I have played games my whole life, so it comes as no surprise then that I have noticed over the last 10 years that the story lines for video games have come very far since
My first game was super Mario for the NES, a basic 8 bit game that by today’s standards seem very weak, the story however was excellent (you and your plumber brothers have to save a princess from a monster in his castle) however, the technology limited where the story could go.
In around 1997, I got my first Playstation, suddenly, I was bombarded by such games such as Metal Gear Solid. The main thing that prompted me to write about this game in particular is the story. Metal Gear Solid’s story was so immersive, you had to play through the story and each decision you made, counted. The story itself is worthy of a hollywood blockbuster and the gameplay (stealth gameplay) brought that all together. The success of Metal Gear Solid heralded a new era of game to come forth, many of the heavily story-based games we see today (the Batman Arkham series) are majorly influenced by the work done in the Metal Gear series of games, which still are popular today as they were 20 years ago.
The ability for these games immerse the user into a the on-screen world is something quite unique, as is the story writing behind them. The Batman: Arkham series, for instance, has used the vast wealth of stories written over the best part of a century to create the world conveyed in the games. The stories in their own right are very attention grabbing as it is, but introducing the interactive element revolutionizes how we read a story, it not only tells a story, it lets you become an active participant in the story also.
Indie gaming has also opened up a new door for us to access great interactive stories also and a lot of them are either free to play, or have a very small fee attached, which is a game changer as younger players a can now get their hands on games with great playability, amazing stories and immersive gaming atmospheres for almost nothing.
The knock on effect this type of gaming has also is that younger people are now using these games as learning devices. Games such as Minecraft for instance, ecourages players to build worlds and create what they want to see. Games are also being transformed into educational tools also (see MinecraftEdu).
In the next few years, I think we’re going to see some major steps forward in how stories are told. We luckily have the technology on our side to create written stories and transform them into something completely “out there”. The amazing part about all of this also is that it’s no longer the traditional “intellectual writer” that is telling the story, but rather the nerd and his computer crafting these wonderful pieces of interactive literature and making them accessible for the world to enjoy