Apparently some concepts aren't "too video-gamey" to work with

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In my research to understand writing and find a way to digest the fact that people are becoming more and more aphatetic towards the quality of recent works, i end up finding a writer that believes that videogames are quite inferior to books and movies because (get this)there are things that CANT be made fun or "video-gamey" enough.

Here is an actual quote from the comments in November 30, 2012 12:36 PM:
"That is really my whole point, Mornegroth. I do not expect great story telling from games. I realize that not every plot can be translated into game play. Gamers need something to do, some level of control and decision making, to make it still "a game". This is why I do not get too upset when a game's story isn't on par with a book. I compare games to games, and as far games go, Mass Effect 3 has a pretty decent story. "

image

http://writersdisease.blogspot.ca/2012/11/the-mass-effect-3-ending-character-or.html?showComment=1353796309692#c8911009002833989190

I am curious as to why he wrote a post about the ending, if he doesn't take the game itself too seriously.

So here i am now, confused as heck, i am here to ask one simple question: Is there a high concept that games cannot do?

I suppose he is right, if i....for example, decided to make a game about playing as a defense attorney it will be SOOOOOO LAAAAAAAAAME. Not video-gamey, AMA RIGHT??

Oh wait...

But that is an easy one. I am sure that games will be incapable of doing something like.....i dont know, this?: "The player is a scarred amnesiac immortal in search of his identity. On the way, the player character will kill a lot of people... including himself." Who the fuck will be talented enough to convince the player to kill himself permanently?? a game that you go around findind who you are by asking people?? not video-gamey. No good writing like that exist and NEVER Wil...

Oh wait..

With all that said, i want you, the people on the forum and everywhere else (if possible) to do the following to see if such ridiculous claim can be true. It can be done in 2 ways:

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HighConcept

1) You think out a high concept out of your skull, post it here, and then see if a videogames already did it and then you also post it.

2) If you cant imagine something, then just search a high concept of a book/comic/movie, post it and then research if a videogame already did it and post it here.

Lets see what could POSSIBLY be out there that CANT be done in a videogame.

EDIT1: Oh by the way, he also defended ME3 in the most flimsy way possible as the comments on the blog already demostrated. Dont try to comment there by the way, he closed it. Apparently discusing the artistic merits of videogames and how they are perfectly capable of doing the same if not more than other mediums, is not important enough for his time.

I think you got a bit sidetracked there with "high concepts". Finding a premise is not the issue, anything can and will do. The problem ("problem") is that video games tend towards a highly plain narrative form as opposed to subtextual/undertone forms. Fiction, we learn, is compromised of two simultaneous narratives - one evident, one ulterior - usually divided between what you're saying and how you're saying it, or what you're saying and what goes unsaid. Video games, it being their main attribute the thing called interactivity, are mostly oriented towards the active/dynamic portion of narrative and usually forsake the subtleties of the unsaid, of subtext and everything that goes with. How do you translate a purely literary technique such as stream of consciousness to video game format when movies are having it hard to begin with? I'm not saying it's impossible, I'm just saying that, in a nutshell, the concerns of video games are only in one - not both - narrative forms. Some games lean closer to subtext but these are rare and few apart and definitely no common denominator (which is why I treasure them the most) but for the most part it's all plain narration. Emotionally involved as you may get with the cliches and the tropes of, say, Mass Effect... I dunno. How would you go on adapting Ulysses into a video game? Just saying.

Johnny Novgorod:
Some games lean closer to subtext but these are rare and few apart and definitely no common denominator (which is why I treasure them the most) but for the most part it's all plain narration

Believe it or not, Metroid Other M as plenty of subtext.........but not of the good kind.

DioWallachia:
So here i am now, confused as heck, i am here to ask one simple question: Is there a high concept that games cannot do?

Anything is "technically" possible to make into a game.

But the more important question is "Does that concept make a GOOD game?".
Does it mesh with interactivity well?
Does it make sense in that environment?
Does it make players feel like they're involved in the story, or does it take choice away and railroad them?

Stuff like "The Scarlet Letter" wouldn't transfer into a game too well. It's narrative is too dependent on hidden meaning and foreshadowing to really allow the players to have much choice. And if it is taken at face value it's rather dull.

skywolfblue:

Anything is "technically" possible to make into a game.

But the more important question is "Does that concept make a GOOD game?".
Does it mesh with interactivity well?
Does it make sense in that environment?
Does it make players feel like they're involved in the story, or does it take choice away and railroad them?

Stuff like "The Scarlet Letter" wouldn't transfer into a game too well. It's narrative is too dependent on hidden meaning and foreshadowing to really allow the players to have much choice. And if it is taken at face value it's rather dull.

"The Scarlet Letter." A Japanese dating sim featuring hot Puritan on Puritan action.

There have been a ton of games that have subtlety and subtext in it's narrative, even games that make you go insane with the main character, without outright showing it to you. They make you believe what you're seeing, hearing, feeling, doing, is real, just like the main character, just like being in the mind of a budding psychopath. Just not many popular ones, and not many done very well. It helps that games have choices that, while may not be contextually deep, still have a chance to make you question and maybe change yourself.

DioWallachia:

Believe it or not, Metroid Other M as plenty of subtext.........but not of the good kind.

I must protect this random baby hidden inside this baby bottle. I love babies. All women love babies, they're the best. Bitches love babies.

Busfull:

DioWallachia:

Believe it or not, Metroid Other M as plenty of subtext.........but not of the good kind.

I must protect this random baby hidden inside this baby bottle. I love babies. All women love babies, they're the best. Bitches love babies.

I mean the sexist subtext. Its waaaay more deeper than i could even imagine. Citizen Kane's attention to detail got NOTHING on dis shit:

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/lb_i.php?lb_id=13373815860B43920100&i_id=13384263550I62094100&p=17

I wont lie I only read the first paragraph but I just got to say that just like any other media outlet some ideas lend themselves better to one outlet better than another. These same things can be said about any outlet some things are better as films or some are better as books or graphic novels even animated film both 3d and 2d animation the list goes on.

DioWallachia:

Johnny Novgorod:
Some games lean closer to subtext but these are rare and few apart and definitely no common denominator (which is why I treasure them the most) but for the most part it's all plain narration

Believe it or not, Metroid Other M as plenty of subtext.........but not of the good kind.

Oh yeah, the sexist subtext. Go games!

skywolfblue:

DioWallachia:
So here i am now, confused as heck, i am here to ask one simple question: Is there a high concept that games cannot do?

Anything is "technically" possible to make into a game.

But the more important question is "Does that concept make a GOOD game?".
Does it mesh with interactivity well?
Does it make sense in that environment?
Does it make players feel like they're involved in the story, or does it take choice away and railroad them?

Stuff like "The Scarlet Letter" wouldn't transfer into a game too well. It's narrative is too dependent on hidden meaning and foreshadowing to really allow the players to have much choice. And if it is taken at face value it's rather dull.

Can't the same be said about any piece of media? You can't really transfer Amnesia to a book form, either, you can't make, Spec Ops: the Line would plain not work as a film, Avatar wouldn't be nearly as appealing if you make it into text only and so on. Then again, you can adapt works to other types of media. Often it doesn't work out but it's just because it's not easy - you'll have to adapt the whole piece to take advantage of the medium you're moving it to, even then there are other things to bear in mind. Simply put the ability to translate existing works shouldn't be any kind of test. If that was the case, well, you can never make a movie from the House of Leaves - does that mean that cinema is not fit for storytelling?

There are indeed some things games can't do, for example the very principle of a book force feeding you nothing but raw information/narrative, because that is the only thing a book offers we accept it but in a game this is not acceptable at all.

When people are not strapped down and fed intravenously telling a story becomes infinitely harder, it becomes the difference between building a LEGO house and the real deal.
This is why most of them come out really mangled, why most writers shy away or even fear the concept, and some will denounce it all together.

Sure anything can be done video gamey but can it be done well?

DoPo:
If that was the case, well, you can never make a movie from the House of Leaves - does that mean that cinema is not fit for storytelling?

I actually disagree with this assertion, that you cannot make good films out of "unfilmable works". The tricky part is learning to adapt them to the screen. Plenty of "unfilmable" books have had damn good films adapted from them, like The Naked Lunch or American Psycho. Just because something has some element that works very well in that medium doesn't mean you cannot take the ideas and emotional core behind that element and transpose them to another medium, thereby eliciting the same emotions in the viewer, if that makes any sense. :P

OT: To address your main point: I largely agree. There have been many great stories in other mediums told about what was considered very lowbrow subjects. I do not see why games are any different. Of course, video game narrative as a whole is not on the same level as most other mediums, but I think we will get there eventually. As time has gone on, more and more designers have become better at telling stories with the medium, so I have hope for the future. We are not there yet, but we are getting there fast, and we will certainly be there very soon. :)

Mr.K.:
There are indeed some things games can't do, for example the very principle of a book force feeding you nothing but raw information/narrative, because that is the only thing a book offers we accept it but in a game this is not acceptable at all.

When people are not strapped down and fed intravenously telling a story becomes infinitely harder, it becomes the difference between building a LEGO house and the real deal.
This is why most of them come out really mangled, why most writers shy away or even fear the concept, and some will denounce it all together.

Ehm.....Planescape Torment did just that with almost everything you can interact with. Ther is info dump text EVERYWHERE!!

Even something as monologues or soloquism that would be redundant in a visual media, has found its place in gaming history in the form of Legacy of Kain.

BreakfastMan:

OT: To address your main point: I largely agree. There have been many great stories in other mediums told about what was considered very lowbrow subjects. I do not see why games are any different. Of course, video game narrative as a whole is not on the same level as most other mediums, but I think we will get there eventually. As time has gone on, more and more designers have become better at telling stories with the medium, so I have hope for the future. We are not there yet, but we are getting there fast, and we will certainly be there very soon. :)

Here is the thing......arent we in the Age of Information already? this kind of conclusion should have been made already (the "i dont see how games or ANY medium would have any problem tackling a concept" one) and yet even a WRITER, who should have know this already, doesnt recognice that games can do just fine.

Did gaming history from the last 10+ years dissapeared?

how could you turn this movie and its theme into a game:
image

or how can you adapt a movie that tries to point out the difficulties of transfering a story from one medium(book) to the other(movie) into a game?

what i am trying to say:

its like someone said "you cant make jelly out of everything"
and you said "nope, you can make jelly out of everything" which is kind of true.

but what the person actually meant was that you cant make jelly out of everything and expect it to be "eatable" or "enjoyable" or "worth it".

like petroleum jelly.
or dear esther in terms of gameplay.

BreakfastMan:

DoPo:
If that was the case, well, you can never make a movie from the House of Leaves - does that mean that cinema is not fit for storytelling?

I actually disagree with this assertion, that you cannot make good films out of "unfilmable works". The tricky part is learning to adapt them to the screen. Plenty of "unfilmable" books have had damn good films adapted from them, like The Naked Lunch or American Psycho. Just because something has some element that works very well in that medium doesn't mean you cannot take the ideas and emotional core behind that element and transpose them to another medium, thereby eliciting the same emotions in the viewer, if that makes any sense. :P

Kind of my whole point with how adaptation should work... And House of Leaves is a special case - you can never make a movie that does it justice, since the book uses techniques that work exclusively in a written format. You can make a movie but lots of it would be lost in the translation. Other books have less of a problem, though - take for example Harry Potter - it does not rely on being written. Very little can be lost by making a movie[1]. But both movies and books make for a poor adaptation to games, since games are inherently interactive. By definition, they would have to deviate from the plot. They just require stories made for them - they could be linear, yes, however the experience wouldn't be static.

[1] With that said, the movies do lack lots, but that's due to time constraints, rather than inherently fault of the medium. Had the movies been made to cover larger portion of the books, the differences between the two - the "lost" stuff would have been way less.

DioWallachia:

BreakfastMan:

OT: To address your main point: I largely agree. There have been many great stories in other mediums told about what was considered very lowbrow subjects. I do not see why games are any different. Of course, video game narrative as a whole is not on the same level as most other mediums, but I think we will get there eventually. As time has gone on, more and more designers have become better at telling stories with the medium, so I have hope for the future. We are not there yet, but we are getting there fast, and we will certainly be there very soon. :)

Here is the thing......arent we in the Age of Information already? this kind of conclusion should have been made already (the "i dont see how games or ANY medium would have any problem tackling a concept" one) and yet even a WRITER, who should have know this already, doesnt recognice that games can do just fine.

Did gaming history from the last 10+ years dissapeared?

Not everyone pays attention to gaming history or the art of storytelling in games and how it has evolved. To put it simply: laziness and ignorance. :P

DoPo:

BreakfastMan:

DoPo:
If that was the case, well, you can never make a movie from the House of Leaves - does that mean that cinema is not fit for storytelling?

I actually disagree with this assertion, that you cannot make good films out of "unfilmable works". The tricky part is learning to adapt them to the screen. Plenty of "unfilmable" books have had damn good films adapted from them, like The Naked Lunch or American Psycho. Just because something has some element that works very well in that medium doesn't mean you cannot take the ideas and emotional core behind that element and transpose them to another medium, thereby eliciting the same emotions in the viewer, if that makes any sense. :P

Kind of my whole point with how adaptation should work... And House of Leaves is a special case - you can never make a movie that does it justice, since the book uses techniques that work exclusively in a written format. You can make a movie but lots of it would be lost in the translation. Other books have less of a problem, though - take for example Harry Potter - it does not rely on being written. Very little can be lost by making a movie[1]. But both movies and books make for a poor adaptation to games, since games are inherently interactive. By definition, they would have to deviate from the plot. They just require stories made for them - they could be linear, yes, however the experience wouldn't be static.

I disagree that you cannot make a House of Leaves movie (and this is coming from someone who considers it one of his favorite books of all time). Yes, many techniques used to scare the reader and draw them in do not directly translate, but I think one can take the reasons those techniques are effective and the emotions they evoke, and use special techniques that only film has to bring about the same emotions. I do not consider any work "unfilmable". You just have to be careful when translating it from one medium to another.

I also disagree that adaptions of movies/books make poor games. Yes, you have to make them interactive, but you do not have to make the stories themselves interactive. They do not have to deviate from the plot if there is sufficient source material to make a game sufficiently long.

[1] With that said, the movies do lack lots, but that's due to time constraints, rather than inherently fault of the medium. Had the movies been made to cover larger portion of the books, the differences between the two - the "lost" stuff would have been way less.

DoPo:

Kind of my whole point with how adaptation should work... And House of Leaves is a special case - you can never make a movie that does it justice, since the book uses techniques that work exclusively in a written format. You can make a movie but lots of it would be lost in the translation. Other books have less of a problem, though - take for example Harry Potter - it does not rely on being written. Very little can be lost by making a movie[1]. But both movies and books make for a poor adaptation to games, since games are inherently interactive. By definition, they would have to deviate from the plot. They just require stories made for them - they could be linear, yes, however the experience wouldn't be static.

Why not compare that unfilmable work with another that was seen in a equal light? Watchmen.

They said that it was impossible to make into a film and yet there it is.

[1] With that said, the movies do lack lots, but that's due to time constraints, rather than inherently fault of the medium. Had the movies been made to cover larger portion of the books, the differences between the two - the "lost" stuff would have been way less.

DioWallachia:

DoPo:

Kind of my whole point with how adaptation should work... And House of Leaves is a special case - you can never make a movie that does it justice, since the book uses techniques that work exclusively in a written format. You can make a movie but lots of it would be lost in the translation. Other books have less of a problem, though - take for example Harry Potter - it does not rely on being written. Very little can be lost by making a movie[1]. But both movies and books make for a poor adaptation to games, since games are inherently interactive. By definition, they would have to deviate from the plot. They just require stories made for them - they could be linear, yes, however the experience wouldn't be static.

Why not compare that unfilmable work with another that was seen in a equal light? Watchmen.

They said that it was impossible to make into a film and yet there it is.

Never read the Watchmen graphic novel but I saw the movie. It was quite good, I though, but what exactly made it seem "unfilmable" in the first place?

[1] With that said, the movies do lack lots, but that's due to time constraints, rather than inherently fault of the medium. Had the movies been made to cover larger portion of the books, the differences between the two - the "lost" stuff would have been way less.

BreakfastMan:

Not everyone pays attention to gaming history or the art of storytelling in games and how it has evolved. To put it simply: laziness and ignorance. :P

But that guy was SUPPOSED to be a writer, someone who studies and makes fiction. What is HIS excuse for lazyness on the JOB?. We have so few people that actually know their shit that its almost depresing how they dont study storytelling in games, and when they do tell the general populace about it, all they will ever heard is:

0:22 - 0:26

Let that laught echo in your mind.

See how the world is now totally convinced that games are just a joke, something that should be taken seriously. This is why when i read that a writer doesnt care about stories in videogames (and yet he wants to give its opinion on the subject that hasnt researched) its hurs like a bitch.

DoPo:

Never read the Watchmen graphic novel but I saw the movie. It was quite good, I though, but what exactly made it seem "unfilmable" in the first place?

I dont know, it was said that since its the best example of comics as art, if it ever get to the big screen it would have been butchered.

Sadly i havent SEEN the movie nor the comic, and i was expecting that someone here would have tell me for the sake of research and to know what liberties one has to take when making an adaptation of one medium to another.

Of course there are concepts that are practically impossible to put into a good game. Memento is a movie that's almost frustrating to follow, having a game that jumped around like that would be awful.

Games, movies and books are all very different from each other. Some books are hard to turn into movies, most movies make awful games and most games make awful movies or books. It's not impossible to turn anything into a game, but a lot of thing are as good as impossible to turn into a good game.

I'll make 2 points here.

1) Casey Hudson actually turned down features and story elements because they were "too video-gamey" and that is a direct quote there. This was his defense for the crappy way he ended it, in fact. So to use the video-gamey defense in favor of mass effect 3 is actually false and shows it for the simple bad writing that it is. Casey was trying to be deep and it came off as video-gamey because he sucks as a writer.

2) Subtext is achievable in games and is actually the backbone of Bioshock, Shadow of the Colossus, and plenty others. It is also the first thing people want to draw attention to when claiming the game is racist or sexist. Unfortunately, many people can't tell the difference between subtext, coincidence, and characterization. Subtext is rare in games for sure, but they are more than capable of implementing it.

Games are great for deep world building and large scale events; wars and such. They don't tend to be as good at creating focussed character pieces as other media (although games like The Walking Dead prove this isn't the rule) but that doesn't necessarily mean they don't have the potential for a lot of depth.

Reading through that TV tropes page, I'd say that games are just fine at dealing with High Concepts. It's Low Concepts they aren't so good for.

I'd just like to point out that the quote you're picking and attempting to ridicule... isn't exactly wrong. If you, the player, are not actively doing something at some point during your play-time of a game, then it's not really a game, strictly speaking, is it? There's a blurry line between where certain things are visual novels or video games, but generally speaking if all you're doing is reading through a bunch of text, without even getting response options to choose from, you're not really playing a game so much as reading a book.

Planescape: Torment is a game, despite having a massive focus on story-telling and an extremely limited focus on gameplay. Persona 4 is a game, even though you're probably crazy if you're getting most of your enjoyment out of the game through the dungeon sections. Katawa Shoujo is straddling the line pretty closely, but as the player you're still given various options throughout the game that impact what will happen during your story, so strictly speaking it's still a game.

But, the quote you're cherry picking here isn't denying any of that. If you really want to read between the lines it's saying that in order for a game to have a great story, it would have to sacrifice much in the way of gameplay, and... well, based on all past evidence I've seen, I wouldn't disagree with that. Again, Planescape: Torment and even Phoenix Wright come to mind. Sure, they're games, but they're not the same adrenaline-pumping roller-coaster rides that Halo, Mass Effect, Metal Gear Solid, Sonic Generations, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, etc. are. They don't need to be, either.

EDIT: Wait, I misread the thread title because of a lack of apostrophe and the fact that the OP was going into rant mode.

I'm not going to change my original post, but I will amend it to say that I don't believe things are "too video-gamey" to make a video game out of. It could be incredibly difficult, but I've not heard of a single topic that couldn't somehow be made into a game of some description.

And I kinda agree with that statement.

I really don't see how you could translate some books or movies into games. You just can't because there isn't much gamey stuff in them.

Of course it goes the other way around too. Most games can't be translated into books or movies either.

And really, what's wrong with that?

DioWallachia:

DoPo:

Never read the Watchmen graphic novel but I saw the movie. It was quite good, I though, but what exactly made it seem "unfilmable" in the first place?

I dont know, it was said that since its the best example of comics as art, if it ever get to the big screen it would have been butchered.

Sadly i havent SEEN the movie nor the comic, and i was expecting that someone here would have tell me for the sake of research and to know what liberties one has to take when making an adaptation of one medium to another.

Well, OK. But to elaborate about the book and why I don't think you can make a proper movie out of it - it is told in a disjointed manner which is really hard to convey on screen. It is...OK, it is about a guy, one Jonny, who seems paranoid, hysterical or maybe dangerously sane, who found this analysis of a movie that does not exist. And yet the analysis is long and really detailed as if it is a reality. So it is Johnny's story, mixed with an actual story surrounding that movie. Also, there are occasional references to the appeices the book has - and yes, there are series of appendices that span 130 pages. The text of the book is littered with references to them, either by Zampano (the person who originally wrote the analysis of the movie), Johnny, and even the Editors, who supposedly released the writings while making several explanations but otherwise did not change the content. The appendices include photos and illustrations, as well as collected fragments of writings from Zampano, a collection of letters from Johnny's mother (who was apparently placed in a psychiatric institution when he was younger) and they show varying degrees of touch with reality and lucidity among them, there is a section of quotes from different classical authors and works (Paradise Lost, for example and Homer's Iliad, etc. And that last one has the same passage in 4 different languages - Greek, German, Spanish, and Russian.). Furthermore, the text is full of footnotes, some of which span for pages. And finally, the text itself is not presented in a normal fashion - the style varies accross the pages, the fonts can be different, the spacing, which way it's facing - some pages have the sentenced plastered around in seemengly random way(you can still follow the corder of them, but there is not much sense in their placing), other times the text follows the story colsely - having a paragraph at the top when talking about somebody up, and a paragraph at the bottom (the section switches between describing the two), the text gets narrower, constrained and less on each page, as it talks about a person crawling through space that gets narrower. And there is the text with a strikethrough.

In short, it gets so much effect out of using things you literally have in a movie. Removing them changes the book into something different entirely. It can still be haunting and disturbing but the way it's written is probably half of the way it shows that. In a sense, I can compare it to Dark Souls, I suppose. That has a story but it is never thrust upon you, it's up to the players to piece it together, if they want to or can. In a similar way House of Leaves leaves some of the work to the reader. You can just read the text, or you can follow the references, or you can really follow the references, since some of them are written in different languages, you can also try to go through the references first (Johnny's mother's letters are an entire story on their own), so you have a choice of how to experience the story.

If I come back to the Harry Potter analogy, that has actually very little that gets removed from a book form to the screen - pretty much everything is quite well described, so it can be portrayed. While readers may imagine a place or a person differently to one another, based on the book, they all would just imagine variations of that, so the movies would either show it spot on, or it would have minor changes.

Every medium has its strengths and weaknesses. This is why we have more than one. There's nothing wrong with acknowledging this. It's the opposite, actually. Only when we're concious of that can we hope to craft eloquent works capable of realizing their full potential.

Take Lovecraft for example. The dude relied heavily on the fear of the unknowable and the incomprehensible, often describing his horrors as "unimaginably large" or "impossibly evil." Translated to visual media, alien geometries that makes your eyes water become stairs on the ceiling. And that just plain sucks for everyone.

Likewise, games have their own challenges. How could you write a game about a pacifist coming to terms with a single act of violence he was forced to commit? In passive media you can easily handle a challenge like that but it would be incredibly hard to shoehorn gameplay into it. You can't exactly have him go around shooting a few thousand people between the time the game ends and finishes, and unless it's a life/job simulator bookended by cut scenes filled with regret, which doesn't sound very fun or economically viable, what else is there? How does it become a part of the interactive game world? Call me lazy, but I'm having a hard time coming up with an answer.

There are always exceptions, but the general rule is that if you have to shoehorn something into your work, it probably shouldn't be there to begin with.

I know you changed you mind after writing that, but i want to explore this:

shrekfan246:

But, the quote you're cherry picking here isn't denying any of that. If you really want to read between the lines it's saying that in order for a game to have a great story, it would have to sacrifice much in the way of gameplay, and... well, based on all past evidence I've seen, I wouldn't disagree with that. Again, Planescape: Torment and even Phoenix Wright come to mind. Sure, they're games, but they're not the same adrenaline-pumping roller-coaster rides that Halo, Mass Effect, Metal Gear Solid, Sonic Generations, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, etc. are. They don't need to be, either.

But you forget that games is not ONLY the action scenes that the developers (like the ones on ME3) throw every one and then to make it "video-gamey", games are all about interactivity.

Planescape Torment wasnt as action packed as, for example, Diablo 2 that was realeased at the same time frame, but the experience wouldnt have been the same if they tried to make the story at the expense of the interactive parts. In fact, the story its at its best BECAUSE of the interactivity. Because you took the time to talk with your friends and boost their morale enough to defend you against TTO and die for you. Because you took the time to understand the concept of "What can change the nature of man?", you can show what you have learned on this journey to the TTO and talk him down.

Your examples may give you a quick pump in adrenaline but so its an action scene on a movie. Both NEED to be a vital part of the whole narrative or otherwise its just window dressing and flashy setpieces. In the great scale of things, something that paids off your whole journey in the end is much worth it.

Yopaz:
Of course there are concepts that are practically impossible to put into a good game. Memento is a movie that's almost frustrating to follow, having a game that jumped around like that would be awful.

If it was frustrating on movies then it would be frustrating in the game too. Then again, Legacy of Kain kinda jumped around with its time travel and you have to keep tracks of many variables to know about the Time Stable Loop.

Savagezion:
I'll make 2 points here.

1) Casey Hudson actually turned down features and story elements because they were "too video-gamey" and that is a direct quote there. This was his defense for the crappy way he ended it, in fact. So to use the video-gamey defense in favor of mass effect 3 is actually false and shows it for the simple bad writing that it is. Casey was trying to be deep and it came off as video-gamey because he sucks as a writer.

If he wanted something deep like talking a GOD of the Reapers to death (sort off) then he could have just played TONS of games that did ut before, like Fallout and Planescape Torment.

HIS complain was that fighting a boss for the sake of one would be "video-gamey". Up to that point it makes sense.........but not for videogame history because that kind of shit only happened 20 years ago, now games dont do that anymore since....ever. Then again, when his narrative creates something like Harbinger (who it seems that its not too fond of taking criticism and more fond of killing you with sexual assault comments) it seems that having a boss fight would have been inminent. Regardless if its fighting of talking to death.

However, if he wanted is non violent confrontation with Catalyst boy then he should have done instead of the one sided converzation we had.

Ironic that "a boss that cames out of nowhere would be videogamey" since he did JUST THAT with Harbinger and the non foreshadowed Catalyst.

DioWallachia:
I know you changed you mind after writing that, but i want to explore this:

shrekfan246:

But, the quote you're cherry picking here isn't denying any of that. If you really want to read between the lines it's saying that in order for a game to have a great story, it would have to sacrifice much in the way of gameplay, and... well, based on all past evidence I've seen, I wouldn't disagree with that. Again, Planescape: Torment and even Phoenix Wright come to mind. Sure, they're games, but they're not the same adrenaline-pumping roller-coaster rides that Halo, Mass Effect, Metal Gear Solid, Sonic Generations, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, etc. are. They don't need to be, either.

But you forget that games is not ONLY the action scenes that the developers (like the ones on ME3) throw every one and then to make it "video-gamey", games are all about interactivity.

Planescape Torment wasnt as action packed as, for example, Diablo 2 that was realeased at the same time frame, but the experience wouldnt have been the same if they tried to make the story at the expense of the interactive parts. In fact, the story its at its best BECAUSE of the interactivity. Because you took the time to talk with your friends and boost their morale enough to defend you against TTO and die for you. Because you took the time to understand the concept of "What can change the nature of man?", you can show what you have learned on this journey to the TTO and talk him down.

Your examples may give you a quick pump in adrenaline but so its an action scene on a movie. Both NEED to be a vital part of the whole narrative or otherwise its just window dressing and flashy setpieces. In the great scale of things, something that paids off your whole journey in the end is much worth it.

Games aren't solely about action, no. But the easiest way to achieve player interactivity is through action sequences. They are the quickest way of establishing a connection between the player and the character they're playing. Maybe not the best way, but certainly the simplest.

And to branch off of you bringing up Diablo 2, look at the narrative that game contains. It has arguably much better gameplay than Planescape: Torment, but while the narrative Diablo contains may be interesting in itself, you almost never hear anybody praising the story-telling or writing present within the game.

It's very difficult to balance good writing/story-telling with good gameplay, and I would say that since this console generation began there hasn't been a single game that I've played that has accomplished the balance to a satisfactory degree. There are games that have wonderful narratives, but severely lack in how the player actually interacts with the in-game world, or games that allow immense amounts of interaction but lack a coherent narrative, and I'd be hard pressed to think of an example of a game that does both, and does them well. The closest 'recent' game I could come up with might be The Witcher 2. I'll refrain from mentioning games like Baldur's Gate for either side, because D&D ruleset applications and how they were implemented into video game form are pretty touchy subjects around here. Dishonored might be another one, but even then it's not the best-written story to ever be put into a video game.

Games like Flower, Journey, or The Walking Dead prove that games can be tackled very well from a non-action perspective (yes, I know TWD has action-y quick-time events, but that's not really what the game is about nor focuses upon). Subtext or character interaction can be everything. But only if the developer actually has the talent required for it.

PeterMerkin69:

How could you write a game about a pacifist coming to terms with a single act of violence he was forced to commit? In passive media you can easily handle a challenge like that but it would be incredibly hard to shoehorn gameplay into it. You can't exactly have him go around shooting a few thousand people between the time the game ends and finishes, and unless it's a life/job simulator bookended by cut scenes filled with regret, which doesn't sound very fun or economically viable, what else is there? How does it become a part of the interactive game world? Call me lazy, but I'm having a hard time coming up with an answer.

Have that in the intro cutscene to stablish the motives and goals of the avatar that the player will control and then let them have it for the rest of the game. Depending of how well written the avatar is, they may actually care enough to not sucumb to their desires of MURDERING everything in their path.

For bonus points, the developers should have a game engine that is similar to the physics of Painkiller or ANY game that takes the violence up to 11 to the point of being cartonish, and therefore in the eyes of the audience, innofensive and fun to do it over and over. Add a characterization of someone that has mental problems like Lack of Empathy (Schizoid personality disorder) and a ficticional one where the avatar SEES everything in a cartonish way because his life has always been an endless parade of monotone and boringness, thus the mind is trying to compenzate that by making everything more colourful and innocent to keep the mind from going in a worse state.

All the developers have to do is make the game react to the choices the players made (like characters commenting on how hypocritical is for the main character to lecture THEM about their violent ways when he/she couldnt even keep his own hand from murdering those people) or otherwise they would have another case of Ludonarrative Dissonance like Bioshock or Dishonored. As long the game acknowledges your inputs (i call it "self awareness") and reacts appropiadtedly for whatever anti-violence and self control theme the developer wants to tell, then people would play it without problem.

One game that did this was IJI. She is character established as not really a person that would harm another even in the face of total human anihilation and self preservation, its up to the player if that characterization will remain or becomes insane.

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