Thursday, May 26, 2005

My Love is Like a Rose...

So, with the advent of the new Fire Emblem game, there has been a new simmer of gamers talking about how much they like it. One of the major reasons they like it, usually, is the way that the characters can get to like each other and you get these little scenes of interaction as you go along.

I haven't played it. I don't own a portable game device of any kind. But I definitely know what they're talking about. One of the big draws of Star Ocean II was the character interactions.

I have been saying, recently, that the QUALITY of a story doesn't matter very much in a game. Obviously, people would prefer a better story, but the story's primary purpose is to give the game an ENDING. Essentially, to turn the game into a PUZZLE rather than a GAME.

So I thought I'd point this out. The actual STORY in Star Ocean II is STUPID. I don't know the story in Fire Emblem, but I would bet it was a pretty shallow story, too. But the actual NARRATIVE CONTENT was quite good.

Just remember: small, interesting character stories are quite as good as big, long arcs of plot. Not all narratives need to be big, or even important.

What's better, in my opinion, is that these narratives don't DRIVE the game, they're just along for the ride. They're optional, fun little bits - almost a game in themselves.

In short, they don't necessarily give a game an "end". They break the classical "narrative" rules.

I like 'em.

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