Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Thoughts on Narratives

Ever since games moved past the pure skill and guts stage of Contra and the story in games has become increasingly more important. Many times games are even graded down for having a shallow storyline. Some critics may be too hard for expectantly more than two dimensional characters out of every game. Typical stories in video games only serve as an excuse to kill things, jump around on platforms, and solve puzzles. Tetris Plus' story was a professor and his hot anime assistant are trapped in crypt and need to solve puzzles to survive and that’s all it needs, actually, it might have been a little too much story. Not every game is going to have witty dialog and real feeling characters like clerks or anything written by Woody Allen.

This being said, games that focus on story better blood well have good ones. Stories do have rules that need to be fallowed in order to qualify. Plot usually accompanied by a theme or several overtone themes. The plot is what happens. The Animaniacs, as the theme song announces, is about crazy siblings escaping from a water tower. Themes sublet and not so subtle are messages and ideas in the plot that are related to the genre of the story. Genre is the job class of movies and can be predictable because they fit the genre archetype. It isn't a horrible thing, being predictable. In Shakespeare's plays he gave away they end in the opening lines and if that wasn't enough constantly foreshadowed the ending. Tragedy, the protagonist dies-sad. Comedy, everyone gets married- happy mood, any sadness or discomfort from of a character is funny. Drama, about personal character conflict heavy handed with emotion- the mood is usually messy. Good stories have complex characters; they are not completely good, evil, smart, stupid, or any extreme. Like in DnD stats the idea is balance. A story can get away with a larger-than-life character if there is a huge glaring weakness. Superman is not a balanced and could only become balanced if his weakness was something more than magical items and kryptonite. The phrases cookie cutter or two dimensional (that I've used) mean that the character balance is stereotypical or there is no balance like the big strong character that is stupid. The protagonist, often referred to as the hero,

Enough of my expectations, to the point of Grand Theft Auto, The first game was focused on the sandbox. Do what you want and the character won't object because he is a mute pipit to your desires. This worked because in order have an character do the crap that we do in GTA they would have to have almost no character like cloud from GTA3, be a egotistical maniac like in Tommy Verceti, be deprived and conditioned like CJ, or be really Fscked up like Niko.

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