Gaming and Storytelling (Part 1)

The Daily Suck

Originally dismissed as a hobby of nerds and geeks, video games have now entered the mainstream, thriving in a world with over 46 million Xbox Live users (that’s more than Justin Beiber’s Twitter followers).  I am one of those users and I am passionate about gaming, not just as a hobby, but as an interactive art form that affects me just as deeply as a good movie or book.  With anything you love, you naturally want to share it with others so here’s why games and the stories they tell are awesome!

Point #1. Video games are the world’s only fully interactive art form.

Don’t get me wrong, books and movies are amazing, but they can never completely immerse you into their worlds the way video games can.  Games put you in the shoes of characters that you control and make decisions as, effectively getting you to emotionally invest in the games’ story and characters.  Throughout the game, you go on the journey, you uniquely drive the experience, and you feel the sense of accomplishment at the end.  In movies and books, you are a bystander of the action and story. In video games, you fully participate in it.

Point #2. Some of my favorite stories and characters come from video games.

Games aren’t like Pong anymore.  They’re fully expected, like books and movies, to tell great stories with compelling characters, and video games like Mass Effect, Uncharted 2, Red Dead Redemption, and The Last Of Us, to name a few, do this incredibly well.  Because of their length, games, like books, give creators the chance to tell epic stories and gradually develop relationships with characters whereas movies are pressured to fit into a 2 and 1/2-hour time frame.  For example, The Last Of Us is an emotionally-driven experience that chronicles the relationship between a young girl and a world-weary survivor in a post-apocalyptic America.  The game begs the question: what would you do to protect the people you love? It handles this question superbly and leaves you thinking about it long after the credits roll, something that the latest summer blockbuster movie tends to lack.

Short post today, I know, and I’ve only scratched the surface of storytelling in games.  I’m hoping to feature different games and their stories individually with future posts so stay tuned for part 2!

– Julia