Storytelling found an audience through time, across countless platforms. From oral sharing, to hand written text, to expression to the masses with the advent of the printing press. Video gaming finds itself the newcomer in this scene, but what it brings is exciting and has more depth than many people may realize. But what does the medium offer that others don’t?
Memories of old platforms and applications bring thoughts of Mario jumping and Sonic spinning. Simple game play grounded games with little or lacking story material. Present day games offer not only heavy, story-driven plots, but interactivity and choice that can have significant implications on the culmination of the story’s end. The choices you make in sometimes morally questionable or ambiguous environments will follow your journey to the end just like they would in the real world. These choices can happen quickly with little time to ponder, and just like in your own life sometimes the path to your desired outcome is only found in hindsight. In fact, many games can have multiple endings based on the plot decisions you made for the characters along the way. These paths in the story make it your own, and add a gravity and anticipation unmatched. You’re no longer a passive participant just waiting to see what happens.
Innovation is always being applied to video games at a constant and blistering pace that can make games feel unique year over year. Game play can tie in closely and become part of the story’s narrative, and give the player mechanics that require you to do your part. The protagonist cannot progress their story without your help. There is no waiting idly to see what happens next. You, the player, must make the story and the characters continue to the precipice. You’re part of this now, and it can’t be done without you! Facing the challenge of a seemingly impossible boss, with the odds stacked against you makes seeing what happens next even sweeter when you do overcome.
The mechanics and technology of video games makes them ideal for storytelling, especially with that technology in a state of constant evolution and change. With virtual reality becoming less science fiction and more reality, storytelling in games will become even more immersive. That means that video games will continue to offer new ways of bringing that interactivity and emotional connection to players on completely different levels. However, storytelling in video games may very well still be in its infancy. Only time will tell if the medium can supplant other more established forms of media. Whether you’re new to video games, or if you’re a veteran of the arcade, the growing library of games can carry you into immersive worlds.