While hanging out at a friend’s dorm (we’ll call her “G”) the other day, the topic of video game graphics and storylines came up. We were waiting out the rain so we decided to play GTA V. After attempting to break onto the military base numerous times— and ultimately failing after each attempt— I just had to ask her what exactly the storyline for the game was. I mean, we had literally spent a little over two hours running over people in expensive cars, robbing banks on a whim, carjacking dozens of cars, and destroying half of the police force; all of which had nothing to do with the progression of the game. She gave me a look that practically screamed “duh” as she told me, “ You’re suppose to go around completing missions for this guy named Roman, but after the first five or six missions, most people ignore him and do whatever they want. It’s practically an open-world were you can fulfill every evil whim that you’ve wanted to do.” I stared at her. “That’s it?” She nodded. “That’s it.”
Are. You. Serious!?
To me, the storyline is the most important element in a video game. I mean, what’s the point of playing a game if you have no objective? What’s your motivation? I play Pokémon because, no matter how cliché the plot is, it still stays interesting because of the multiple objectives I have to complete and the various different mini games you came perform that vary from game to game. When Pokemon X and Y cam out, the fact that you can actually sit in the game was a huge deal. And don’t get me started on riding Pokemon…
But I digress. I wholly believe that storylines are more important that graphics; gamers are more than willing to purchase titles without all the graphic bells and whistles if they can get into a good, solid plot. A good storyline encourages gamers to form bonds with the characters they play as they- the gamer and the character they play as- overcome challenges and learn more about the characters history. The emotional experiences you undergo really endear you to the characters your playing as, thus allowing you to get a more personal experience with the game. Take Thomas was Alone as an example.
Thomas was Alone is a indie puzzle game that is described as a “minimalist game about friendship and jumping.” The main character is a red rectangle named Thomas who, at the start of the game is, you guests it, alone. What makes this game interesting is that Thomas and other polygons, who later become available to play as, are AI’s in a computer mainframe that have developed personalities and each possess different abilities that will help you pass through the obstacles of each level. Other than just solving each puzzle to bypass each level, the game comes off as charming as you watch the friendship between the polygon friends grow as they help each other across each level, and finally escape from the mainframe and enter into society.
I feel as if my words don’t give this game, and many games like it, the justice it deserves. Yes, it may seem a bit silly, but in this case it really is the experience of the storyline that really makes the game. I highly recommend this game for any gamer that A. enjoys puzzles or B. can’t pass up a great storyline that could put most big budget games to shame.