A Nintendo community
for the fans, by the fans!
Browse    1  2  
Let's talk story in games... And worlds [roundtable]
 
Which games in your opinion had the mist intricate, grabbing, heartfelt, revolutionary stories?

And what about universes? Which games had a world that mesmerized and spoke to you?

Beyond good & evil had a wonderful world and likable characters. I was sucked in as soon as the opening started

Chronology trigger had (multiple) worlds that are so dear to me now and a very grabbing story

Okami had a gorgeous realm of nature and ancient. Perhaps one of the greatest feelings of freedom I felt in a game

While some disliked the ship travel, wind waked was a game with a great feel of adventure and discovery. A touching story and a colossal surprise (when the tower emerged from the ocean leading to hyrule)

I also loved TP (big evangelion moment when midna transforms) plus, as I said in other threads, a game where going out of bonds gave me the best feeling in the world)

I liked Little king's story's universe and, while the story seemed superficial it was FULL of mature
"innuendos" (and yes, some xxx too)

Then there's Fragile... One piece of gem that got me captivated
in front of the tv for hours and hours.

Believe it or not, as far as story, while it was not complex super Mario galaxy (in my opinion the better game vs smg2) made me quite emotional and I am very attached to the game and worlds presented... I just wish there were "bigger/non linear" levels like SMS

Maybe not a world but rather
a state of mind, animal crossing was touching when your favorite animals left your town (miss u Antonio)

Omg I'm being a sap

Maybe not for the story, but the metroid prime series had gorgeous universes
that I'd love to visit

My brain is damaged so I can't think of anything else now...

URL to share this content (right click and copy link)
Posted: 01/18/11, 03:27:13  - Edited by 
 on: 01/18/11, 09:18:26
[ Share ]
 
Why not sign up for a (free) account and create your own content?
 
I'd have to say Nosgoth from the Legacy of Kain series. There's just something about the original game, Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, that is just... I don't know, it's hard to explain it. I think the world is just so well done and very representative of the time the game is set in. The visuals, the voice acting, and especially the music all create a world that is very moody to the point that it almost feels uncomfortable to play yet its story and gameplay keeps you hooked until the end.

The other games in the series are amazing as well but I don't think they quite capture that same feel that Blood Omen did. Since Crystal Dynamics is releasing a HD collection of the Tomb Raider games, I wouldn't mind to see them tackle the Legacy of Kain series as well. Blood Omen in HD and shorter load times would be an instant purchase for me. Soul Reaver was already released on the Dreamcast so there wouldn't me too much work left to do. It's been one of my top gaming wishes for this generation to at least get one game to continue the storyline of Kain but nothing so far
Posted: 01/18/11, 03:36:49
The term "revolutionary" and "videogame story" are in-congruent terms. They don't exist. Even the very best videogame stories fall somewhere between average and slightly above average as far as general storytelling goes. I've never played a videogame with a story even close to being comparable with a good book or movie.

That said I really liked Knights of the Old Republic last generation. It kept me hooked. Mass Effect and Dragon Age both while obviously pandering to a teenage audience have sufficient stories and well fleshed out characters, races, people, locations, etc.

Deus Ex is still probably one of my favorite stories of all time just because at the time the game had such a huge impact on me and literally changed how I looked at gaming. It was the first game I ever played with true "choice" in it and I have been hooked eve since.

Wind Waker like you said was a very charming world and I really loved that game. Metroid Prime also has an absolutely fantastic world to explore... one of my all time favorite Nintendo games.

Bioshock's backstory was great. Probably the most atmospheric game of the generation. Everything else about it was pretty good as well however uncovering what happened at Rapture was one of the bigger game treats for me this generation.

Half Life 2 is imo still the king of utilizing in game scenarios to tell a story in the fps genre... nobody does it as well. The characters in the Half Life games come to life more than any other videogame characters I've ever played with. That said the story while good isn't great, it's more about how it's being told.
Posted: 01/18/11, 03:39:20
@Oldmanwinter

I actually ment revolutionary in the literal sense - as in the characters were starting a revolution. Otherwise yes, you are right (maybe with the exception of captain rainbow :P)

I'm obviously real bored otherwise I wouldn't post this kind of thread
Posted: 01/18/11, 03:52:19
I'm pretty hard to please with stories in games... you'll usually see me spouting the line that I "don't care" about them, but that's just because they are usually so mediocre. But when it is done right, I do appreciate it!

So let's do a top 3 thing:

Metal Gear Solid: Ah, before things went to shit. Gripping story, characters that I adore, well-written and memorable dialogue spoken by great actors... sure, things got a little silly from time to time, but it was all in good fun... only to remind you that you're playing a video game.

Deus Ex: Hoo boy, isn't it amazing that this game was made before 9/11 caused America to go full-retard? It seems almost prophetic about a great number of things that have happened (and are happening). The story is well told and philosophically engaging... you can make choices in the game without realizing that you are doing so, and whether or not they are morally good or evil is highly subjective... hell, there isn't even an ideal ending.

Grim Fandango: Funniest game I've ever played. What's not to love? Story, characters, dialogue... all memorable.
Posted: 01/18/11, 04:07:48
The best story has to be 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors.
Posted: 01/18/11, 04:10:50  - Edited by 
 on: 01/18/11, 04:11:20
@Hinph

OK.

1) Deus Ex

...

Honestly the list for me drops off so precipitously after that game I'm not even going to bother listing another one.
Posted: 01/18/11, 04:34:13
I'm intrigues. Don't know anything about Deus ex
Posted: 01/18/11, 04:38:32  - Edited by 
 on: 01/18/11, 04:39:25
In terms of traditional video game stories, I think Metal Gear Solid 3's is the one that I enjoyed the most.

But Ico in particular wowed me.
Posted: 01/18/11, 04:53:35
Fabz said:
I'm intrigues. Don't know anything about Deus ex

At the time it was the greatest game I've ever played. It's aged badly in terms of how it looks, and it's a little clunky however it's a fucking outstanding game even today. Steam sells it for like $5 on occasion. Check it out. Give it at least five hours, it takes a while to grow on you.

@Paperclyp

Yeah. I'm not a huge MGS buff however MGS3 was a fantastic game and definitely MGS "done right".
Posted: 01/18/11, 05:10:01
If you can get over the visuals of Deus Ex, the game still holds up incredibly well from a design perspective... you won't find such clever level design in most games even today. Even the sequels in the same series are watered down...
Posted: 01/18/11, 05:15:25
Interesting. I'll check it out.

And I also nbever got into mgs, just like donkey kong or starfox

Probably, the only game that had a rebound on me was Kirby (first game being the Nes one on the vc immediately followed by the ds release
Posted: 01/18/11, 05:41:39
The first Mass Effect was pretty well done from a universe/info standing point. The shit you could read up on was just fascinating. They created that universe, gave it some history, and then gave you some control on how it was molded. I'm working on the second one right now and I can't help but feel a little sad that they took such steps back from this design for the sequel.

Metroid Prime is a good example, I don't think I've ever been so wowed by a gaming environment before. The lore in that game was also good to read.

Namely, I wish developers would spend more time fleshing out their universes. Zelda, for example, is just self-contained with little connectors here and there. How awesome would it be to have a game take place at the end of the "time line" and feature a massive library that just detailed the entire history of Hyrule? Man, it'd be awesome.
Posted: 01/18/11, 05:55:04
Oldmanwinter said:
The term "revolutionary" and "videogame story" are in-congruent terms. They don't exist. Even the very best videogame stories fall somewhere between average and slightly above average as far as general storytelling goes. I've never played a videogame with a story even close to being comparable with a good book or movie.
I strongly disagree with this. Storytelling is usually secondary in gaming and even some of the better ones are often quite flawed, but "the very best" video game stories are far better than above-average, and certainly comparable to plenty of good books and movies.

Some that immediately come to mind:

Mother 3 -- Outstanding themes explored in a number of ways, lovely semi-minimalist approach, a great mix of humor and heart, comedy and tragedy.

Phoenix Wright (series) -- More for the characters themselves and the personal journeys they go through. The story arcs of Edgeworth, Phoenix, the Feys, and Dahlia are particularly notable.

Final Fantasy 3/6
-- Just all-around solid with a great cast. I particularly enjoyed the linearity of the first half mixed with the more character-driven personal journeys of the second half.

I'm not saying these stories are among the greatest of all time or anything, but I certainly think they're very good and can measure up to plenty of decent approaches in other mediums (film, literature, theater, television). And such a blanket statement as "even the best game stories are mediocre compared to decent books" is about as unfair as saying "no play can ever be as action-packed as a movie." A lot of game stories are terrible, but why brush off the entire medium just because that's not where many developers put their efforts?
Posted: 01/18/11, 05:56:43  - Edited by 
 on: 01/18/11, 05:57:26
@TriforceBun

Agreed.

Also, I feel that game stories go beyond the plot. Because most video games don't really have a set story - just the plot. The story itself is played out by the player. All the secrets, the exploration, discoveries, etc... all of that is felt by the player - experience first-hand. Not even the best books or movies can do that. All storytelling in those mediums is done second-hand. Or third. Far less compelling than a good video game experience, IMHO. Of course, these are completely different mediums, so it's kind of pointless to compare anyway.

On topic: I love the universe of Pokémon. Sure, it's silly and the technology doesn't make any sense, but... hey. It's charming as hell and it works. What else matters?

The Legend of Zelda games are all interesting, but the most "immersive" world I've experienced in a Zelda title is Termina from Majora's Mask. The atmosphere was just so freakin' thick and foreboding in that game. Eerie, desperate, meloncholy.... yet still retaining that classic "Nintendo Charm" - it was really amazing. I loved that game, and the story it had. Great stuff.

9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors has a similar feeling to Majora's Mask, and I loved that game as well. Of course, that game was more or less grounded in reality (... kind of ...) but it still had that eerie/dark/foreboding atmosphere that was really intriguing and interesting to me. I wouldn't want to experience anything those characters did myself, but it was quite a ride.

Finally, I really liked the world of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time last generation. Charming, yet dangerous and full of adventure. Too bad Ubi screwed the pooch with the sequel. Even the "fixed" third game in the series couldn't bring it back entirely.
Posted: 01/18/11, 06:13:52
What's wrong with your brain?
Posted: 01/18/11, 06:17:19
TriforceBun said:
Oldmanwinter said:
The term "revolutionary" and "videogame story" are in-congruent terms. They don't exist. Even the very best videogame stories fall somewhere between average and slightly above average as far as general storytelling goes. I've never played a videogame with a story even close to being comparable with a good book or movie.
I strongly disagree with this. Storytelling is usually secondary in gaming and even some of the better ones are often quite flawed, but "the very best" video game stories are far better than above-average, and certainly comparable to plenty of good books and movies.

No. Simply no. The absolute best videogames ever made might rival an above average movie. Maybe. Books though? Absolutely no way in Hell. Movies have a hard time doing books justice, I've never seen it done in a game. The last seven books I've read in the past 4 months are the following:

Cold Mountain
The Anubus Gates
The Shadow of the Wind
The Wind Up Bird Chronicle
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Woo
100 Years of Solitude

There hasn't been a game ever made that comes within a billion miles of any of those from a storytelling perspective. Maybe Wind Up Bird just because it's such an abstract book but even then. I mean take Mass Effect, which is probably the best sci fi story ever told in a game and put it up against Hyperion, Ender's Game and Dune. You think it's even remotely close? It's so far off the mark it's laughable to even insinuate it... and I love Mass Effect. Let's be realistic here...
Posted: 01/18/11, 07:22:28  - Edited by 
 on: 01/18/11, 07:24:10
Exactly. It seems that the best you can hope for from a game story is... popcorn comic book movie.

Which is why I maintain my "gameplay first, don't really care all that much about story" stance when it comes to games. Plenty of other great story mediums out there, so it doesn't hurt much.
Posted: 01/18/11, 07:36:09
My fiancee and I got into a short conversation about this the other day, oddly enough. I mentioned to her that out of all of the video game worlds there are I would choose to live in the Pokemon universe. She sort of chuckled, but I had to explain:

As long as the rules are similar to the anime (electricity coursing through my body won't outright kill me), it is the BEST universe ever! You can collect super-smart creatures and form amazing bonds with them... Meet lots of trainers and make tonnes of friends while essentially cockfighting legally (The Pokemon are born for it!). Plus, Nurse Joy... Oh yes.
Heck, you can hitch rides on giant birds... OR A FRIGGIN CHARIZARD. What's not to love?

If I were to choose the most engrossing game story-wise and universe-wise, it would be Grim Fandango. The music, art direction and the characters just made that game magical to me.
Posted: 01/18/11, 07:39:16
@Oldmanwinter
The problem is that many games try to tell stories in the same way a movie does, and this typically doesn't work particularly well. It's when games utilize the strength of the medium for immersion that things really get interesting. And I'm not even talking about that good/evil choice stuff.

Books and movies tell their stories in a linear fashion. Yes, sometimes the story itself will be nonlinear, but there's still only one "path" the reader/viewer should follow, and it always has the same result.

For games, there's so much more to the storytelling than the basic plot. I think you're taking that one aspect of a game's story and world and ignoring all the other parts. Let's look at Majora's Mask: on its surface, the core storyline is pretty straightforward. But the truly rewarding aspects of the game's tale involve a little player interaction. The characterization of the denizens of Clock Town is all extremely well-handled, complete with insights into the various ways humanity may react to the fact that the end of the world is nearing (Do you run? Do you stay behind with loved ones? Are you bound to your duty? Do you deny it's happening? Are you angry? Are you upset? Are you hopeful?). Beyond that, you learn of their relationships with each other, and help them confront their own demons and issues through various gameplay-related challenges.

Above all else, though--and here's the important part--this is all done through player interaction. I'm sure there are thousands of people who've beaten MM but never met Kafei. This stuff isn't thrown in your face; it's hidden behind layers of gameplay, exploration, and interaction meant to reward the inquisitive player and draw him further and further into its own world. Many players will never make the connection between the butler's son and the wooden deku figure, never discover the cowering swordsman on the third day, never see Cremia consciously not letting her sister know of the end of the world. But like in many games (ex. Metroid Prime), it's a treat learning about the world and characters through that sense of discovery.

And each cycle, you've only got a limited amount of time to make things right. Personally, I felt a little guilty the whole time, even fixing one place's problems because I knew that elsewhere, things were going terribly once again. I might be saving the Zora eggs today, but 1) the Deku swamp is still poisoned, 2) a girl got abducted and brainwashed, 3) an innkeeper will not meet her lost love, 4) the Gorons are freezing to death, etc. It gave everything I did in MM a sort of bittersweet feeling; this is the kind of stuff you can only get in a game.

Immersion IS story. Just as a good writer sets the scene and creates worlds with his descriptive words, so too do game developers do so with visuals, sound, characters, and lore. And by design, no movie or book can match the level of immersion a game could potentially provide. In the last case of the second Phoenix Wright game, you're forced to make an incredibly difficult and heart-wrenching decision with no easy answer. If this was a movie, you might be drawn in to feel that you're right there with Phoenix...but you'd be passively watching him solve this on his own. But since this is a video game, you ARE Phoenix, and your decisions have a lot of (fictional) lives on the line!

So I guess that's what I'm trying to say. Way too many elements of games are overlooked when it comes to story, and these pieces really come together to form a narrative whole.

See also Silent Hill: Shattered Memories for a good example of player interaction being a major factor in the storytelling.
Posted: 01/18/11, 08:59:08  - Edited by 
 on: 01/18/11, 09:07:12
TriforceBun said:
And each cycle, you've only got a limited amount of time to make things right. Personally, I felt a little guilty the whole time, even fixing one place's problems because I knew that elsewhere, things were going terribly once again. I might be saving the Zora eggs today, but 1) the Deku swamp is still poisoned, 2) a girl got abducted and brainwashed, 3) an innkeeper will not meet her lost love, 4) the Gorons are freezing to death, etc. It gave everything I did in MM a sort of bittersweet feeling; this is the kind of stuff you can only get in a game.

Or Bill Murray.


But, seriously, good post. I think you just made me respect Majora's Mask a lot more, even though I still can't play it.
Posted: 01/18/11, 16:34:10
Browse    1  2