Are The Best Storytellers Even Authors Anymore? - Op-Ed Piece
The Sims 4.
The Witcher 3.
I am going to hope you know what those things are and move on.
I’m fairly certain there is a book review I’ve been meaning to get to anyway.
This blog is all about good writing and good stories, and what better way to talk about it then by doing neither.
Nah. I won’t do that to you.
(Although I am sure one of you will make a wisecrack about the still lack of good writing here)
The open world video game changed storytelling. The game where you can go around and do whatever you want, so basically kill anybody with any item you find in the game, unless you are Jim Pickens and you form a cult. This has given the player more control and options in the story than ever before.
You can really do whatever you want in video games, and it’s all a part of the story.
Super Mario Odyssey
Zelda Breath Of The Wild
Every Fallout game
These games are so massive you can’t complete them all even if you tried.
Did you get that?
Video games are making too much content for its audience. You know there will be a number cruncher somewhere who views this as a problem. Because the game creators are wasting time developing a part of the game that will not be played. It would be if this blog had too many posts that people couldn’t even read them all. It is really insane to do when you put it in that context.
There are some things you can’t do in video games, that I am sure that Outside Xbox covered in a video as a list, but for the most part, games give you an unprecedented amount of freedom that no other art form can give you.
My question is… (aside from what potion I should use) is…
Can novels keep up?
It feels like the best stories are now being implemented into video games at such a large quantity that a novel can’t just be a novel anymore.
You need to have a backstory to the backstory, flashbacks to the flashbacks, and characters on characters on characters. And each of those characters need flashbacks and backstories.
The literary community should be afraid of the gaming community.
They are stealing their ideas and no one is saying anything about it.
It’s like when Led Zeppelin took folk songs and made them rock.
Was there any backlash?
Were people upset?
Did people stop listening to them?
No. It was the opposite.
No one said anything of the plagiarism, and even praised the band for their work.
How many times is there a plot in a video game that is the same as a book? (movies too!)
And people are loving it.
They want more of the video game!
Not the novel or even the movie!
The Witcher 3 game is one of the most successful video games all of time, having sold millions upon millions of copies.
It is universally praised as one of the best games ever.
What about the book you ask?
What about it?
Not nearly as many people read it and it will never be as popular as the game.
And that’s all there is to it.
Isn’t that bad for literature?
Will video games become the best way to tell a story in the future?
Will the generations of the future talk of video game developers like we do of novelists today?
Yes and no.
Yes if you call that kind of open world a legitimate way to tell a story.
No, if you don’t.
If you view the variety in the game as meaningful parts to the tale, rather than pointless side quests, then the open world does give you a deeper story than a novel.
If you view world building as the most important part of a story, then you may be supporting video games as the new way to tell a story.
If you think the story of those open world video games are too broad, too reaching and not as personal as a traditional story, then you aren’t wrong in saying the video game story can never be as good as a novel.
There is something to a novel and the path it takes you on.
Can GTA 5 really say that my Franklin decked out in a three-part plaid suit and earrings is the same as yours in a hoodie?
Sure the side quests are great in Witcher 3 but do you really expect me to believe the great hero Geralt would stop his adventure for a mission about a werewolf?
Strange enough, as vast and large as those video game worlds are, they lack the direction that makes novels so great.
How does the game end?
Depends on your decisions along the way.
Were you a nice guy?
Were you evil?
Did you even meet all the clans that you could have met?
Novels on the other hand, need the unity of the plot for the reader to enjoy it.
There is a distinct ending to the story you have been reading.
It ends in a certain way.
You don’t have control over it.
There is also a path the hero in our story has to take.
Like I said, the hero can’t spend hours upon hours making meals from items they collected in the forest, or completing random mini games for fun.
They have to get back on track and finish the fight.
For as much as video games are about completing the game, they fail to give the audience something that that a novel can provide: completion.
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About The Blogger
Greg Luti is an editor and blogger on pensandwords.com. His favorite writers are Robert Frost and Charles Bukowski. He enjoys reading up on history, watching comedies, and playing video games, when he is not writing down a few notes for his next piece. He started this blog out of his love for literature and hopes that the reader shares that same passion.
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