Last week's Roundtable discussion on Super Street Fighter 4 and character balance in fighting games was a great success. This week, it's my turn to host a gaming gab-fest. And my topic is a thorny one: video-game narratives and the techniques used to tell them.
No other medium in the history of storytelling possesses more diverse ways to communicate meaning than video games. Best of all, that meaning can be different for each individual due to the interactive nature of the format.
On the other hand, that same interactivity can sometimes sabotage the story being told. Couple that with a dearth of really good writing and acting, and it’s not hard to see that games still have a long way to go.
Even so, titles like Shadow of the Colossus, Portal, and Mass Effect show the potential the platform has for telling unique stories. So take a look at the following questions, then find out below how to participate in the discussion.
What makes a video-game narrative successful?
How can games continue to separate themselves narratively from movies and books?
What techniques do excellent stories use?
Can writing and dialogue in games improve, or is non-verbal storytelling the way to go?
Does the interactive nature of a video game fundamentally impair its ability to tell a story?
Here's how to participate:
1. E-mail me at layton.shumway[at]bitmob.com and say you want in. Give me a few sentences about your views on the topic to show you'll be a good candidate for the conversation. I'll cap the entrants at 5 people to keep the discussion manageable. You have until Tuesday, July 19, at midnight Pacific Time to respond.
2. On Wednesday, I'll contact everyone so that we can discuss through e-mail. I'll act as the moderator of the roundtable, so I will comment myself and bring up more questions.
3. Your messages will be used as the body text of the article we post on Friday. So remember to keep your responses readable and coherent and use proper punctuation and grammar; treat them as you would treat an article here on Bitmob.
Oh, and by the way…while you're cogitating over these questions, head over to our Super Bitmob Giveaway and enter to win some stuff. Do it fast, because Shoe's about to suffocate. He's a hoarder.