Crispy Gamer

Take Up The Banner Against Bad Game Stories!

in

<!--
@page { margin: 0.79in }
P { margin-bottom: 0.08in }
-->

 

Margaret Robertson makes me want to
start some sort of Bolshevik-style revolution against the current
crop of game stories.

I'm not usually one for violent
revolution, but the former Edge Editor-in-chief's talk
yesterday at GDC raised with me an ire about the current state of
video game storytelling that I hadn't even fully realized had been
lurking there.

Don't get me wrong, the Video Game
Story Reformation League (VGSRL) that I am now forming in my head,
with Robertson at the helm and me as her trusty right-hand man, isn't
totally opposed to the idea of stories in games. We're just against
the expensive, hard-to-localize, clunky, flow-breaking cut
scene-filled stories that currently populate most titles. Game
stories should be subtle and take advantage of the unique attributes
of games themselves. They can be as
simple as
Space Invaders
(“Its entire story is in its title!”) or as deep and rich as the
experience of taking control of a rookie Captain Price in
Call
of Duty 4
. Robertson's
words will become our rallying cry:
“If you can picture your
story working really well as a movie, get rid of it!”

I'm also ready, if asked, to lay my
life's work on the line help Robertson's efforts to make game stories
less epic. “I can not tell you how sick I am of saving the world,”
our fearless leader cried from the pulpit. “I have done it 800
times, 1,000 times, and it never stays saved for more than a week!
It's beginning to feel a little mundane, a little anti-climactic.
It's getting stale.”

We need more stories that focus on the
little things, that explore the inner world of our protagonists, that
take heed of F. Scott Fitzgerald's final word on story design:
“ACTION IS CHARACTER”

Hey, that phrase would look really
good on a battle flag.