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Hoping for better in-game stories next year

Zack Stern

Mike Antonucci of the San Jose Mercury News posts three game wishes -- resolutions he hopes to impose on others -- for the new year, including a demand for games to have good stories. He estimates that 95 percent of games have no story compared to movies, books, or other kinds of entertainment. We strongly agree and disagree with his hope for more story; games that have plots should have strong stories within the gameplay, and games without plots should skip storytelling altogether.

Too often, games try to behave as movies. We understand the urge to follow other established conventions; game design is still a young form of expression, and new mediums naturally emulate old ones. But games are unique. We want to play, not watch; unraveling a story within the gameplay is ideal, but waiting for cut-scenes gives us half of a game and half of a movie. Designers, if the story doesn't belong in the action, it doesn't belong in the game.

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