The Atlantic

Video Games Are Better Without Stories

Film, television, and literature all tell them better. So why are games still obsessed with narrative?
Source: Giant Sparrow

A longstanding dream: Video games will evolve into interactive stories, like the ones that play out fictionally on the Star Trek Holodeck. In this hypothetical future, players could interact with computerized characters as round as those in novels or films, making choices that would influence an ever-evolving plot. It would be like living in a novel, where the player’s actions would have as much of an influence on the story as they might in the real world.

It’s an almost impossible bar to reach, for cultural reasons as much as technical ones. One shortcut is an approach called environmental storytelling. Environmental stories invite players to discover and reconstruct a fixed story from the environment itself. Think of it as the novel wresting the real-time, first-person, 3-D graphics engine from the hands of the shooter game. In Disneyland’s Peter Pan’s Flight, for example, dioramas summarize the plot and setting of the film. In the 2007 game BioShock, recorded messages in an elaborate, Art Deco environment provide context for a story of a utopia’s fall. And in What Remains of Edith Finch, a new game about a girl piecing together a family curse, narration is accomplished through artifacts discovered in an old house.

The approach raises many questions. Are the resulting interactive stories really interactive, when all the player does is assemble something from parts? Are they really stories, when they are

Stai leggendo un'anteprima, registrati per continuare a leggere.

Altro da The Atlantic

The Atlantic8 min lettiAmerican Government
How Biden Plans to Beat Republican Obstructionism
History suggests that Joe Biden and the Democrats are going to have a tough two years and a disaster in the midterms. Here’s their plan to avoid that.
The Atlantic8 min lettiAmerican Government
Trump’s Parting Gift to Joe Biden
Tension within the Republican coalition over the Capitol riot could push GOP-leaning voters into the new president’s camp.
The Atlantic4 min lettiAmerican Government
The Biden Generation’s Last Chance
The country’s future now rests in the hands of a generation that won’t be around to see the outcomes of its decisions.