The archives have been cleaned up, dead links fixed, and the printable versions restored! Also, don't miss the new comments on the main page!
With The Sims
theAntiELVIS explores the wild and wacky world that is Will Wright's The Sims,
asking the inevitable quesiton, "is The Sims the first step toward a virtual
life where everyone is Swedish?"
Josh Vasquez on Omikron: The Nomad Soul.
Check out our newest comic strip, Real Life! Updated daily!
2, Issue 9
January 24, 2000
How about those other
loonyboi, my esteemed Editor-in-Chief, boss, bearer-of-the-whip,
and lover of fine guiness, once wrote a story that appeared on
Planetquake called, Waiting
for Casablanca. I remember when it first appeared and read it
from start to finish. In it he criticizes storytelling in games
and talks about the degeneration of the art. It was one of his
most popular pieces to date and generated tons of feedback. One
of them, as mentioned in the review I quoted above, was from an
anonymous source at LucasArts who tried to convince him that this
new game they were working on, Grim Fandango, would change all
that. And it did.
My next question revolved
around other games that the 3 designers have played and enjoyed.
Were they story-rich in content? Did they think it was more difficult
to tell a story through a First Person Shooter?
It's no more difficult to tell a story with a first-person.
It just takes a little imagination--like in Half Life. That
game illustrates what a lot of us need to figure out--how to
develop a story in interactive ways, not just through cut-scenes.
That's something I aspire to do with every game, and still feel
like I have a long way to go.
I'd have to say my favorite story game is, Full Throttle. I
just love that game. I think it's difficult to tell story in
first person shooters because there is a lot of people who think
you don't need it. Other than that, I think it's the perfect
way to tell a story. I love the first person perspective, it's
engrossing and real. Generally, I think some might consider
it difficult because television and movies have a lot of editing
and visual camera work to tell their stories. But one must remember
that computer games are a relatively new medium, and that it
also demands a new way to tell stories. If that's what you want
to do. Remember not all games need stories. I still play a lot
of UT and Quake.
current game, New Legends, is a third person shooter. I know
I've said that I love first person shooters, but we made this
decision for game-play reasons. This is the only way we could
conceive to play New Legends and get the most out of the combat
system. It was purely a game-play decision. I know everyone
is grumbling as they read this, but in the end, when the game
is released, everyone might understand why.
havent been drawn to RPGs in any major way. Its taken
me a long time to get comfortable with the basics of the form:
character stats, modes of combat, etc., etc. My lack of mastery
of those elements has made it almost impossible for me to get
into the story of any RPG. I prefer to play games where the best
possible experience has been worked out in advance and is delivered
to me as long as I feed energy into the system. Im willing
to trust that the designers already waded through all the possible
storylines and shaped them into the most powerful basic form.
So I guess I prefer my stories handed to me on a platter!
Post A Comment
Ultimately it is the
gaming public that has the last word on any particular game. I
asked Justin, Marc, and Tim what were some of the most interesting
comments theyve had on their games.
Justin Chin: It
was from a post on alt.games.jedi-knight, "I found it very
disturbing that my character killed that girl who was his friend.
Why did he do that and why didn't I have the choice to keep
it from happening?" He continues, "I feel like I'm
a part of it. I feel really bad about killing the girl. She
was a babe. I just have this bad feeling of guilt. The dark
side has taken me over."
I hope more people
felt that way. After debating on that dark/light story point
for the whole project, I think we did the right thing. And,
yes, I agree, Jan Ors is a babe.
I like it when people recognize that story is just one ingredient
among many. If they say they enjoyed the story as
much as they enjoyed the levels or the AI or the art, thats
saying a lot.
Women really like Glottis. I thought they'd like Salvador. Go
If you havent
yet guessed, Im a big proponent of putting the story into
the game. I feel that, before a story can be told, whether its
in a book, in a magazine, on TV, or in a game, there needs to
be at least 3 times as much information carefully compiled in
terms of background and story development. Sure, write your science
fiction story, but I want to see a 5,000 year future history leading
up to it.
The second most important
part of putting your story into the game, is developing it. Ive
seen way too many games that have a story leading up to the Select
New Game; Select Difficulty; Start Cinematics... then suddenly
die. Have you ever played a game where you come up against a door
that wont open but will helpfully tell you, You need
the red key. Sure you have. I have too. Its akin to
running across a non-player-character who tells says, You
need to see your Uncle Leo about the book first to get the key.
And you start thinking, I need a key? What book? I have an uncle?
When I get to this point, I usually quit the game. Chances are
my interest was lost about 20 minutes ago.
And third, if you are
a game developer, get yourself a person who can tell a story.
Someone who can describe a scene and make your mappers, artists,
coders believe theyre there. Someone who can put some dialogue
together and make it real.
Until next time, this
is RadPipe, looking for Casablanca...
Russell "RadPipe" Lauzon is currently exhausting all
his free time researching Beer Goggles.