Storytelling in Video Games – Take a Hint from Literature

Most people think of video games as of some mindless collection of pixels where people run about killing other pixels. Sure, it can be that way, looking at you, Call of Duty, but likewise, it can also be quite narrative-driven, also, some Call of Duty titles, believe it or not.

Even though people think of many video games as mindless shooters where you run about killing stuff, not every shooter, even, was well accepted or received, or even got attention for more than a week. Yet, if you’d like to play a couple of video games that require you to think before you act, here’s a list to look at.

Planescape: Torment

This game shaped the way many modern games are written and told. The story puts you in the shoes of The Nameless One, an immortal amnesiac. The game centers around the questions “What can change the nature of a man”. While trying to recover your past and discover who you were and who you’re at that moment, you’ll meet some interesting people, succubuses and skulls along the way. It’s a prime example of what a blurry game looks like.

The Witcher Series

Adapted from the Witcher series of books by Andrzej Sapkowski, the Witcher series of video games center around Geralt, a monster slayer, witcher, in other words. There are rarely a bunch of games which never present you with a good choice, or a bad one, for that matter. The games blur the lines between good and evil, giving you a relatively great representation of the world as it is, but in a middle-age fantasy setting. Beware of your own choices, they’ll be back to haunt you, sometimes literally.

Alan Wake

Alan Wake is a writer and while on vacation with his wife by a lovely lake, he’s taken into a strange world where shadows and words want to kill him. Explore this psychologically-driven game, while trying to find out what’s Alan facing and whether it’s real or not. Symbolism plays a great part in this video game.

Note, Remedy’s Max Payne 1 & 2 are some of the best psychological games as well. Remedy has a great reputation when it comes to storytelling and narration.

Chrono Trigger

Back in 1994, nobody thought that a time travel game could be so successful. You went to a fair one day, enjoying a nice day when all of a sudden, you and a couple of friends are thrown throughout time to meet lovely characters such as a cursed knight, a cavewoman, a robot who wants to find out his own humanity and a dark plot to end that world you’ve come to love, past, present and future. This oldie has 11 different endings so choose wisely!

Bioshock

Bioshock is set in a world where dystopian cities exist and Ayn Rand’s philosophies are taken to a new level, a negative one. A perfect man can build quite a city, and you’re trapped in it, unraveling its mysteries and trying to find your own place in that new, unforgiving world. The series itself is great and you will definitely find a good story here, based on literature, no less.

The Mass Effect Trilogy

Trilogy because Andromeda, while a great game, doesn’t contribute to the greatness which is Shepard and his/her companions. Gather your squad of aliens, die, be resurrected, fight alien robot-organics for survival and have fun along the way. On a serious note, rarely does a series give you such an intimate relationship with its co-characters, your crew and squadmates.

There are many more great games with a great narrative, yet these ought to keep you interested long enough.

 

Author: Jason

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *