When it comes to movies, television, and books it seems like there is a pretty strong consensus about how to properly tell a story. Sure different artists do things differently, tone and genre can mix things up, and we still hit bumps in the road, but broadly speaking, there is a pretty broad consensus about the actual mechanics and technical aspects that go into telling a story in film, on TV, or in print.
But video games are different. Despite being around for over thirty years, it seems like there really is no consensus about how a video game should tell a story. Cutscenes, walls of text, and passive participation are the traits of other mediums that still find their way into video games.
Is that bad? Is that good? This is the question that has kept me up at nights and ravaged my psyche and caused me to chart out one of those big conspiracy maps with old newspaper clippings and red yarn. In fact it wasn’t until my ninth day without a bath my girlfriend suggested something far simpler…why don’t you just talk to Jack and Rich from Previously Recorded about the topic?
So that’s exactly what we did. In this episode we dissect the storytelling mechanics of some of our favorite and not-so-favorite games, analyzing the way those stories are told and what makes them memorable. We reach some interesting conclusions in the episode, present some compelling arguments, and go on a fun little Indiana Jones tangent.