Your Favorite Video Game, Story-Wise (and why)

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  • Your Favorite Video Game, Story-Wise (and why)

    My top three (in any order are):

    1. Fallout (the original, but I'm also partial to Fallouts 3 and 4).
    2. World of WarCraft (because the lore is so deep).
    3. BioShock, because it's a meditation on the relationship between the player and the game designer.

    What are yours?

  • #2
    Re: Your Favorite Video Game, Story-Wise (and why)

    I can't properly contribute to this thread because my gaming years ended before games had the cinematic storylines they do today. But of the games I've played that do have a narrative, my top three are ...

    1. Metal Gear Solid (PlayStation one)
    2. Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones (Game Boy Advance)
    3. Cave Story (PC)

    Not that it's relevant, but my all time favourite game is F29 Retaliator (Amiga 500). Not a shred of story - just awesome gameplay. I believed I could fly.
    Know this: I'm a lazy amateur, so trust not a word what I write.
    "The ugly can be beautiful. The pretty, never." ~ Oscar Wilde

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    • #3
      Re: Your Favorite Video Game, Story-Wise (and why)

      Bioshock
      Farcry 3 and 4
      and one I can't recall the name of - Imperial Japan made a dooms day weapon, flash forwards to the present day and a team are sent out to recapture it off the maniac who has redeveloped it????
      I heard the starting gun


      sigpic

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      • #4
        Re: Your Favorite Video Game, Story-Wise (and why)

        1. The Ultimate Stuntman (NES) Not a great winner for story here with mega slugs, evil androids, bomb disposal and such, but this is to games what 80's action movies are to cinema: Entertaining (often ridiculously so) breezy and full of well...action.

        2. Super Mario Bros. (NES) The hero's journey. Mario pursues a goal in the face of opposition. Forget the lack of mentor characters (does the little mushroom guy count?). I enjoy this game for its purity of storytelling, and increasing odds as you advance to your ultimate goal: Rescuing the princess! Simple, but timeless.

        3. Half-Life (PC) because of the sense of isolation the game creates and moments of discovery that are player made for the most part (unlike the sequel where other - invincible - characters not so subtly nudge you in the right direction). It really takes advantage of the first person format and feels cinematic in all the right ways without becoming bogged down in "creating moments". They just happen.

        Last edited by ShakeyAnderson; 06-25-2016, 03:09 PM. Reason: type-o

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        • #5
          Re: Your Favorite Video Game, Story-Wise (and why)

          I love the way the Dragon Age games have complex stories but still allow the player to make strong choices that influence the outcome. That's a tough thing to pull off.

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          • #6
            Re: Your Favorite Video Game, Story-Wise (and why)

            Originally posted by omjs View Post
            I love the way the Dragon Age games have complex stories but still allow the player to make strong choices that influence the outcome. That's a tough thing to pull off.
            It's REALLY tough. One of the hardest decisions you have to make when producing a game with multiple endings or story content that branches based on player choice is how to allocate budget for assets that many/most players will never see. Which is why at the end player choices are often "funneled" back to one or two manageable (and economical) endings (see "Mass Effect 3" and "BioShock"), or the end material is presented in a very low-budget manner (like the slides-and-voiceover end movie in "Marvel Ultimate Alliance").

            I go hot and cold on Peter Molyneux, but he makes a great point here. Players are players, after all, so when you present them with multiple endings, they'll quickly groupthink some ranking so that one ending becomes the "good one," and if you get it, you've somehow "won" the game. (This behavior is different from us poor, sad, completists, who will replay until we see every ending.)
            Last edited by RobertDentonBryant; 06-30-2016, 12:56 PM. Reason: Forgot some stuff.

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            • #7
              Re: Your Favorite Video Game, Story-Wise (and why)

              Planescape: Torment, and most anything by that team and its descendant companies. I mean Alpha Protocol was not a well-assembled package, but had an insane amount of research behind the humint aspect.

              Spec Ops: The Line. Players revolted against a plot that failed to give them feel-good cookies for bombing people, which I think was a great precursor to the emotional complexity behind GamerGate.

              Star Control 2. Video game humor is often still the most idiotic thing imaginable, and attempts to blend serious and silly tend to fail spectacularly. SC2 had some of the most sophisticated writing imaginable for a sequel to a basic head-to-head combat game. Giving whole backstories to simple sci-fi tropes and then making them come alive in a whole tapestry was one of the more incredible, unsung feats in game writing.

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              • #8
                Re: Your Favorite Video Game, Story-Wise (and why)

                Any love for the old point-and-click adventure games? In terms of story, I think my top choices would be Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, Monkey Island 2, and The Dig. In more recent games, Broken Age is pretty good.

                I've been working my way through The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, but it's slow going because it keeps freaking me out.

                I'm also going to second the Dragon Age games - it's amazing how they do a deep story with customizable characters and player choices.

                I haven't played the other Telltale games, but The Wolf Among Us was also pretty good for this, I thought. I think in most of Telltale's lineup the choices are mostly illusory (you still hit the same major story beats regardless of what you do), but the story's good enough that I wouldn't care if it was linear.

                I thought the character development on Battlefield 4 was shockingly good for the genre, too. It's the only FPS I kept coming back to because I genuinely cared about the rest of my unit. The plot I didn't really follow so much, but I guess you can count character as part of story.

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                • #9
                  Re: Your Favorite Video Game, Story-Wise (and why)

                  Is this a list of Favorite VGs or Favorite VGs (Story-wise)? Because some of the VGs listed above have little to no story.

                  The Bioshock series was rich in story. As somebody else mentioned, Half Life for its time was gamebreaking too.

                  Some old games which had a great story IMO include:

                  C&C: Red Alert
                  Jedi Knight
                  The Chronicles of Riddick: Butcher Bay
                  Fallout 3

                  Another great story-driven game was Heavy Rain. An excellent detective thriller where you play several different characters.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Your Favorite Video Game, Story-Wise (and why)

                    Knights of the old republic! it was immensely satisisfying after the disappointments that was the prequel trilogy in Star Wars. It was made with a love for the old trilogy and had a fantastic twist in the end.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Your Favorite Video Game, Story-Wise (and why)

                      Max Payne 1 for the stylish noir dialogue.

                      Snow was falling like ashes from post-apocalyptic skies, but that was outside. Things would soon get hot in the Don's restaurant.

                      I don't know about angels, but it's fear that gives men wings.

                      In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

                      He was trying to buy more sand for his hour glass. I wasn't selling any.

                      Turn around, walk away, blow town. That would have been the smart thing to do. I guess I wasn't that smart.

                      He had a baseball bat and I was tied to a chair. Pissing him off was the smart thing to do.

                      Punchinello was burning to get me. The feeling was mutual. He was trying to put out my flames with gasoline.

                      Collecting evidence had gotten old a few hundred bullets back. I was already so far past the point of no return I couldn't even remember what it looked like when I had passed it.

                      After Y2K, the end of the world had become a cliché. But who was I to talk, a brooding underdog avenger alone against an empire of evil, out to right a grave injustice? Everything was subjective. There were only personal apocalypses. Nothing is a cliché when it's happening to you.

                      It wasn't about how smart or how good you were. It was chaos and luck, and anyone who thought different was a fool.

                      Vlad was one of those old time bad guys with honor and morals, which almost made him one of the good guys. None of us was a saint.


                      ...

                      I also love Silent Hill 2's story...a man gets a letter from his wife saying she is waiting for him in Silent Hill, in their special place. Only problem is, she died several years earlier. Protagonist goes to find her and is forced to confront his inner demons and the truth behind what happened with his wife. Great character study with lots of metaphors and symbology.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Your Favorite Video Game, Story-Wise (and why)

                        For me, the Unchartered Games and 2013 Tomb Raider/ Rise of the Tomb Raider. Amazing games!

                        Also, I'm super excited to see this video game section on here finally I wrote at Telltale for 2 years (Game of Thrones, Walking Dead Michonne, etc.) and have done freelance, consulting, and writing for mobile since. Happy to chat / answer questions people might have.
                        www.JustinSloanAuthor.com

                        http://www.CreativeWritingCareer.com
                        http://www.MilitaryVeteransinCreativeCareers.com

                        Twitter: @JustinMSloan

                        Want a free book?

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                        • #13
                          Re: Your Favorite Video Game, Story-Wise (and why)

                          We finally have a video games section?! About time!

                          From a story perspective my top 3 (at least off the top of my head)

                          1. Metal Gear Solid - Very little needs to be said about this. MGS is the reason that storytelling has become so important in modern gaming. Every character here is so iconic, to the point where it feels like a damn shame when you have to kill any of the bosses.

                          2. To the Moon - If you haven't played this then please do. It's heartbreaking.

                          3. The Zero Escape Series - No form of creative media has ever had so many mind boggling twists. They're fascinating games with some heavy sci-fi concepts and a thorough exploration of human nature.

                          There are so many others but these are the ones that stick with me.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Your Favorite Video Game, Story-Wise (and why)

                            Originally posted by Bananos View Post
                            Knights of the old republic! it was immensely satisisfying after the disappointments that was the prequel trilogy in Star Wars. It was made with a love for the old trilogy and had a fantastic twist in the end.
                            I had this game on Xbox but never played past the first level or two. Which was sad, because it looked like a great game. Just came at the end of my prime video game days.

                            For me, the answer to this question will probably always be Chrono Trigger.
                            Magical story.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Your Favorite Video Game, Story-Wise (and why)

                              Definitely my favorites are:

                              1) Bioshock
                              2) Uncharted
                              3) Half life

                              There's so many, but those are the ones that come to mind when I think of storylines that I loved.

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