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KVELLER

How much do you care about Doom's plot?

Do you care about Doom's plot?  

109 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you?

    • More than I should, probably
    • I just want to have a general idea
    • You know what Carmack said...


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People who say game stories don't matter always confused me, because like ... have they ever actually played a game without any sort of cohesive narrative or plot?

 

Like, Doom's story isn't particularly deep, but it's an effective and the game is built entirely around the concept of a not-so-far-future space marine fighting off an invasion of hell either alone or ( during co-op play ) with a tiny team of other marines stuck in the same situation. The monster designs, weapons, decorations and textures, music, level design and names - it all comes together to form that narrative, and it helps actually bring context to what's happening instead of it just being meaningless shapes moving around and into other meaningless shapes.

 

Like2, Pong has a narrative. It's literally just "you and a friend play ping pong" but it's there, it's in the name. Goddamn Progress Quest, a game where you do nothing but making a character out of meaningless options and then watch a progress bar complete and a text log fill up with randomly generated text while numbers, has a fantasy-themed narrative. It's generic and has no real effort put in it, but it's also a major component to the game being a pastiche of grindy RPGs - without that narrative providing the context, it literally would just be a progress bar filling up and then unlabled numbers increasing with absolutely no meaning.

 

Granted, this points out that it's awfully hard to make a game without any sort of story, but making sure the story is at least consistent and serviceable is still an important part of making sure the player isn't taken out of the experience. Doom would probably be a lot less well-regarded if midway into episode 2, new enemies were introduced that looked like completely by-the-numbers children's cartoon characters and didn't die with any amount of blood, in spite of the game's previously ultraviolence. No, not twisted, demonic versions of cartoon characters, either; knock-off Bugs Bunnys pop up in E2M5 and appear in every map afterwards, complete with an incredibly exaggerated walk cycle and dumb noises.

 

And yes, I'm well aware that some of you are going to have a gut reaction to this post saying that you wouldn't think any less of Doom if that was the case, but I know you aren't actually trying to imagine what it'd be like if that happened. Sure, Doom might be narmy nowadays, but it was significantly less so when it was released and even nowadays such a completely out of place murder of the tone would seem like an incredibly bizarre, experience-dampening decision.

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I care extremely little about Doom's plot. I just want to fuck shit up.

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2 hours ago, printz said:

There is a huge potential for stories and events after Doom 2:

[...]

- do scientists manage to perfect teleportation

They tried. That's where Eternal Doom picks up. ;)

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7 hours ago, printz said:

Yeah, I care about the plots of these games a lot. There's nothing to lose if they have ambitious plots, even if the gameplay is so simple and unrealistic (lone dude winning against thousands of disorganized enemies).

 

There is a huge potential for stories and events after Doom 2:

- how big was the damage? Is most of the land still habitable?

- do scientists manage to perfect teleportation and avoid all the setbacks (brain damage, alien/demonic invasion)? If so, then that's a revolution.

- are there focused efforts to eradicate the alien/demonic threat and possibly colonize "hell"?

- alternatively, if humans are all doomed and possessed, does Hell find new alien worlds to conquer?

I can't read anything you say now without hearing it in Arcturus Mengsk's voice.

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Just enough story to have an idea of what's supposed to be going on is generally plenty.  Original Doom/Doom 2 did it right in this regard.

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I don't think Doom really needs a deep plot. All you need is a good reason to kill the army of Hell and you're good. Like how all you need for a good Mario game is a reason to save the princess.

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I really don't care about it since back in the 90s' there wasn't much plot in FPS'. It was nothing but shoot and kill

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On 09/02/2018 at 10:45 AM, Arctangent said:

People who say game stories don't matter always confused me, because like ... have they ever actually played a game without any sort of cohesive narrative or plot?

 

(...)
 

Like2, Pong has a narrative. It's literally just "you and a friend play ping pong" but it's there, it's in the name.

There is a difference between plot and narrative. The first one is imposed to the player under a chain of events, the second one doesn't require to be told to work. Actually, you can create a narrative without a word or any deep rationalization.

This is what I appreciate the most in Doom. As you said, you have monsters, weapons, textures, level design... It doesn't need a defined plot to convey the narrative. Besides, everything you need to know is already told when you start on E1M1: "You're alone, your friends are dead... and you have a gun."

Edited by Noiser

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On 2/9/2018 at 6:45 PM, Arctangent said:

People who say game stories don't matter always confused me, because like ... have they ever actually played a game without any sort of cohesive narrative or plot?

 

Well, I believe it varies from game to game. Not to say that a game can't have any plot at all, it's just that you can not pay even the slightest bit of attention to it and still enjoy it for what its worth.

 

As for having played a game without one; no I did not. I do think it might be an interesting experiment to try and create a game with NO plot at all. But I digress.

 

On one hand I can't imagine playing an RPG or something like Ace Attorney and not pay attention to every single bit of plot it has. But in case of some of the earlier Metroidvania games (I'm thinking of Circle of the Moon since it's the one that introduced me to this type of game) or the classic Megaman and Megaman X games, I really didn't think the plot mattered at all. I'm a dude; I have a whip; I kill monsters. In case of Megaman, I'm a robot; I shoot stuff. In these cases, I couldn't care less about who I am, who and why I'm fighting and what even is going on except me killing stuff, as long as the game-play holds up. Megaman could be killing aliens and chainsaw wielding serial killers and I wouldn't really care as long as the game is fun and enjoyable.

 

But that's my opinion though.

EDIT: Just for further clarification, the story and plot should be given importance based on what kind of game it is. Anything like the RPGs and Visual Novels should treat it's story with the highest priority. On the other hand, in games like Doom, the story can be super awesome but it doesn't need to do anything else other than set the theme of the game.

Edited by Zulk RS

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5 minutes ago, Zulk RS said:

Megaman X games, I really didn't think the plot mattered at all ... In case of Megaman, I'm a robot; I shoot stuff. In these cases, I couldn't care less about who I am, who and why I'm fighting and what even is going on except me killing stuff, as long as the game-play holds up.

You missed on a significant amount of the original Mega Man X, then; not only does the intro stage serve as a great indirect tutorial on a lot of the game's mechanics, but it also establishes the throughline of the entire game, by providing a rival of superior strength that you and X want to surpass - Zero - but also a reference point for that strength - Vile, who you can't even tell if you're damaging at first but Zero comes in defeats with a well-placed charge shot. Then, what happens through out the entire game? You get the standard Mega Man "you get new, more powerful weapons when you defeat a boss" shtick, but also you find upgrades in the stages which make you tougher and give you new abilities that resemble Zero's, as well as making you resemble Zero himself. By the end of the game, Vile shows up again, and Zero is annihilated during the fight, leaving only X to finish Vile off - and, indeed, afterwards should you not have found the buster upgrade, Zero's last actions is to hand you his own buster which serves the same purpose, which isn't quite a torch but make quite a bit of light anyway.

 

It's nothing mind-blowing, but it's a plot that the mechanics of the game are built around and will almost certainly resonate with the players - since, it is an action game with character progression, the player is going to want to get stronger like X does if they're playing it. Honestly, I can only imagine that this mindset made your experience with Mega Man X less than it could've been, as being in-sync with your player character is always a great thing for immersing yourself into a game.

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Though I do agree with what you said here, I don't think my mindset took away from the experience. I just enjoyed the game in a different way. Maybe because I was around 10-13 at the time and I played Lufia before X, when I got beaten up by Vile at the first stage to be saved by zero, I didn't think "I want to surpass Zero and Vile." I thought, "This is like that Gades fight I had no hope of beating from Lufia." But what I did think though "Man that level and the boss awesome. I bet the rest of the levels and their bosses are even more awesome." When I got the upgrades, it didn't occur to me that I was looking a bit more like Zero. I just thought X simply looked a lot cooler than before and he felt a lot better to play. The fact that the controls were pretty good helped immensely.

 

Now did the story have no effect at all on me? Not at all. I sat through the story and knew what was going on. Would it enhance my experience if it was better? Definitely! If a game has an epic story on top of epic mechanics than that would make the game more epic as a whole. But if the story wasn't there would it take away from my experience? If you we're talking keeping everything the way it was and just removing the cutscenes and texts? It would but as I said,

2 hours ago, Zulk RS said:

 the story can be super awesome but it doesn't need to do anything else other than set the theme of the game.

So if we were to remove the story, we'd have to replace vile with an actually beatable boss in the first stage and take zero out and then in the first Sigma stage, have a capsule to get the arm upgrade after beating vile. In that case, I personally don't think it would really take any of the fun of the game away.

Anything beyond that is a nice bonus. In this case, the purpose of the story should not be to turn a mechanically unimpressive game into a good one (Does not apply to RPGs and VN) but to make an already good game even better. That's what I think anyway.

 

As for making a good game that has NO story. I don't know of any games like that but I think it may be possible to do it.

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Not sure how I feel about this. The plot of the iWADs wasn't necessarily the greatest thing ever, Doom 3 and Doom'16 didn't really add much either, but some of pWAD storylines were quite alright I think. But even so, the story is what you get into like once, then you know what's up, and it's all about playing the game. But maybe I'm not in the proper age-group to say something about how important vanilla plot may or may not have been. I could imagine that back when doom came out this simplistic story actually added "something" to the overall experience.

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Taking the iwads' "plot" seriously is shameful, tbqh. It also goes hand in hand with other crimes, such as littering, using zdoom, poor dental hygiene...

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"DOOM has a plot?" AHAHAHAHA! IT JUST KEEPS GETTING FUNNIER EVERY TIME I HEAR IT!  Can't. Stop. LAUGHING! Seriously though I have always liked the story. Demons from another dimension invading because of a corporations decision to bend the laws of physics? That's awesome! I mean McDonalds does some pretty shady stuff, but they never opened a portal to hell. Not enough people talk about the social message about corporate greed and corruption in DOOM, regardless of whether it was intentional or not lol.

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9 hours ago, Nine Inch Heels said:

But maybe I'm not in the proper age-group to say something about how important vanilla plot may or may not have been. I could imagine that back when doom came out this simplistic story actually added "something" to the overall experience.

I don't know about that. I care about the plot and I was born almost a decade after Doom was released.

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I just play Doom to shoot shit and try not to get shot back at. Sometimes I throw in a mod to spice things up, or change the level layout so it doesn't get boring. That's 'bout it.

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19 minutes ago, KVELLER said:

I don't know about that. I care about the plot and I was born almost a decade after Doom was released.

Ironically I think even id didn't give much of a damn. I think I remember several instances in which developers said that whatever story there is, it is more or less "tacked on" to begin with. When you look at things like quake and such it becomes pretty obvious that they actually started giving even less of a fuck as time passed.

 

That said, I don't think the story in and of itself, or its importance overall, is anything that is even worth discussing to larger extents. It's there for those who want to get their "head-canon" going, but it's far from fleshed out. All it does is give you an idea where the game takes place, establishes the "good vs evil thing", plus a few "manly" lines here and there which are supposed to make you feel a bit more badass or provide a reason to smirk if you've made it past certain maps.

 

With that in mind, I find it amusingly confusing that people who are "nerdy" enough to even talk about a story from a game that is gonna hit the 30s soon (and can be printed out on less than 2 pages to get more than just gist of it), are so oblivious to how little thought was given to story-telling in action driven games of that day and age.

 

I'm not saying that, if the story does anything for you, you're "overvaluing" it, but at the same time I don't see any reason to make it a big deal to begin with. For me personally Doom just isn't immersive enough to justify any sort of thought in that regard as far as vanilla maps are considered. There are sets which have done it better in terms of using text as a way to convey a somewhat decent idea as to what's going on, but even when you look at "shadows of the nightmare realm", which has more storytelling than most other pWADs, it's still written in such a way that it leaves "loose ends" which you can tie together on your own as you go along.

 

All things considered, I don't care about the plot at all, I also don't really care what carmack said... Doom is about fast paced gameplay and brutal murderfests for me personally, and I don't need an incentive to ram a BFG up a cybie's ass and pull the trigger, or just beat the shit out of it with a berserk-fueled fist.

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4 minutes ago, Nine Inch Heels said:

Doom is about fast paced gameplay and brutal murderfests for me personally, and I don't need an incentive to ram a BFG up a cybie's ass and pull the trigger, or just beat the shit out of it with a berserk-fueled fist.

( this is all incentivized to you by the plot, by making the monsters unambiguously evil and therefore justifying unrestrained brutality against them, and also by giving both your attacks and the demons you use 'em on enough context so that they properly feel powerful enough to be gratifying )

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literally have 0% interest - for me doom is a fun challenging mechanical game.

the only wads that have inspired some 'plot' or backstory interest tend to either be really weird ones or heavily atmospheric maps. recent examples tn 07 by Roofi, and a lot of Sunlust's maps.

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51 minutes ago, Arctangent said:

( this is all incentivized to you by the plot, by making the monsters unambiguously evil and therefore justifying unrestrained brutality against them, and also by giving both your attacks and the demons you use 'em on enough context so that they properly feel powerful enough to be gratifying )

I literally do not give a damn what id thinks is an incentive for me or anybody else. I do it because it's fun. The simple visual gatification that a cybie turns into a red cloud has nothing to do with story telling in any way at all, and even though it isn't illustrated in any way shape or form I came up with the "BFG in the ass thing" on my own. I've yet to see a cybie "assplode". Yeah shit has horns and hoofs and whatnot, so it seems I shoot at demons, but if that in and of itself qualifies as "storytelling" it's no wonder hollywood movies suck so much these days...

 

Simply put: I do not give a crap about the plot. I also do not care if you think I care without actually knowing, because it turns out there are games which got me interested in the plot, and there's Doom's plot which I do not care about. So there's a good chance I can somehow tell them apart. The plot of the DoDonPachi series interests me, Doom's does not. In both cases the plot matters fuck all in terms of gameplay, for that matter.

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2 minutes ago, Nine Inch Heels said:

The simple visual gatification that a cybie turns into a red cloud has nothing to do with story telling in any way at all

I feel like this is like admitting you're the exact type of person to make those old Flash animations on Newgrounds that are taking like Pokemon or Pac-Man or Kirby and making them explode into a fountain of gore and ... well, that's really about it, since all that matters is the explosion of blood, no matter how well it fits into things, huh?

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I find the IWADs contextualize quite well. Stuff like art-style, music and their relation to a map's gameplay can enhance a map's quality. Oftentimes the best maps (both in the IWADs and PWADs) strike this balance. Examples from the IWADs would probably be most of E1 and E3, certain maps from E2 and E4, the hell levels and consistent gimmick levels in Doom 2, and some maps from TNT and Plutonia.

 

With better mapping knowledge available nowadays, we get better contextualisation. PWADs like Sunlust, Valiant, Ancient Aliens, etc. achieve this balance while map-sets like Sunder, Hellbound, etc. are gorgeous but, are somewhat lacking in terms of gameplay quality. Regardless, a map's art-style and music prime a player's expectations.

 

Doom's plot falls into contextualization quite well. A player who reads this can expect certain things from the game. But a player who has never read the plot can quite easily play and enjoy the game since there are other aspects that provide context to them.

 

Doom 3 and Doom 2016 have narratives, in the sense that there is more or less some story aspect that involves the player actively. Doom 1 and Doom 2 don't really have narratives since they are more like "You are here. Meanwhile, this happened five minutes ago!". All of them have backstory/lore of some kind and so have some semblance of a plot.

 

However, different people have different requirements for context. Some people are more than satisfied with core gameplay and have little preference for art-style, music, plot, etc. Others require all of the above to appreciate a game. As for me, I care about gameplay and art-style primarily. I appreciate good music too. I only consider the plot of a game if it's position is significant. Doom doesn't have plot significance to me.

Edited by SGS Man

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9 minutes ago, Arctangent said:

I feel like this is like admitting you're the exact type of person

Judge people much?

 

See that screenie here? The storytelling here is massive, right? Ironically that screenie is from a game which has me interested in the story. I don't really give a damn what it looks like when I blow stuff up, none of the numbers there are in any way shape or form immersive. All that I need the visuals to do is to let me know what is going on around me to begin with, if it doesn't looks utterly dreadful that's a nice bonus, and that's all there is to it. The information about how well I score or not is there, and that is all I need. By the same virtue I do not care if the cybie turns into a puddle of blood, a blueberry pancake, or whatever, all I need is the information that it's dead and where it died, because the latter makes memorization easier when I route maps.

20180214120053_1.jpg.a4a6c91b36ebcd3def059690f0c004dd.jpg

That said I'm gonna unsub from this thread now, because as it would appear someone around here has an ulterior motive when engaging in conversations with others.

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In conversations like this I've always felt it's important to differentiate between premise and plot.

 

Premise is the story that happens before the game.  It's the reasons and the motivations for everything being where it is.  It's the background of the world and the objectives of the characters at the start of the game.  Almost every game ever made has a premise, Doom included.  And Doom's premise (demons, Phobos, the UAC, the Doomguy, all that stuff) is pretty damn cool.

 

Plot is what happens during the game.  The narrative arcs, the character development, the twists and turns and surprises.  This is what Carmack was talking about when he said games don't need plot.  Doom is a great example: it doesn't have any plot and doesn't need it either.  Everything you need is included in the premise.  The only plot points you do get at the end of each episode are basically just the premise for the subsequent episode.

 

A great many games have huge, fleshed out premises, and have absolutely no plot at all.  Games like Mortal Kombat have tomes of premise and backstory, but the actual plot of the original games were non-existent.  Arguably, if you have a good enough premise, you don't even need any plot at all.  

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1 minute ago, Nine Inch Heels said:

See that screenie here? The storytelling here is massive, right?

Not really, but that's because you're trying to damn the game as a vapid light show with nothing interesting going on for it. Especially considering it's a game based around dodging bullets, so making the game look like pixel vomit makes it look like the designers had very little idea on what they're doing. It really doesn't seem like you like that game all that much if you're willing to discredit it so heavily just to try to make a point.

 

Still, there's still enough actually visible to gleam some stuff about the game's story. The prominent bars and focus on score numbers instantly show that it's something to be taken at arm's length, something just to give the player enough context for the game to be more than meaningless lights and noises. Still, even in the huge amount of wasted screen space, it's clear that it's sticking to that story even in an area that is mostly blank and is otherwise only occupied by detailed score info; the metallic green rims are shaped akin to a space-y door, which is further emphasized by the superfluous lights on the edges, and the hexagonal mesh that looks to be some sort of hard, military-grade plastic is a visual shorthand for more sci-fi space affairs. The futuristic setting is further reinforced by both the texture on various bars in the game screen, and the metal cube frame around what is likely the score objects of the game, given that their design doesn't really convey anything in particular and they have numbers prominently printed onto them. Numbers, again, drawn to look sci-fi.

 

It's hard to tell anything else about the game because it's all buried under pixel vomit that looks like absolute shit in a still frame, but even with as little as I have to go on I can tell it's some sort of sci-fi space game, likely with a relatively less fantastical bend then, say, Gradius what with the metallic-looking stuff that can be seen not seeming all too sleek. Though I have to say, the color coordination seems a little bit confused - the bar on the top looks like a boss health bar that starts light blue and degrades to red, yet the same blue is used as like an aura shadow for the score items? I mean, the score items also have a similar green in their core to the bar under what looks like the bonus score system, so it's not just a color pulling double duty as ill-advised as it is to have a "friendly" entity and a enemy sharing a color like that. Maybe it's just the art director's favorite shaded of blue, considering it's used in the bar at the bottom's letting, but that seems like a pretty thoughtless reason to do something like that. There's also the fact what looks to be the player's barrier has the same color as the projectiles that look like they're coming from what's maybe the boss buried under all the score items - I mean, one of the projectile types is blue with that pink-purple as some sort of aura, but the others are just flat-out pink-purple.

 

Man, I'm impressed. CAVE shooters are usually so clean and parseable with their visuals, but you managed to find something like that, that looks ... pixel vomit really is the only way to put it.

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Plot has to exist to make anything worth while.

 

Plot, down to the core, can, will and has shaped themes, art and even gameplay.

 

If basic plot were not there we'd be looking at a shotgun blast of shitty unmatched ideas and total inconsistent bullshit that'd look like a typical hack job early access Steam game made in Unity.

 

You want a game with no plot? You must be nuts.

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