Video Game Narrative

General and high profile video game topics.
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scotland
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Re: Video Game Narrative

Postby scotland » April 20th, 2015, 7:31 pm

DaHeckIzDat wrote:Okay, here's another question: what is/are the best video game stories you've ever heard?


I'll put out the challenge to do more than that - don't just name drop a game, like "Mass Effect is a great story". Back it up. Tell us why.

What about it makes you think its a great story? What is the setting? What is its theme? What is its plot? What are the characters like? What touched you, or moved you, or made you think? How is the story structured? What about its pacing? What is its tone? Did you learn anything? Did it challenge you in any way beyond gameplay? Did you laugh? Did you cry? or just kiss 40 bucks goodbye?

Then you can go beyond that -- was it a great story *and* still a great game? That is a pretty high bar, I agree, but so what. A great movie has to be a great story and a great movie. A great play has to be a great story and a great play. A great book has to be a great story and a great book. A great video game has the same dual challenge.

Vexer6
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Re: Video Game Narrative

Postby Vexer6 » April 20th, 2015, 11:41 pm

Best story is easily the Mass Effect series, Fallout 3, New Vegas and GTAV also have really outstanding stories.

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JustLikeHeaven
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Re: Video Game Narrative

Postby JustLikeHeaven » April 21st, 2015, 10:27 am

I'm all for narrative as long as it makes sense for the game you're playing.

I tend to like RPGs and JRPGs and I expect those to be filled with lots of story and dialog. If I'm playing a shooter or an action game I expect the stories to be short and sweet. Games that do it really well are Resident Evil 4, Devil May Cry 3, Uncharted and Dragon's Crown. Those games all had great pacing and you were quickly back to the gameplay.

I also tend to give most Nintendo games a pass. I don't care how Bowser has kidnapped Peach this time. Just show me one silly cuts-scene and let me get to the awesome platforming goodness! Twilight Princess had just enough story elements for me as well.

One thing that I cannot stand in most modern games is voice acting for every character. This is true in games like Oblivion, Fallout, Dragon Age etc...basically most Western RPGs. You'll talk to some random pig farmer and he'll have like 20 lines of poorly voiced dialog. It's brutal and just tests my patients. I would prefer if the character didn't have anything important to say that a line of text would appear over his head...or he would just spout a quick one liner. If a character has nothing to add to the story or if they aren't providing a quest or mission just gloss over them. Don't force me to go into a separate dialog screen with them. The big thing that's annoying about this is that you feel like you're constantly missing out on stuff. Like, if you don't talk to everyone in the town you'll miss a mission or a side quest. When I go back and play games like Final Fantasy VI or Chrono Trigger it's so nice to be able to read all of the story and dialog. For one thing it forces me to pay attention more and it usually gives the game more of an impact. Most voice acting is downright terrible and very few games can accurate mimic facial details and movements of someone talking. So instead of paying attention to the story I'm focused on these terrible inaccuracies. Then I think of how expensive it is to hire all the talent for all the voice work. That money would be better served polishing the game or improving something else.

I don't play games for stories. If a game has a great story I consider it a bonus. I play games because I want something fun to do in my downtime. I personally think games put far too much emphasis on story these days and the overall product tends to suffer as a result.

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DaHeckIzDat
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Re: Video Game Narrative

Postby DaHeckIzDat » April 21st, 2015, 11:09 am

JustLikeHeaven wrote:I'm all for narrative as long as it makes sense for the game you're playing.

I tend to like RPGs and JRPGs and I expect those to be filled with lots of story and dialog. If I'm playing a shooter or an action game I expect the stories to be short and sweet. Games that do it really well are Resident Evil 4, Devil May Cry 3, Uncharted and Dragon's Crown. Those games all had great pacing and you were quickly back to the gameplay.

I also tend to give most Nintendo games a pass. I don't care how Bowser has kidnapped Peach this time. Just show me one silly cuts-scene and let me get to the awesome platforming goodness! Twilight Princess had just enough story elements for me as well.

One thing that I cannot stand in most modern games is voice acting for every character. This is true in games like Oblivion, Fallout, Dragon Age etc...basically most Western RPGs. You'll talk to some random pig farmer and he'll have like 20 lines of poorly voiced dialog. It's brutal and just tests my patients. I would prefer if the character didn't have anything important to say that a line of text would appear over his head...or he would just spout a quick one liner. If a character has nothing to add to the story or if they aren't providing a quest or mission just gloss over them. Don't force me to go into a separate dialog screen with them. The big thing that's annoying about this is that you feel like you're constantly missing out on stuff. Like, if you don't talk to everyone in the town you'll miss a mission or a side quest. When I go back and play games like Final Fantasy VI or Chrono Trigger it's so nice to be able to read all of the story and dialog. For one thing it forces me to pay attention more and it usually gives the game more of an impact. Most voice acting is downright terrible and very few games can accurate mimic facial details and movements of someone talking. So instead of paying attention to the story I'm focused on these terrible inaccuracies. Then I think of how expensive it is to hire all the talent for all the voice work. That money would be better served polishing the game or improving something else.

I don't play games for stories. If a game has a great story I consider it a bonus. I play games because I want something fun to do in my downtime. I personally think games put far too much emphasis on story these days and the overall product tends to suffer as a result.


One thing I liked in the game Nier was that there was plenty of unimportant NPCs with voice actors, but everything they said was while you were walking past them. Things like, "I wonder what I should make for dinner tonight?", "The Black Scrawl is here too?", or "You tell that daughter of yours to get better soon." But when you go to actually talk to them, you get text dialog with maybe an "Oh my!", or "Hello!", to initiate the conversation.

Vexer6
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Re: Video Game Narrative

Postby Vexer6 » April 21st, 2015, 11:41 am

I really don't see why voice-acting for every character is a bad thing, I for one love it, as it really helps with immersing me into the game's world, I also strongly disagree that most voice acting is terrible, for the most part I haven't seen too many games with awful voice acting(except for really bad games like Limbo of the Lost), I don't really pay attention to whether a game accurately depicts facial details(the only times where I really noticed characters lip-synching being off was in the Sonic Adventure games), I disagree that the money should've been spent on something else.

I also strongly disagree that games put too much emphasis on stories, I for one say games should keep on doing that, I don't think it makes them "suffer" at all.

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DaHeckIzDat
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Re: Video Game Narrative

Postby DaHeckIzDat » April 21st, 2015, 12:05 pm

Vexer6 wrote:I really don't see why voice-acting for every character is a bad thing, I for one love it, as it really helps with immersing me into the game's world, I also strongly disagree that most voice acting is terrible, for the most part I haven't seen too many games with awful voice acting(except for really bad games like Limbo of the Lost), I don't really pay attention to whether a game accurately depicts facial details(the only times where I really noticed characters lip-synching being off was in the Sonic Adventure games), I disagree that the money should've been spent on something else.

I also strongly disagree that games put too much emphasis on stories, I for one say games should keep on doing that, I don't think it makes them "suffer" at all.


In my experience, most of the games with bad voice work are from Japan. If you want to see some really hilarious acting, check out the cutscenes from Arc Rise Fantasia.
https://youtu.be/zygDzAkothQ

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Rev
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Re: Video Game Narrative

Postby Rev » April 21st, 2015, 1:40 pm

I think voice acting is actually pretty solid nowadays. Sure sometimes you get a bad apple but most of the time it is pretty great. I guess I'm used to 90s fmv games or really act genre from back then. Other then games like snatcher, mgs, and a few others, most games back then had truly terrible voice work. On the other hand I think when companies use grunts or sounds followed by text (so no real talking... Typically Mario) that also works really well. Games like sonic have aged poorly (3d games) in large part due to the trouble voice work (in addition to bad camera angles and other failed ideas).

LoganRuckman
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Re: Video Game Narrative

Postby LoganRuckman » April 21st, 2015, 1:58 pm

To answer Scotland's question, my all time favorite game story would have to be... Custer's Revenge! :roll:

I kid, I kid, it's actually Pong. :roll:

Okay, being serious now, I probably have to go with Majora's Mask, because it was the complete package. You had the dark, depressing atmosphere, with the moon and time limit actually providing a sense of panic, which is something some horror games fail to do. And the NPCs are perhaps the most fully fleshed of any Zelda game. Each character has their own story, and you see the pain and sorrow that Skull Kid caused each of them. Skull Kid himself is a tragic character, feeling abandoned and tossed to the side. And Tatl is a much better, more fleshed out, and less annoying character than Navi. MM is a masterpiece in every way, including narrative.

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DaHeckIzDat
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Re: Video Game Narrative

Postby DaHeckIzDat » April 21st, 2015, 4:23 pm

LoganRuckman wrote:To answer Scotland's question, my all time favorite game story would have to be... Custer's Revenge! :roll:

I kid, I kid, it's actually Pong. :roll:

Okay, being serious now, I probably have to go with Majora's Mask, because it was the complete package. You had the dark, depressing atmosphere, with the moon and time limit actually providing a sense of panic, which is something some horror games fail to do. And the NPCs are perhaps the most fully fleshed of any Zelda game. Each character has their own story, and you see the pain and sorrow that Skull Kid caused each of them. Skull Kid himself is a tragic character, feeling abandoned and tossed to the side. And Tatl is a much better, more fleshed out, and less annoying character than Navi. MM is a masterpiece in every way, including narrative.


The time limit is one of the reasons I'm most excited to play Lightning Returns. It's a Final Fantasy story (with the usual amazing graphics) with a sense of urgency like Majora's Mask gives you.

Vexer6
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Re: Video Game Narrative

Postby Vexer6 » April 21st, 2015, 7:33 pm

Definitely disagree on Sonic, I think Sonic Adventure 2 has aged pretty damn well(lip-synching issues aside).


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