Gameplay vs Story

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by SacredWarrior, Jul 30, 2016.


Gameplay or Story?

  1. Gameplay

    5 vote(s)
  2. Story

    2 vote(s)
  3. Case by Case

    20 vote(s)
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  1. Oh Lord this is gonna turn ugly XD But I gotta ask. Which do you find more important? Or do you think it's a case by case basis? This video pretty much explains my view points:

    Some games are made for story telling while others are not.
  2. I can't watch the video at the moment.

    However, I was talking to my friend about this yesterday. I'm more into the story a game has to offer than the actual game-play. So if there's a game with not much story behind it, I'm not really going to be interested much. Unless it's something like a sandbox game, where I'm building my own story.
    #2 Greenie, Jul 30, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2016
  3. Depends how much of a game your game is. Visual Novels which contain only a minimalist sense of game design (ex: Visual Novels) do better with more story emphasis. Others like strategy games do better with more refined gameplay, story being a pleasant but ultimately unnecessary secondary addition.

    Also, keep in mind storytelling for video games is different from other mediums. You can tell stories through gameplay. This War of Mine does an excellent job of doing that, by forcing you to make decisions about what you're willing to do to survive and keep your loved ones safe. Do you kill the man hording food who is trying to feed his daughter, thus potentially risking your own life and the lives of those depending on you should you find nothing else after? Either way it's a story decision, triggered not by scripted event, but by what you choose to do. Starcraft I also does an excellent job of that through music and gameplay styles. The Zerg are a constantly evolving rush-force that feel as such in gameplay. The Protoss are slow and methodical, each of their units stronger than most others within their comparative area, but which cost more food, so your armies are always a little smaller than the others--every unit feels like it has more value as a result.

    Video games are also an extremely visual mode of storytelling. You can have your games tell a lot about the worlds they're in without having a single line of dialogue or narration talking about them.

    Finally, it's also a medium that hasn't quite nailed down how to consistently tell solid stories within itself yet. It's got a ways to go still, it's still maturing and learning. So keep in mind that nobody yet knows all the answers about it.

    ... Erm, by that I mean that storytelling is not the same as writing, though they're related topics. My skill set as a story teller in role playing can carry over ideas like plots, premises, themes, character archetypes, tropes, et cetera. It, however, will not prepare me for the vast gap difference in how writing the stories is actually handled. (Video game writing is like, 90% editing, and a solid half of whatever you write will end up on the cutting room floor, never to be seen by anyone. Meaning your stories have to be highly modular too.) It's why most role players who write their first novel create complete fucking trash (assuming they even finish it) on their first attempt, no matter how much experience they have with RP writing.

    It's an important note because it explains why so many novel writers have hopped on over to games, made an attempt, and created a defunct piece of trash. Even if their own novels may actually very well be passably entertaining.
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  4. Case by case. In some games, where the gameplay is awful but the story is engaging (Mass Effect, for example), I'll stick with it just to get the story. Games like Skyrim with okay stories make up for it with enjoyable gameplay.
  5. You could bring Robert E. Howard back from the dead and have him write the plot for your video game and I still wouldn't play it if the gameplay itself bores me into a coma.
  6. There are games that I play because I enjoy the gameplay. There are games I play because I enjoy the story. I've never felt much of a strong preference for one over the other in a general sense. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    It just depends on what the game wants to be, really... some games just don't need much of a story. I don't find myself asking what exactly led up to the conflict between Pac-Man and the ghosts because, it's just not necessary. All you're focused on is the gameplay -- and that's ok.

    Of course, if a game tries to place focus a story that feels annoying or uninteresting, then it makes sense that that would be a drawback. But if there's hardly any story to speak of? Or just an extremely simple good vs evil narrative to serve as the setup for the game? That's fine too, so long as the gameplay is enjoyable.

    And then, if the gameplay is annoying or cumbersome, then that would also be a drawback... but I don't mind simple gameplay if I'm more invested in the game's story, anyway.

    Basically, some games focus more on story, and others focus more on gameplay -- and I think that's fine, so long as the devs know what kind of game they want to create. I don't think one is inherently better than the other -- it's just a matter of making at least one of these things good enough to make you want to come back to the game, and making the other tolerable at the very least, so as to not detract from the strong points of the game. :P
  7. Its always an awkward question because there are games that literally have no story and are still very fun. Then there's the fact that if your game has little focus on gameplay, it stops being a game and starts being moving pictures. I think I have to go with case by case since it depends so much on the intention of the game developers and if they deliver on it.

    For instance, MOBAs need to be smooth and responsive in order to have longevity. Its why so many update often and on a regular schedule. The gameplay is reliant on reacting to real-time button presses. Meanwhile I also play School of Dragons from time to time, which is much clunkier, but is still satisfying as a "winding down" type of game. You get to raise a bunch of dragons, yay. The controls are wonky and sometimes it closes out on its own, but you don't really lose anything if that happens. There's no risk in having to restart it and loading up only take a few seconds. They are working on improving the game and all, but due to the game-type it doesn't feel as punishing.

    Sorry if any of this is muddled. I just got back from a three day convention. I have thoughts I want to share, but also a bed screaming my name. xD
  8. Unless it's a role-playing game, I put gameplay above all else. They're called video games for a reason, if I was more concerned with story, I'd watch a movie or read a book.
  9. It's absolutely a case by case thing. For me it depends a lot on genre, and there's a sort of spectrum to it but for most genres I predominantly care about the gameplay and any good story stuff is a bonus. I'll make a list to explain what I mean.

    100% Gameplay: Strategy, platformer, puzzle, MOBA (League of Legends and Dota 2 type things), fighting, racing, sports.
    Mostly Gameplay: Action/adventure, FPS (because I only really play single-player campaigns, not multiplayer).
    50/50: MMORPGs.
    Mostly Story: RPGs.
    100% Story: Text adventures, visual novels.

    But it should be noted that good story can greatly improve the mostly and totally gameplay-focused genres, and good gameplay makes the mostly and totally story-focused genres a lot more fun. It's never really an either/or situation, it's about prioritizing and balancing the two to achieve the kind of experience you want the game to give. A puzzle game with shitty puzzles but tons of story stuff fails to deliver on the intent of a puzzle game; a visual novel with complex game elements but barely any story to speak of isn't really worth calling a visual novel. Different game types work better for different focuses, and trying to get fancy with story or gameplay elements in a genre that doesn't naturally compliment them is often going to detract from the type of experience players are looking for. Prioritization and balance are key.
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  10. On average I prefer story. But it's seriously a case-by-case basis.

    For example.
    In Mount and Blade story is clearly the best, how else shall I conquer the pesky Swadians?

    But for stuff like The Walking Dead?
    Mmmm... That and point and click gameplay is just superb.
  11. Case by case.

    I don't play JRPGs or western CRPGs for gameplay. Because, let's face it, its boring. You're there for the more engaging element - story, characters, and music. Occasionally, I get a game with interesting gameplay and story, but I don't go into an RPG expecting it.

    FPS games, tournament fighters, competitive gameplay, RTS, and especially action/platform games absolutely need to have good gameplay. Part of what I loved about the Assassin's Creed games is that the early installments had such a unique way of playing with the Puppeteering system and context-sensitive Freerunning system. The Arkham series made sure the gameplay made you feel like the overwhelmingly competent Batman, even when you were surrounded by roomfuls of armed mooks - because, damn it, you were the Goddamn Batman and you were going to OWN everyone in that room!
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