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How important are storylines for video games?

Blake Snow

Let's get one thing straight: there are some crap storylines in video games. Sometimes so bad that if you're in the middle of a game with a bad storyline while playing in front of a non-gamer, you almost feel embarrassed for playing it. But how important is the narrative of video games to the overall experience? 1UP has a little developer roundtable of sorts exploring the importance of gameplay and storylines in games.

From the article: "Games are all about the player experience -- about DOING things, not about watching things or hearing about things. And that means that a narrative game has to put the player experience first and the narrative second. However, left to their own devices, most players aren't very GOOD at crafting compelling experiences -- just as most readers aren't good writers, and most moviegoers aren't great directors. And that's where story comes in."

In response, the Slashdot community makes some interesting points. Said one commenter: "Depends on the game really. For 1:1 fighters, FPSes, and platformers, yeah, I like a story. But games like Tetris? Nah." And another: "Good gameplay can save a game with a terrible story. But a good story can't save a game with terrible gameplay." So how important are stories for games, and does it take a good storyline to review above a 9.0?

[via Slashdot]

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