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Ffordesoon avatar 12:21 PM on 03.06.2009  (server time)
Something To Think About

Just posted this as a comment here, but I figured the relevant portion was important enough to warrant its own post. Changed slightly to make it feel more complete as a piece of writing:

With video game storytelling, the biggest problem is pretty simple: devs are usually so focused on making the game a "good" experience for the player that they feel compelled to take fewer risks with storytelling. As a result, you get a lot of cliches that could be easily subverted but aren't, and very few genuinely surprising moments of real emotion. As long as developers confuse positive emotions with real emotions, we won't see nearly as many truly great stories in games as we see in other mediums. Think about, for example, how you felt when Aeris died. Now imagine that you could have saved her, but didn't make it in time. Oh, and it autosaves as soon as she dies. I submit that that moment would have been substantially more affecting. It would not, however, be a moment most devs would dare put into their games, because that would "negatively affect the player experience."

Not that gamers aren't to blame as well. Consider the example of a game like Dead Spsce; I was often amused to see reviewers mention that Isaac felt "like a glorified repairman" at certain points, completely missing the fact that Isaac's job is that of - shock horror! - a repairman. But because the game didn't go out of its way to "make you feel like a badass," it was criticized.

So yes, this idea that the player is entitled to "feeling good" throughout a game is messing up otherwise interesting stories, and I won't stand for it any more.

[rousingspeech]Now who's with me!?[/rousingspeech]

Anyway. Something to consider next time you're hammering away at the buttons.

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