed puzzles are the way to go, which he calls “art games” (as a side note: that term blatantly offends all games as not being art). Granted, he does define a “game” as basically anything interactive having a goal (as another side note: that even widens the aforementioned offense to many more interactive systems). But that such a broad definition of the term might not be too useful, at least when thinking about games at a fundamental design level, has extensively and convincingly been argued before. There is obviously nothing wrong with choosing to create a different form of art, but Blow explicitly thinks of himself as a “game designer”. Whereas he actually is a game design critic and at the same time a puzzle constructor.

 

But now let us assume, that we really want to make games and dare to draw the consequential conclusion from the above arguments: Where do we go?

 

3. Keith Burgun: Games Hurt Stories, Stories Hurt Games

“The only way to have a great game is to focus on nothing but having great gameplay.  The only way to have a great story is to focus on nothing but having a great story.  Anything peripheral, unrelated or, most importantly, counter-productive to that goal should be removed.  Even when you do follow this philosophy, making a great game or a great story is extremely difficult.  But if you don’t, it’s impossible.”

Coming back to Mr. Burgun’s article once again: The conclusion it draws is really the only plausible one for anyone understanding what games are about to begin with and still wanting to be a game designer. A game that really strives to be held in high regard in the context of its art form should not have a story.

 

Verdict

Obviously it is still possible for something good and “fun” to emerge from the marriage of game and story. Nobody is “wrong” for liking any combination of the two. As a matter of fact, story-heavy games have become widely popular. However, from that fact we can only really derive one bit of data: They are indeed popular.  Obviously we cannot use this to create guidelines on how to make future works better. To achieve this we rather have to analyze the forms on a mechanical and logical level.

 

Any artist trying to combine story and game should be aware of the fact that this marriage will inevitably come with compromises damaging the effectiveness of techniques used to support either. The interactivity will put a cap on the quality of the story and vice versa. The potential artistic and intellectual value of the work will be limited.

 

Games as such have to be accepted as a serious form of art. Why should games have to look like movies? Why should they need a (necessarily suboptimal) story forced upon them? Why should the central qualities of games be less deep, enriching and valuable than those of any other form of art? Why do games have to be less like games?  People tend to use expressions such as, “a story makes a game better than being just a game”.

 

I hereby proclaim: Games are wonderful, and the sooner we realize this and learn to celebrate them for what they are, the sooner we will make games that truly are better than any of the games we’ve known.

  • If games aren’t a story-telling “medium”, then why put aesthetics on top? Why invest so much effort into the characters and the background lore? The hilariously lame attempt at explaining this problem away in the article is that a “theme” makes things “more intuitive”. GARBAGE. People love the ILLUSION of games as much as the mechanics. Yet another reason why Keith’s attempt to redefine games as “decision making machines” (a definition suitable only for TOTAL ASPIES) is a failure. This post is as bad as that retarded “ludonarrative dissonance” thing that’s been going around. Keith (who is apparently still using the word “gameplay”) needs to read this article:

    http://insomnia.ac/commentary/gameplay/

    This is at the heart of this whole non-issue – the idea that cutscenes aren’t part of the game (as well of course as Keith’s definition of “game”). Which is why, in spite of the fact that one can obviously tell a story in cutscenes, that there is some laughable question over whether games can or should “tell stories”. Most cutscenes are just total shit, or overused to the point of taking too much control from the player. But when used well cutscenes add tremendous value.

    The idea that there is one “best” way to tell a story reveals a stunning ignorance of order theory. There are an infinite number of ways to tell a “given story” (of course, we’re really talking about different stories). For such a set there is no reason to posit the existence of a GREATEST one, and in fact in lieu of further restrictions there is always the possibility of new heights, greater achievements. The story is being branched CONSTANTLY in any game, but mostly in very small, unimportant details. Nonetheless, these are still part of the story! Imagine if someone suggested that the choice of weapon used to kill Smaug was not part of the story of The Hobbit. LOL. It is just a very small detail, and games vary such details the most because they are the easiest to vary without introducing inconsistencies! And even the ability to make minor choices in a good story can be wonderfully immersive!

    In any case, when we construct the game we can at the very least choose out of the infinite selection a FINITE selection of variations on the major plot points, with the “best” (out of such a set there MUST be a “greatest”) being the hardest to reach by the player. In fact, this has been done many times – the stories have just tended to be highly shitty (e.g. True Crime: Streets of LA). Making these variations interesting is simply a question of resources. If people thought this way in the past there would be no fucking pyramids. Imagine if we could throw that level of resources at a video game (the best 100 writers of fiction working slavishly for a few decades), and you’re beginning to see that in fact a story with many interesting choices in the plot is perfectly achievable!

    The conclusion even admits that the marriage of story and “game” (story AND game… as though they were separate LOL) is perfectly okay. But then bemoans that we can only determine how to make better games at the “mechanical and logical level”. FUCKING BOLLOCKS. Do you idiots think about this shit for even a second before you commit it to posterity? If I have two games, and one is superior aesthetically, then it is fucking better. No mechanical or logical analysis required! A game with a more compelling story is BETTER. A game with more interesting character designs is BETTER. And so on. I mean, where do you pull this shit from? Out of your ass? My post is 100x better thought out than the article, and it’s just some shit I’m blurting out in the moment.

  • Your general tone here is needlessly abusive, first of all. It’s very easy to become frustrated upon seeing a point of view that differs from your own. Just try to remember that if you have a bad attitude while you’re typing a comment, you might as well be writing your comment on a piece of paper and immediately tossing it in the garbage. Like really, what’s the purpose of this comment as it is? To “shout us down” and make us not write more blog posts out of fear or something?

    The point with theme is not garbage, it’s true. The primary purpose of theme is to help players understand actions in games. It’s “free information” that you don’t have to label. If you give someone an object that looks like a hammer, they automatically expect “I can hit stuff down or break stuff with this!”

    As to that linked article, I disagree with his point strongly. In fact, I think that it espouses an incredibly unsophisticated view of interactive entertainment design.

    “When you say “this game has bad gameplay” you are not really giving me any more useful information than if you had simply said “this is a bad game”.”

    No, because gameplay refers to interaction. For example, Etrian Odysee has many great qualities (art, music, presentation), but the interaction (gameplay) is piss-poor RPG grindy crap. If you’d prefer interaction, that’s fine by me, although I like gameplay for referring to the interaction of games, specifically.

    >”taking too much control from the player. But when used well cutscenes add tremendous value.”

    Don’t cutscenes by definition take ALL control from the player? Or are you advocating the insulting HL2-Style “Cutscene Where You Can Get A Worse View Of What’s Happening If You’d Like” model?

    >”For such a set there is no reason to posit the existence of a GREATEST one”

    He just means, the greatest one you’ll be able to come up with. Writing something is a search for “what is the best story I can produce”, not the “absolute best story”.

    >” It is just a very small detail, and games vary such details the most because they are the easiest to vary without introducing inconsistencies! And even the ability to make minor choices in a good story can be wonderfully immersive!”

    You’ll have to explain to me how having the player input a non-meaningful decision such as “do you want red cloak or blue cloak” will increase “immersion”. Also while you’re at it, explain what you mean by “immersion” – people use this word to mean different things.

    >with the “best” (out of such a set there MUST be a “greatest”) being the hardest to reach by the player.

    So you’re making the best story line the hardest for players to access… and yet you still need to be convinced that stories and games don’t belong together?

    >(story AND game… as though they were separate LOL)

    They are separate though. What’s the story of Tetris? Or Chess? Again by story we’re talking about pre-authored narrative.

    > If I have two games, and one is superior aesthetically, then it is fucking better.

    Really? So a beautiful “press X to win” game is better than a dry looking digital Go?

  • Guest

    I’m abusive because you are fucking people up with your shit ideas. Are you saying that I should be a hypocrite, and feign lack of disgust?

    Keith>The point with theme is not garbage, it’s true. The primary purpose of theme is to help players understand actions in games. It’s “free information” that you don’t have to label. If you give someone an object that looks like a hammer, they automatically expect “I can hit stuff down or break stuff with this!”

    The point made was not that people don’t get information from themes. That was never said at any point by me. What was said was that theming, character design etc are used for to create an ILLUSION. Otherwise, they would be diagrammatic and as symbolically clear as possible rather than GOOD LOOKING. Now, please respond to what was actually said.

  • Can you give me an example of where I’m fucking people up with my ideas? Obviously we don’t agree, but I’m curious as to what you might think is an example of a game or some other thing that became worse as a result of my writing.

    I think that this “illusion” business is indeed true, and I talk about it a lot. I refer to this type of thing as “fantasy simulation”. Fantasy simulation is a distinctly different goal than the goals I have for game design. I argue that generally speaking, fantasy simulation works best in “bare interactive systems” – toys. Doing it in a *game*, as I define the word – a thing that can be won and lost, this is a bad idea and will cause internal conflicts on both ends.

  • I’m abusive because you are fucking people up with your shit ideas. Are you saying that I should be a hypocritically polite? You wrote a book on “philosophy of game design” and you clearly do not have a single clue on philosophy. You can’t even put forward a cogent argument. Can you see how that might cause me to dislike you?

    Keith>The point with theme is not garbage, it’s true. The primary purpose of theme is to help players understand actions in games. It’s “free information” that you don’t have to label. If you give someone an object that looks like a hammer, they automatically expect “I can hit stuff down or break stuff with this!”

    The point made was not that people don’t get information from themes. That was never said at any point by me. What was said was that theming, character design etc are used for to create an ILLUSION. Otherwise, they would be diagrammatic and as symbolically clear as possible rather than GOOD LOOKING. Now, please respond to what was actually said.

    Keith> No, because gameplay refers to interaction. For example, Etrian Odysee has many great qualities (art, music, presentation), but the interaction (gameplay) is piss-poor RPG grindy crap.

    In what way are art, music or presentation separate from the interaction? If I press a certain sequence of buttons, that changes what appears on the screen and what comes out of the speakers. Without these things, there is no interaction, and by your own admission (see your comment about themes) the presentation influences the player’s decisions (and thus the interaction between the player and the running game).

    Etrian Odyssey has boring MECHANICS. I can explain what mechanics are for you, if you like.

    Keith> Don’t cutscenes by definition take ALL control from the player?

    They take control from the player for some period of time. In fact, this is happening CONSTANTLY even among your “gameplays”. When you press a button, you often cannot initiate another action until some character animation is finished playing. Effectively you are watching a tiny cutscene until the next frame that you can influence events. DmC Devil May Cry has slightly longer “cutscenes” (3-5 seconds) embedded into the fights, such as when new enemies appear or when you kill the last enemy in a wave. So the only question is: are your cutscenes too long or poorly placed?

    Keith> You’ll have to explain to me how having the player input a non-meaningful decision such as “do you want red cloak or blue cloak” will increase “immersion”. Also while you’re at it, explain what you mean by “immersion” – people use this word to mean different things.

    Where was it specified that the decision be non-meaningful? It was specified that it be a small detail IN THE STORY. That doesn’t mean it is mechanically insignificant. Small decisions may add up to more significant plot changes, e.g. the hero’s death, death of a companion, destruction of the world, etc. And it need not be a conscious decision, either! The button presses semi-consciously make when playing Ninja Gaiden specify tiny details of the plot (e.g. which person gets killed first, whether I run this way or that way and so on). And it immerses me because it is impossible to think of anything else while doing this do to the concentration required, and because if I make too many errors I will lose progress.

    Immersion means something like mental engagement. Rain Man can get immersed in memorizing postal codes. Clever nerds can get immersed in mathematics or programming. Mediocre nerds get immersed in “game systems” instead because they lack the talent for real complex systems. And real people get immersed in an illusion that they can bend to their will.

    Keith>So you’re making the best story line the hardest for players to access… and yet you still need to be convinced that stories and games don’t belong together?

    This is exactly the kind of thing that causes me to berate you. You haven’t made an argument of any kind here. To turn this into an argument you need to explain why it’s bad for the player to have to work for the best version of the story. Is it bad to make the best score the hardest to earn? The inferior versions serve the best version, just as the inferior scores serve the better scores.

    Keith> They are separate though. What’s the story of Tetris? Or Chess? Again by story we’re talking about pre-authored narrative.

    What does this prove (I wonder if for once you will actually answer one of my questions directly)? Let’s suppose Tetris has no story; this does not entail that Mass Effect’s story is separate from the “game”. If you disagree, show your working. Show me the logic that connects those two statements.

    Keith> Really? So a beautiful “press X to win” game is better than a dry looking digital Go?

    You answered this without reading it in context. The claim I was responding to was that you could not create aesthetic guidelines to make future games better. And I demonstrated this to be false by showing the kind of guidelines you can use. In other words, the interpretation needed was “any A is better with more X”. But in your desperation to defend this horrible article you read it as “any A that has more X than B is better than B”. Now that we’ve got that out of the way perhaps you will make another attempt at a rebuttal.

  • modul0

    Very interesting article, it arose questions. If I understand correctly you’re saying that we need to concentrate on games gameplay in order to be able to create guidelines on how to make future works better. How do you take a medium and use guidelines to make its futur better ? I mean, never have I seen anything in all other media (eventhough I agree that games are not like all other media) guidelines that actually helped the “futur” of the medium. Even in painting or writing, or cinema, the “academia” that started those guidelines was actually restricting artists in their expression of art, which is why now it is less popular. I find it very difficult to come up with a set of rules of what defines a game if we are to say that games are art.
    If I look at photography, it took 140 years for photography to be considered an art form. Today it’s undeniable. Yet, we do not have rules of what is a good photographer except maybe for peer recognition. And I must say it basically holds true for all other media. It’s not the fact that a game designer, or a filmmaker, or a painter is popular that makes him good at what he does. It’s when that individual gets recognised through peer recognition (awards, or breakthrough, paradigms).

  • All crafts develop guidelines that are absolutely useful in making them better and more popular. Music theory, color theory for painters, or understanding plot structure for screenwriters.

  • modul0

    Quite right. Yet they do not define the medium itself. Color theory defines what can be used to achieve certain effects and how it’s used to express something, they do not define painting. Color theory is a mere explanation of how something can be done. It suggests that if you use red/orange ish colors you get a warm effect in your painting. Then it’s free to the painter to use it or not. If we define that to have a game you “MUST” have this and that, then you’re defining the medium itself.

  • I don’t think (I’m not an expert obviously) they have quite the same problem in painting. I mean, there aren’t tons of totally different art forms called “painting”. Same with music. There are different genres, but it’s generally pretty clear what the term “music” means. Whereas in (digital) games we have this huge pile of “videogames” including anyhting from toys to puzzles to contests to actual games. And people usually don’t care. There is no serious discussion on the topic of what a game actually is. The FUNDAMENTAL difference seperating Minecraft from Portal from Guitar Hero from Civilization isn’t well understood. And average players probably don’t need to and won’t care anyways. What’s important though, is that game designers or people taking games very seriously think about it and have that discussion. Only after agreeing on certain concepts, can there be useful reasoning about the forms.

    We’re not trying to say what a game must have to be a game! We’re one step ahead of that already. We’ve tried to identify what the core of the form of games is (and we believe it lies in being a contest of ambiguous decision-making, and the definition does really not include anything more in terms of what a game must or must not have; see Keith’s system of forms). NOW we try to discuss guidelines on what might possibly support or hurt that very core.

    Not everyone needs to agree with the definition of “game” to begin with obviously, but EVEN IF YOU DON’T: Take the definition as it is stated and call the resulting system however you like (e.g. “strategy game”, “potentially endlessly replayable game”, “gooblygoo”… whatever really). Then think about whether the guidelines presented in the article or on this blog as a whole might be useful for those kinds of systems.

    As a side note: Huge thanks to Keith and Benjamin again for the opportunity and help with the article!

  • modul0

    Than you, I see the point more clearly now. I must say then that I agree with eveything that was said in this article if we use that definition of games.

  • I’d say that in the world of story and certainly in the world of music, there is some amount of defining the medium going on. Like, there’s a lot written about defining what story is, or what melody is. You are right that color theory is more high-level, but not all theory is.

  • Niccolò Ricchio

    Hi, while i’m almost on the same pages as you about usual interaction between story and games, i must wander, have you ever tried the recent Story Now indie tabletop roleplaying games designs, like dogs in the vineyard?

  • I haven’t, but others have told me about dogs in the vineyard. Can you describe it? Where would it lie on my System of Forms? http://keithburgun.net/system-of-forms/

  • Niccolò Ricchio

    i’m actually a little puzzled by it, can there be understanding without measurement or at least over-emphasized understanding with under-emphasized measurement? the point is, the game does not have a real “win”, but by making you care about the fictional contents you generate makes decision making very meaninful and even painful, and makes it possible to develope universal techniques for improving, and teach them.

    i’ll come back with a descryption of the game later, mind if i ask you where are you coming from, tabletop rpg-wise? also how much you want me to go into details.

  • Niccolò Ricchio

    “i’m actually a little puzzled by it, can there be understanding without measurement or at least over-emphasized understanding with under-emphasized measurement?”

    yeah, of course it’s possible: they are conflicting values!

  • Niccolò Ricchio

    while a i gather my strenght for a full explanation of ditv and await your answers, you could find this article from greg costikyan interesting: http://costik.com/weblog/2003_09_01_blogchive.html as it ties to the article from the same author that you mention;

    expecially “Contrariwise, My Life with Master is a resounding and (I think) successful refutation of my argument that making a game more like a story makes it an inferior game, while making a story more like a game renders it an inferior story.”

  • Niccolò Ricchio

    it’s the second article on the page

  • Niccolò Ricchio

    Awaiting to see if you are still with me…

  • Idontsellwell

    its all about what sells at the end =(

  • dis_pear

    This article is shallow.

    There’s no real exploration of the potential of stories that conform to the reader’s/player’s actions. Choose Your Own Adventure books are bad, because *reasons*, therefore stories in games must be bad. According to the article writer, in a story that has multiple paths, one of them must be “optimal” and the others “sub-optimal” – rather than them just being different from one another.

    Overall this section reads more like a rebuttal of choice than of narrative, and the entire argument crumbles because of it.