A few weeks ago Joe wrote a post about storytelling in video games. And while I agree with him that the story is extremely important, I came to the realisation that I really don’t pay attention to the story when I’m playing a game. In fact I have never played a game just for the story line and there is a few reasons for this.
First, some of the games I play don’t have or even need a story line. Games like Theme Hospital or Rollercoaster Tycoon. I mean you can’t exactly turn managing a hospital or building a rollercoaster into a game.
Then you have games like Minecraft which literally has no story line. You’re dropped into a world and you’re given the decision of what you want to do next. Some people play the game and finish it (kill the ender dragon), some people go off and explore and some people (like myself) just enjoy building giant castles. The story is literally whatever you want to be.
And then you have games which are so much fun I simply don’t pay attention to the story. Why try and kill dragons in Skyrim when you could pretend to be Katniss Everdeen shooting innocent bunny rabbits. Halo 3 is one of the best games I’ve played but I have no idea what actually happens in that game. Its one of the only games when I’ve played the multi-player because I enjoyed the multiplayer so much. In fact one of my favourite gaming memories – racing my best friend through the last level – happened in this game. I have no idea why we were racing through the level while the world went to shit around us, but it was damn good fun.
This is just something I’ve always done. When I was a kid I loved the Tomb Raider games, I bought the walkthroughs and everything (anyone remember a time when you had to buy a walkthrough?), but I have never actually finished a single Tomb Raider game. Admittedly that’s because a large part of those games scared the shit out of me. But mostly because I enjoyed the game play so much that I wasn’t bothered about actually finishing it. In fact my cousin and I made our own little game which involved finding the most creative way to kill Lara Croft. This usually meant finding the tallest thing for her to jump off of. But I still love those games.
I agree with Joe that you need a fantastic story to make the game good. But that game also needs to be fun to play.