Submitted by zoom_zip in Games

i hate game writing

i can maybe count on one hand the number of games i’ve played that i would consider to be “well written”.

this is a byproduct (i think) of the fact that most artistic mediums are STORY FIRST. a book is the most obvious example of being pure narrative. without the narrative, there is no book. a film leans less on the narrative but is still—for the most part—STORY FIRST in that someone will sit down and write the full script (narrative/dialogue) and then the film will be built from that. other narrative mediums like comics and animation have a focus on telling a story through art and utilising the medium to enhance the story (think of the way storytellers in comics use the space between frames as a narrative effect).

yet, games are often GAME FIRST and then a story is shoehorned in after the fact. the whole game will be built on mechanical ideas, gameplay loops, interfaces, whatever, and then—if there is time and budget left—a story will be tacked on

even games that should theoretically be built entirely around a story (rpgs) tend to suck in the writing department. they fail to crystallise anything more than a mechanical experience where the words are forced into the box

there was some okay stuff in the early days of the crpg, but those were stories written by programmers who were focused on programming a game and then in their spare time putting in unpolished ideas because there was either no writer on staff or they just wanted to do it themselves. the reason doesn’t matter, but the point is

games just fail to use the medium to do anything important with the writing and it ends up feeling subpar to any other medium of storytelling. is there a game that even remotely comes close to meeting the standard of storytelling in the best books ever written? what about matching the best films?

the games i can count on one hand that i think use the medium to tell a good story:

shadow of the colossus return of the obra dinn chrono trigger dark souls

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videl wrote (edited )

have thought the same thing. the souls games were the ones that made me realize games generally don't utilize the medium to tell a story in a way that only games can.
death stranding comes to mind. the gameplay itself says some things if you think about it.

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zoom_zip OP wrote

yeah death stranding falls into that category of “time investment requirement”. there are a few games people have recommended to me and i’ve tried but not gotten into

then you go back to the person and say you didn’t get into it and they say “of course you didn’t! you only played it for 30 hours! it doesn’t get good until 150 hours in!!!”

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Vulgar_Soda wrote

i hate game writing

same

but who eats soup for the spoon?

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zoom_zip OP wrote

there are some games that use the medium of “game” to say something important or to tell an interesting story, but as long as 99% of them don’t, it’s untapped potential

of course not every game has to

tetris doesn’t need a narrative

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existential1 wrote

Morrowind was that for me. I'll never forget the first time i learned how to comprehend a poem that suggested i literally had to allow myself to drown to see a deity. Like, intentionally dying in a solo rpg is so against the medium in-general and against the human player psyche. Loved it then, love it now.

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moonlune wrote

I remember firewatch being prased for its story. Never played it thought.

warcraft 3 has a good story.

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zoom_zip OP wrote

i couldn’t play it because i got motion sickness after about 30 minutes

like, so bad i had to lie in bed for a day while the room span around

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Raxalor wrote

Spec Ops: The Line utilizes the tropes of shooting game mechanics to tell a pretty great antiwar story. It's very linear though, for that reason.

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SJWarCleric wrote

Have you played many visual novels? I know some people hate them for not being "real games," but some can really mess with the formula and medium tropes to excel in storytelling.

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zoom_zip OP wrote

i’m actually just playing my first one now. steins;gate

it’s…….. okay

i don’t think it’s particularly well written, but i’m only six hours in and i’ve been assured it’s “worth it”

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SJWarCleric wrote

With VNs it can get tricky due to translation/localization quality. I've heard that one is good but haven't read it. I enjoyed the Higurashi and Umineko series, though.

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zoom_zip OP wrote

umineko is another that was recommended. i’ll try it if steins;gate pays off

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Bezotcovschina wrote

Little Big Adventure (the first one is good, but the second one is the best) is my first love. I remember, as a kid, annoying the fuck out of my friends retelling them the story

Planescape: Torment is a classic rpg, where you can spend hours in dialog windows interacting with characters and objects. Unforgettable

Disco Elysium is also great "story first" video "game" (more like visual novel)

Pathologic 2 is a great story, but unfortunately, gameplay-wise relates very heavy on survival-like mechanics which is not really my cup of tea

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zoom_zip OP wrote

i don’t want to dox myself but i was a writer on one of those games

i’ll let you guess which

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moonlune wrote

Most of these I haven't played, but remember them being praised for their stories:

The last of us, bioshock, the witcher, half life.

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