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Do It Until You Get It Right: Making the Player Succeed is a Detriment to a Game's Story

You have to be good at a game to beat it, but does that affect the story? How does requiring the player's success affect the way a game can tell a story?

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-Gespenst-1384d ago

Most game these days are hand-holdy, and super-easy. They're pure power-fantasies. To merge narrative with challenging gameplay is something that hasn't really been explored enough. I really think the results could be quite potent. I personally think all war games should be super difficult, and highly disturbing. In no case should war be glorified or fetishized, and everytime it's portrayed in such ways it only contributes to a false understanding of war, and dare I say it, it creates an incipient longing for war, at least in the fashion that it's portrayed. Glorified, hyperreal depictions of war merge with abstract national pride and broad senses of national duty all of which are manufactured to indoctrinate and produce proxy killers for the power games of the powerful few, not to promote truth.

"Dying and simply restarting a few feet back sort of takes the punch out of death, making an actual canonical death either feel hollow or cheap."

^^That's also a very good point. Dying and coming back to life in games is such a mainstay that the impact of a canonical death can be greatly dampened. The logic of the game goes against the logic of the narrative. The player can continually come back to life, yet a character who dies over the course of narrative cannot. This disturbs the self-containment of the narrative; the mechanics of the game defy the narrative logic and make the narrative lose its impact.

Unless your narrative provides a reason for the main character being able to resurrect over and over again, the conventions of death and failure in games will continue to cheapen and be at odds with the narrative. If you introduce permadeath and perhaps switch player control to another character, the only way this could have any meaning is if the amount of characters was limited, and each one was distinct. This however could turn out to be quite challenging, unless of course each character was highly resilient and hard to kill, but then you're kind of getting into power fantasy territory again.

Great article though. I like stuff that questions the fundamentals.