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Complicity: The Unique Storytelling Power of Videogames


A growth chart of Elizabeth maturing.

Complicity isn't the only advantage games have as a storytelling medium, but I think it's a powerful tool that we've only just begun to see leveraged. It's one way of fitting the story to the medium, something developers are still experimenting with in different ways. Games like Dear Esther, Minecraft, DayZ, and Beyond: Two Souls continue to explore what makes narrative in a game, what qualifies as gameplay, and how the two can be interrelated.

It's also only fair to note that Bioshock Infinite and Tomb Raider have raised concerns about storytelling in games, too. Particularly, whether their gameplay distracts from their stories, and whether the heavy violence in games like this is necessary. Yet I think if we are experiencing dissonance between story and gameplay in these two titles, it's because they both do the storytelling part of their job so well. How gameplay can be leveraged to support story rather than detract from it is an important question, but one that may take a while for developers to sort out.

In the meantime, though, we have every reason to feel excited and hopeful about the future of videogames as a storytelling medium.
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About Jinx 01one of us since 4:26 PM on 11.18.2011

I love gaming, and I have followed the industry and its technology since I was a kid in the 80's. I have gamed primarily on PC since 2000, though I still follow console news and hardware as well.

I worked as a mapper and beta tester for the mod Action Half-Life. I also make custom images for Steam's grid view, those are over on my website.
Steam ID:cryotek


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