Critical Analysis – READING! (part one)

I’ve been reading “The Ultimate Guide to Video Game Writing and Design” by Flint Dille and John Zuur Platten, which I borrowed from the library. Mostly because this one has the shortest loan time so I have to get through this one first. From what I’ve read so far, I don’t 100% agree with everything the book says, but for the most part it is a helpful and interesting resource. I’ll just use this post as a place to gather some quotes I could use later.

“All of your writing and design is influenced and informed by the medium in which it will ultimately be delivered. For video games, one of the biggest challenges you have as a writer is creating compelling and engaging content that captivates the player and enhances the overall gaming experience, not distract from it or slow it down.” – page 2

“We have a similar struggle as we make video games: to create a language that is unique to the medium. For now, we often rely on the exact same techniques for time and location transitions as film, often in the form of cinematics or cut-scenes (noninteractive story moments within the game).” – page 3

“In many ways, when Dungeons & Dragons was created, Gary Gygax and his compatriots did for gaming what Einstein did for physics. Gameing was no longer about moving miniature figures around a board; it was about moving whole worlds around in your brain […] In role playing you became somebody you weren’t, a hero, or a villain, in a world that didn’t exist. […] The reason it all worked, and continues to work, is because each participant, each player in the game, became a content creator (for our purposes, a writer) within the context of the game.”  – page 5

“The original video games, Atari classics like Asteroids, Missile Command, and Centipede didn’t have a storytelling component, but they still had a narrative. […]  In Missile Command, you are charged with defending your cities from certain destruction by intercepting incoming ICBMs. Although there are no cut-scenes, by simply describing the gameplay, you are in essence, defining a story for these games.” – page 7

“That’s the thing about games – they are exciting experiences we share and talk about. They can, and do, have an impact and leave an impression, often in ways that traditional entertainment can’t because when we play a game, we are active participants in the process.” – page 8

“Often, the most innovative ideas come not from constantly pushing the envelope, but from looking at the envelope in a new way, or using it to do something completely unexpected. Creativity need not, and in fact should not, rely on constantly advancing technology.” – page 13

“If it is possible to do so, let the player have control of key narrative moment […]. In other words, when dealing with your narrative, create a priority for telling your story as follows: play it, display it, say it.” – page 16

“One of the big problems with game narratives is the fact that oftentimes the needs of the game conflict with the needs of the story. The hero is the player, and the game needs to give the player information, so the way some games go about this is to make the hero the dumbest character in the game. Everyone is telling him what to do. He doesn’t have the same knowledge as everyone else. He asks too many questions.” – page 17

“Your conflict and stake must bee in sync with the core gameplay or your story will seem out of place. When the gameplay and story are in sync the experience is seamless.” – page 29

“Your “audience” is playing a game. They expect to interact, not watch. They will watch, but it must be compelling, and tied into setting up or paying off gameplay.” – page 32

“Ninety percent of the people you work with think that writing is dialogue, You as a game writer know that dialogue is the tip of the iceberg…” – page 37

“Often, the player doesn’t feel so much like he is living a story, as he is unlocking a story. He or she beats an opponent and unlocks a cinematic that moves the story along. As of right now, a lot of our storytelling is borrowed from previous mediums, mostly film and television. We aren’t exploiting what our medium does the way movies do.” – page 40

“The difference between a film or a TV show and a video game is immediacy. You want the player to live in the moment. Games can deliver that over and over. A film can usually only deliver it once. A great game is re-playable and the [sic] each replay can give the player a different experience” – page 41

“When writing the story you must first view the game from your player’s point of view.” – page 41

“Video game storytelling primarily exists to give meaning to game play. This should be obvious, but how many times have we held our controllers expectantly in our hands, waiting to start playing, only to have to watch endless cinematics throwing a bunch of backstory at us about characters and situations we don’t yet care about” – page 49

That’s as far as I got in the book. I’ll keep reading and if I find any more interesting quotes, I’ll make another post.

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