The most vocal people in the games industry, be it script writers, developers or jornalists, seems to often talk about how bad games stories are (or how much BETTER theirs are, in case of developers), how plots are simple or characters generics and clichéd, etc. Usually there are comparisons to movies or books, as exemples of narrative done right.
I won't say they are wrong; i do read good books and watch good movies, i see the difference in average quality of narrative - but that's from one specific paradigm - of a narrative medium. My point is, games aren't narrative mediuns, but a different activity outright - that has more to do with puzzles, sports or even tourism (think adventure, rpgs and any game that has an expansive worls to explore).
But that DOESN'T mean game storylines, lores and plots doesnt matter!
Its quite the opposite: they are, in the end, what really make great, unforgettable videogame classics, that make that medium something different from other game type activities, like tabletop games or sports.
But what really matters, give the type of activity we are talking about, isn't the plot, the meanings, the deepness of characters; its the world - the one we interact with. The backstory, lore, that what truly matters. Even on games that arent narrative driven, like arcade style action, competitive shooters, mmorpgs, (the most widepread and lucrative genres, by the way) the backstory,scenario, characters and setting are invaluable. Those are what videogames, all of then, have in common, not narratives.
Think about it: from the start, what makes a mario or a sonic game specialy compelling is the characters, the world they live, the ones you control and the place you explore. of course, gameplay IS important; but it alone cant garantee the games sucess - or its cult status. There's a lot of games with better gameplay than the ones we love; but thats not what makes we love then. Have fun, yes. Love, no.
Franchises, licensed games, all that existis, are predominant and sells well because what really matter in most games are their backstories, NOT the actual (if any) narratives. In the end, narratives aren't playable; worlds are.
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