Absolutely beautiful post. It’s so true, poignancy and character and emotional connection are easier to evoke and more effective in spaces with which we’re familiar. I think also of the best parts of Heavy Rain, and the upcoming That Dragon, Cancer. Thanks!
Of course you could probably just open my computer and read everything on it, too, but that’d be no fun. There’d be no game in that.
Is this the part where we suggest that the author has a biased viewpoint of what constitutes a “game” and should be more open-minded about the nature of new interactive experiences?
There are certainly digital spaces which could call up these sorts of personal stories too. I could certainly see games about exploring a defunct BBS, forum, or similar. Chatrooms password protected with half-remembered in-jokes, all the petty drama which used to seem so important, etc. I’m sure similar games are out there but I’m drawing a blank.
I think for me the distinction is that one person’s computer is really just that person’s space, while shared spaces are just more interesting for storytelling.
Well, storytelling is what we do here, isn’t it?
I’ve said for a long time the MMORPG of the forum where we discuss the games is a more fun and long lasting game, than the games themselves.
I misunderstood the title. But the misunderstanding was interesting too…
What if it was your house? Suppose the game contains the plot, but it (or you acting for it) has to snapshot parts of your house every time the game wanted another bit. What’s behind this door? It’s a cupboard. What’s in it? Who is this? What do they do? What do you look like? With a bit of intelligent object recognition, we ought to be able to recognize useful plot objects, and step around the odd weird thing they cannot figure out.
Would this be fun, or creepy? My bet is on creepy, but some people like that.
Chibi-Robo: Photo Finder on the 3DS kind of steps in that direction. Reviews suggest that sufficiently capable object recognition is Not There Yet.
Those games exist, even! Digital: A Love Story is my favorite of the genre, for sure. An absolutely amazing game set in the late-80s/early-90s bbs systems
Graham Nelson once wrote that typical adventure games are “a novel at war with a crossword puzzle” in that they are trying to tell a story as well as being an interesting game with puzzles to solve. Lately, the trend seems to be to drop the “crosswords” and just tell a story spread out among various mouse clicks with very little in gameplay involved. As a fan of the Infocom text adventures and the LucasArts graphic adventures, I’m not convinced this is the right strategy.
@jhbadger Why not both? Hadean Lands came out less than a year ago, probably the finest adventure game puzzler in a couple of decades. IF Comp swings around every fall, dumping a huge batch of new IF in our laps, many of which are puzzlers. This year’s ParserComp’s two best games, Oppositely Opal and Chlorophyll, are puzzlers. Life Is Strange and the Telltale games lean toward narrative-based puzzles (do I support this other’s character’s scheme or denounce them as crazy?), rather than fiddling with inventories and trying to find obscure objects in a scene, but it’s hard to argue that they suffer for it. 80 Days and Sorcery! have varying degrees of puzzle-ness to go with their narrative. It seems to me like a huge variety of techniques and gameplay possibilities are being explored right now.
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