There's no thread for last weeks podcast yet and I want to respond to the question, so here goes.
In the past I would have immediately jumped to story being my default answer to this question, however I've dumped endless amounts of hours in games like team fortress 2 and more recently destiny. This has got to be one of the hardest questions I've had to answer, I just can't bring myself polarize between one end or the other. I have played games where the story was garbage and the gameplay was decent and just washed my hands of the situation and moved on, I also have played games where there is virtually no story but they have been well balanced fun community driven multiplayer games (tf2 daily for 5 years).
I think that I'm still going to side with story, because gameplay is great and necessary but it takes more than just gameplay to make a game good. If you don't have a good community or a good story gameplay is going to fall flat, playing something alone based solely on gameplay just isn't enough to to install a lasting impression. I will probably always remember tf2 but I doubt a game like rogue legacy will have a long lasting effect on me 3 years down the line.
If I am playing Multiplayer, I am more concerned with fun gameplay. However, for single player content I want a good story. If I'm dropping $60 on a game I want to get my money's worth. I don't play a whole lot of multiplayer, but would be really happy to find a multiplayer that has a great story to share with someone.
I would have to choose gameplay. A game can stand on it's own if it has great gameplay and is fun to play, even if there is no story. Whereas, in most cases, games that have terrible, unengaging or simply broken gameplay struggle to impress even when supported with a great story. There are, of course, exceptions but I feel like they are few and far between. From a more personal standpoint, I will find myself going back to games with good gameplay time and time again because they are fun to play. However, games with good story - no matter how much I enjoy the story - I will only rarely be interested in replaying because I have already experienced it.
It's a really hard question to answer. When playing multiplayer, gameplay is king... but when I think about it more, I can't help but choose story, and here is the reason:
The very best games, the ones that stick with you long after you complete them, are the ones that have the story and setting to move you at an emotional level. They go beyond the surface to something much deeper. They provoke residual thoughts and feelings even after you turn the system off. In that way, they truly become works of art.... I put Bioshock, Beyond Good and Evil, Planescape: Torment into this category. Even short, budget titles like Valiant Hearts and the Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons carry a longer lasting impression to me than something like Call of Duty or Rayman: Origins/Legends.... both games with amazing gameplay. Even as good as Rayman is now, I still think the best in the series was Rayman 2 for the Dreamcast... why? Because the story was so deftly told and moving... it went beyond just another platformer.
I also think creating a game with an incredible story is so much more of a rarity in our hobby that I immediately give them greater weight when thinking about "game of the year" type of rankings... They're transcendent to gaming.... and offer much more than just a distraction. They offer an experience.
Last Edit: Oct 6, 2014 7:38:06 GMT -5 by lanemeyer
Top 5 games of all time:
5. Deus Ex
1. Planescape: Torment
Back when I was a kid, I would have said story all the way. Hell, I'm someone who wanted to know what was going to happen to the freaking princess in all the Mario games.
Now though, having a limited time with gaming, gameplay is king. Like Jacqui, I skip most cutscenes, especially with games like Halo or Diablo where the story is just nonsense. So much story is tied up in other lore like collectables or even novels outside the game that it's near impossible to even follow the story in most games nowadays. But gameplay is what makes a video game a video game. For me, games are an escape from heavily steeped narratives like movies or books or TV shows, so when I want to sit down and game as an adult, I just want the shooty bits. I love to be pleasantly surprised when a game actually has a great story (like Bioshock Infinite), but if a game doesn't play well from the start, I'll never see that story through.
Currently reading comics and writing reviews for fun.
Post by supertaxnerd on Oct 8, 2014 16:27:17 GMT -5
I have over-thought this, and reached the conclusion that I do not believe you can bifurcate story and gameplay. You can analyze the merits of one separate from the other, but I think that they are linked. It is like trying to isolate the cinematography of a film, the rhyme and meter of a poem, or the art within a comic. These things are intrinsic parts of the story, they build context for the narrative, and in sum they create the story.
So to Rob's point about story being a secondary concern with gaming, I respectfully disagree. When I pick up the controller I am not looking to follow the narrative of Diablo III; I want to interact with the world of Diablo III. I am accessing the story, but not directly as I do with a movie or book. So I go to games for story, but I do not expect to get it through narrative, I get there through the gameplay.
Consider Titanfall, the story is the sum of a weak narrative combined with a rich environment. Including what the titans look like, the way the buildings are designed, the way the AI works, the environments . . . all of those things that you see that take it from skeletons and code, which are beautiful in their own way, and turn it into an interactive experience that you can connect with. Think of authors like Tom Clancy, Tolkien, Dan Simmons, or Jack London - they describe environments in painstaking detail . . . you can go full chapters without dialogue. I think story is the whole thing, where as narrative, defined for my purposes as the interaction of characters, is only a part of it - and it is a part that games often get wrong.
To get off onto a tangent - I think this is why cross media adaptations are hit and miss. The story is so tied to the media that it feels off when viewed in a different setting and it takes a long time to get a good sense of how to move a story from one to the other.
You show me a calendar that says "In July" and I'll make cheese for you.
Post by lissapunch on Oct 14, 2014 13:23:54 GMT -5
I was also anxious to answer this and for me, it's easy: game play. Simply because if the game play isn't fun and challenging (but not too hard), I won't stick with the game, so even if the story is amazing, I may not play it long enough to know. I believe game play is what pulls you in, the story is what makes the game more engaging and satisfying.
"If you loved me, you'd all kill yourselves today."