Have you ever gone to play your favorite game and wonder why it was your favorite? Is it because the game has different weapons? Is it because of online multiplayer, or maybe the story? I’m going to talk about the qualities I look for in an excellent storyline in gaming, more specifically, in the genres of RPGs and Action/Adventure. When I play a game, I always try to relate to the character. I relate by how that character impacts the other characters and how they move the story line forward. With some RPGs and Action/Adventure games there are aspects that give you many different choices that can keep a game player coming back to replay the game over and over again.
In my opinion, having characters that are relatable in RPGs and Action/Adventure games can give a sense of attachment to those characters. In the game Mass Effect 3, the storyline is made to bring out those emotions in the player. It may be indirectly but this helps draw the player into the world that is created. Each Mass Effect game builds to the point that the player wants to find out more about these characters which causes the player to want buy the next game and then the next one after that. According to Keith Stuart, the Games Editor for The Guardian, “Every fictional character exists in a contested zone between author intention and audience interpretation; but in games, the position is much closer to the latter party.”(Stuart, 2014, para. 2)It also states, “Interactivity gives us ownership over the experience in a way that reading words on a page or watching a movie does not.”(Stuart, 2014, para. 2) To put it in a simpler form, we as the gamer connect with the character because we feel we are truly in control of their life. These storylines may have a positive or a negative impact but it keeps the player’s attention for maximum entertainment.
When I play video games, I tend to look for genres like RPGs and Action/Adventure because these are storyline based and have as many as 3 or more storylines. These games tend to have few restrictions of what the player is able to do and helps build the storyline. RPGs and Action/Adventure games often have hidden quests, secret areas, and treasures throughout the storyline that do not open until the player has played through at least once. So a game that has multi-levels and still maintains a storyline is more likely to bring a player back to replay it. When I come a crossed these types of games, I am impressed by the performance of the developers.
RPGs and Action/Adventure game developers often place excellent moments in the storyline that cause the player to choose a path for their character. These paths can cause the character to gain good qualities, which make the character more desirable or evil qualities that can cause the character to be hated during the game. Moments like these have a large impact on the effect of the story. For example, the death of the character, Mordin, from Mass Effect 3 changes the overtone of the story for the rest of the game. Mass Effect 3 is about soldiers who are trying to save the galaxy imminent extinction at the hands of the Reapers. During the game, the character, Mordin Solus, gives his life to help an entire race return to their former glory. With this character, it is not whether he lives or dies, but which alien race the main character chooses to save. Even after the choice is made, the character, Mordin, still dies. When I seen this part of Mass Effect 3, I found that I was filled with many emotions since he was my one of my favorite NPCs throughout the three games.
These qualities are what I look for in excellent video game storylines. The storylines in games that have replay value, moments inside the game that leave an impression, and having characters that are relatable in some kind of way are storylines that I can go back to and constantly play. It is because of these qualities that I play those types of games.
Stuart, K. (2014, Apr. 25) The identity paradox: why game characters are not us, but should be, theguardian.com Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/apr/24/the-identity-paradox-why-game-characters-are-not-but-should-be
N/A Retrieved May 29th, 2014 http://levelsave.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/mass_effect_team_1-3.jpg
Megawug. Retrieved May 29, 2014 http://fc01.deviantart.net/fs71/i/2013/087/c/a/mass_effect_3___the_shroud__priority__tuchanka_by_megawug-d5zm2so.jpg