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MeetyourUnmaker

I think John Carmack was wrong in regards to a story in video games.

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I honestly think that Carmack was either shortsighted or naive with that quote, just because something hasn't been done doesn't mean that it can't be done, or that it shouldn't be done. The fact that around the change of millenium several highly regarded story based fps emerged (Half Life, Deus Ex, System shock and Halo to name a few) shows that story can be good, really good addition to the game, just like sound and graphics. 

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Conversely, too much dependence on story can be a bad thing (every modern shooter in existence), because then where's the drive to explore the world? I have to agree that story shouldn't be too intertwined with gameplay, and that a good balance can make for a good game (though Doom's story is almost entirely told in text screens and backstory), but a game with no story can very easily be just as much fun to play, as long as its mechanics make sense and it's easy enough to control (that's something I think breaks some games that would otherwise be really fun).

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That quote is a little narrow-minded, but for some games it does make sense. I still think Portal trumps its sequel because it's a puzzle game first and foremost. The setting and the characters are just icing on the cake (really good icing though). Portal 2 tried to tell a grander, more sophisticated story, and it's a weaker game for it, often spending too much time showing off cool vistas, or scenes of destruction, rather than the puzzles.

 

On the other hand, some games absolutely need a great story to be successful, games like SpecOps: The Line, The Last of Us, or any of TellTale's games.

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I replay half-life/hl2 like once every 8 years; while amazing, it's mentally draining to fire up the engine, configure controls, watch the intro scripted events, play through the introductory tutorial-esque maps, and finally get going to the action. With doom, I -warp map28 and have the engine running in a few milliseconds, ass deep in the action and not feel like I've missed any story elements.

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Less explanation just means there is no explanation required. You go in, shoot all the demons, etc. Story is good when you want to learn more about the game's setting and stuff, but it also gets in the way of the fast paced gameplay. I kind of agree with the quote.

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Some additional optional background story is fine, as long as it doesn't drive the gameplay.

I also like games where the story is clues, notes and hidden stuff you find if you explore enough, where you let to wonder what's the story behind without being force to read stuff or watch cinematics. But modern games are trying too much to look like movies and that even impacts level design.

Deus Ex had a story and many characters to talk to, notes to find and read the background elements of the story, but much of the game was letting you freely explore and take whatever path you want and maybe miss some things behind unless you want to explore everything.

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Posted (edited)

Games with back story and no story let you imagine your own story.

 

John Carmack was wrong about a lot of things, but what's important is you're famous enough that people don't care.

 

As for Telltale games having a great story... well when you have minimal gameplay all you have is the story and suddenly it becomes good. I've had to replay the Walking Dead season 1 a lot for people who don't play games, but who wanted to see the story without watching on Youtube. They tended to hate the story even if it was literally a chose your own adventure.

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15 minutes ago, geo said:

As for Telltale games having a great story... well when you have minimal gameplay all you have is the story and suddenly it becomes good.

The only Telltale game I played was Minecraft Story Mode, and my friend was watching me play it as I went through the first episode. It was trying to tell a story, but it wasn't able to take it even remotely seriously, so we wound up laughing our asses off making fun of its absurdity before I returned it and got my money back the next day.

A ridiculous game can work (there's lots of those out there), but when a game goes beyond ridiculous and into downright ludicrous, it seems to fall under a sort of So Bad, It's Good territory, especially when it's trying to tell a rather serious story, which was the downfall of Minecraft Story Mode for us, microtransactions excepted.

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, Aquila Chrysaetos said:

The only Telltale game I played was Minecraft Story Mode, and my friend was watching me play it as I went through the first episode. It was trying to tell a story, but it wasn't able to take it even remotely seriously, so we wound up laughing our asses off making fun of its absurdity before I returned it and got my money back the next day.

A ridiculous game can work (there's lots of those out there), but when a game goes beyond ridiculous and into downright ludicrous, it seems to fall under a sort of So Bad, It's Good territory, especially when it's trying to tell a rather serious story, which was the downfall of Minecraft Story Mode for us, microtransactions excepted.

I've played through Jurassic Park, Batman, Walking Dead Seasons 1 & 2. I tried playing through Back to the Future, but it was just too boring and a bit archaic as in hunt til you find what to do rather than keep the story going. I played it with someone who loved the franchise and she was instantly bored with it. We made it through the first episode. I own a bunch of the others via bundles and I have yet to play them.

 

Walking Dead 500 Miles or whatever its called felt like the best, because it told 5 different stories and they could all be so outlandish and cool because there's no consequences, its just off to the next mini story. Other than that Walking Dead seems like someone will hate you no matter what you do. The infinite replayability of chose your own story feels a bit shallow like if someone lives and someone dies, they stay out of the next chapter and only appear toward the end just to die anyway.

 

The Batman game I felt was great, but there's just one catch... "take everything you know about Batman and throw it out the window." After playing through Arkham Origin prior to this, its just a shock. You need to relearn villains and stories. Its certainly Telltale's twist on a new story. Another thing that hurt the game is that when transitioning from the demo of 1 episode to the full version it failed to remember my data. So I opted to let the game pick my episode 1 choices for me rather than sit through 2+ hours again. Apparently the game made Batman to be a jerk for me. Thanks game.

 

The Jurassic Park one, I enjoyed, and it brought new stuff to the lore, but when it was all done, I remembered nothing about what happened. I remember the character tropes, but that's about it.

 

Now I guess I need to play Minecraft Story Mode.

 

I dread playing Telltale games because I know I'm in for a 2 - 4 hour sit of watching something play out when I could just watch a movie or two and be so much more entertained.

 

Mass Effect is a better chose your own story game with actual gameplay and actual fun mixed in.

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I never have liked stories during a game.

 

My opinion: If you want a story, go read a book, or watch a movie. All a game should have is a simple setup to describe the theme/setting.

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Is that quote confirmed and legit and stuff?

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3 minutes ago, Memfis said:

Is that quote confirmed and legit and stuff?

Yes it is. He's also the guy that secretly put secrets in Wolfenstien 3D as well, so there's secretly a story in Doom.

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3 minutes ago, geo said:

Yes it is. He's also the guy that secretly put secrets in Wolfenstien 3D as well, so there's secretly a story in Doom.

pldar.jpg

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Yeah, well. I think he was correct in regards to story in videogames. Whatchu gon' do? :P

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58 minutes ago, kdoom said:

My opinion: If you want a story, go read a book, or watch a movie. All a game should have is a simple setup to describe the theme/setting.

 

Stupid. Not every game needs to be Pong. 

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Posted (edited)

One of my all time favorite games is very much like Bauul described. Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind has one of the most nonlinear stories in the series (Daggerfall was so nonlinear, that time broke in-universe and every ending happened at once), because you could go the route of prophecy and become the Ultra-Giga Badass Messiah Ubermensch the prophecy says will come, or you could say "fuck that," and kill a few gods and save the world through completely mundane means (though with the same not-so-mundane tools) with no help from anyone except Yagrum Bagarn (the last Dwemer) and your own power.

I always liked that optional "back-way" route you could take, because it was a lot of fun.

 

Contrast Oblivion and Skyrim where it's "follow this chain of events as we tell you and save the world this exact way." Your story is under your control, until the devs write it for you with no choices. You can't say "Well, Alduin is going to destroy the world, so I'll just be an omnicidal maniac and kill everybody ahead of time," or, "How about Miraak and I join forces and we conquer the world ourselves," or anything else. Even the Dawnguard endings are the same, just with pretty much cosmetic differences.

 

Damn it, if I'm going to play a role-playing game, I'd like the option to actually be a villain, because that sounds like fun. Unfortunately, Morrowind didn't give you that option, either. You couldn't kill Dagoth Ur and conquer the world yourself (or destroy it, or just kill everybody, or whatever), you could only kill him and destroy his source of power (thus the killing). Necromancer Bob over there is trying to control the world with his undead army. What an idiot! I'll tap into the heart of a dead god and construct my own army to control the world. I'd like that option, which is where the story would come in.

 

Edit: Actually, you can kill everybody, if you want to. I forgot that for a moment.

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Wow guys don't y'all get tired of all this over and over again??

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3 minutes ago, bzzrak said:

Wow guys don't y'all get tired of all this over and over again??

 

Yes.

 

Assuming you are referring to posts like yours. 

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Doom did have a story though, and quite a linear one at that. No matter how you complete E1M1 (forgot its name), you have E1M2 next (forgot its name too). And at the end of each episode, you get the same text no matter which ethical decisions you made during the game up to that point.

 

However, there is one good thing about it: it doesn't get in the way of the action. (Looking at you, Doom 3)

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Just now, 42PercentHealth said:

 No matter how you complete E1M1 (forgot its name), you have E1M2 next (forgot its name too). And...

I am dissapoint

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Since games are now considered a form of art, like any other art form, it's subjective. What Carmack said back then was affected by his era, when games were only considered as simple interactive entertainment, and not much people gave attention to the story of the game they're playing. "Art games" today are still affected by the notion Carmack knew, but to a lesser extent. 

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I think people took him a bit out of context. He said it wasn't very important, he didn't say it didn't matter at all. With a video game, typically the gameplay reins supreme above all else. Yes, it's great if it's complemented with other things like good graphics and audio, a rich plot (That doesn't wrestle control away from the player too much), as well as things of that sort but how the game plays is the most important factor. Doom 2016 has a ton of lore, if you're willing to dig for it, but the game gets out of its own way for those who, like Doom Slayer, couldn't care less. Demons are invading, stop the demons. That's all you need to know to stop them.

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