How video games turn players into storytellers?

As we mention the word ‘art’, a number of things might pop up in our minds like books, movies, music, paintings etc. However, one common thing in these art forms is that, all of them are based on a background story. Assuredly, stories have been an integral part of our society and culture since traditional times. Be it any form of art, like news media, film, and architecture, there will always be an influence of a story behind it.

Aristotle, a Greek philosopher once said, “The role of storytelling is to mimic life and make us feel emotions.” Doing this, we shape our values, desires, dreams and, as well as our prejudices and hatreds. Since then, stories have been a part of lives in a number of varieties like myths, legends of all kinds, fairy tales, fables, ghost tales, heroic stories, epic adventures, etc. This is how they have passed down generations, reflecting the wisdom of our ancestors.

Starting from a king’s court in olden times to small tea joints where people now gather for short daytime breaks, storytellers can be found everywhere. Stating the plain truth, a storyteller can easily find an audience, because when people find something relatable they are eager to learn that exciting bit of information from their stories.

However, oral storytelling is only one of the several mediums that we can refer to, when in need to hear a story. Modern technological developments have led to new narrative vehicles, for example, audio or video books. This not only enhances the art of storytelling but also gives the storyteller, newer and more artistic ways to tell their story. With changing times, televisions and other form of visual mediums, such as television, theatres and smartphones have made stories highly accessible. The digitally mediated society has helped us share our stories on blogs, and maintain permanence in the public record which wasn’t possible in olden times.

Video games- A rising platform for storytellers

“Video games achieve something that other forms of storytelling just can’t,” says Dave Gilbert, founder of Wadjet Eye Games, the producers behind Technobabylon and the Blackwell series.

Just like other visual mediums, developers have found that video games too hold a unique ability to cultivate interactivity between the player and the narrative. As the players move further in their game, with their own skills, they unlock the story or say, mystery and create their own adventure. This is exactly where the link between a writer creating his fictional setting and a player making his own decisions arises. As the player makes his own decisions, he narrates his own story and becomes the co-writer. Thus, making it easier for developers to embrace this medium for storytelling.

Just like any other story, the story of a video game can have a genre as well. Players get to experience serious emotions like anxiety, stress, fear, sadness and passion. They are completely captivated by the video game as it is as immersive as a film or a novel. Players becomes the real life characters in the game as the mystery takes over their minds which is a trigger for them to uncover the original tale. As the players get more and more engrossed in the game, it is through their own potential that they go further and make events happen. In simple terms, players do all the meaningful actions giving rise to consequence and secondary dialogues. It is just like unlocking the mystery of a real life story as the player’s character becomes life like.

“Storytelling is about two things- It’s about character and plot,” says George Lucas, an American filmmaker and entrepreneur. If we observe deeply, a video game too, provides us with both these possibilities. A player becomes the main character and his/her actions in the game decides the course of events, which, in turn, helps to develop the plot structure. It is an even more proficient way of storytelling. Such games constantly offer new ways of interactivity and emotional connection between players on completely different levels. Thus, video games are nothing but an evolution in the whole storytelling medium.

“As time goes on, those games have gotten even deeper and more sophisticated, and much more diverse in terms of influences and themes,” remarks Jess Haskins, creative director of What Pumpkin Studios.

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