From 2010 to 2013 I was a writer at http://www.GodisGeek.com, working first as a Staff Writer before graduating to Features Writer, where I wrote a series of twenty articles for http://www.GodisaGeek.com analysing narrative in games. The full list of articles is available here, but if you just want a flavour here are a few snippets.
The Story Mechanic Part Three: A Conversation with Edmund McMillen
“For me, it’s less of a message and more of a conversation”.
Edmund McMillen hits on it easily and succinctly; stories in games are difficult. What makes them different from other media, what makes us demand so much of them, is that fundamentally they demand something from us in return. It is rare in TV, film or books that a story is so hidden from us that we have to actively engage in finding it. Characters and plots usually wash over us, pouring out of screens and pages like fast flowing water. In games, we have to succeed at something to be rewarded with story; kill a boss, master a technique, grasp a hidden meaning. We have to dig with our fingers for the tiniest drop.
The Story Mechanic Part Sixteen: Local Hero
As it turns out, the wait wasn’t without good reason. Since Ni No Kuni’s release in Japan, we have witnessed a studio’s superhuman effort to mould a quintessentially Japanese RPG into an adventure that spans cultures, continents and the age gap, to deliver a game worthy of the Ghibli name.
That time and effort was all poured into localisation and it is a reminder of something very important: That you truly need every department working together to deliver great story in a game. The necessity of integrating story and and gameplay in a meaningful way, the core of this column, is a point that has been made here many times. Another point, made exactly as many times, is that achieving this is far from simple. In reality every department, from level design to gameplay design, programming, testing, art and music, need to be perfectly in sync for the game to deliver its desired message. When it comes to translating a game from one language to another, the localisation becomes another challenge for a studio to overcome.
The Story Mechanic Part Nine: Lore Unto Themselves
I have a fearful Twix addiction. I don’t want to make light of other confectionary addictions, but my addiction to Twix, those two beautiful, chocolately, caramelly fingers, rivals Alan Partridge’s addiction to Toblerone as the single most debilitating chocolate addiction a journalist has ever suffered.
So hooked am I, that when I’m snaffling down the last morsels of that wonderful, evil chocolate, I glow for a brief second, then thank my lucky stars that I never tried smoking, heroin, or Bourneville.
I also remind myself never to try MMOs. I’ve seen the Raptr accounts of the GodisaGeek writers. Many of them are well up into the thousands of hours spent playing World of Warcraft. On top of that, many of them play more than one MMO. I’m sure that, if I started in an online world, a time would come when the council boarded up my flat around me, condemned it, then demolished it just as I took my seventeenth character to the level cap. I would die happy, but also sad, and probably full of chocolate.
The Story Mechanic Part Four: Masters of a Universe
Regular visitors to GodisaGeek.com will know that, far from just being one of the best news, reviews, features and podcast sites on the internet (*payrise forthcoming*), GiaG is also home to the official Darksiders Fan Club. Whilst I don’t want to speak for everyone who works here, everyone thinks Darksiders is absolutely fuggin’ fantastic. Again, without wanting to put words in people’s mouths, we all think that it is one of the underrated classics of this console generation with possibly the greatest fist-in-the-air, heart-in-the-mouth, twinge-in-the-trousers endings of any game. Ever.