Story vs Gameplay Round 2

After discussing the concept of narrativity in class and tutorials this week I went back and reviewed the first blog post I did here. In it I wrote about how exciting games are for how they can explore stories that not many other media forms can:

“The potential of games and their ever-prettier graphics is that they can tell stories not many other visual medias can. Sure a novel can create worlds like Skyrim (which I haven’t played) but can we see them? And movies don’t have the time or chance to fully explore a world. Games can so amazingly flesh out a whole new universe and no other visual media form can really do that.”

After reading about the on-going battle between narratology and ludology, it seems almost like an on-going battle between story and agency. To me, agency can so much more fuel story (just as story can influence agency). I watched the new film Her tonight, written and directed by Spike Jonze, and there’s a sequence in which the main character Theodore plays a videogame where he interacts physically with another character and has a clearly unscripted conversation with the game’s character. Now the film is set in some near future- so this isn’t a real game, people, calm down- but it sure shows the interesting ways we can eventually develop games, so that we can get to the point of narratology and agency combining. If you think about it, this also takes out cut scenes. Rune Klevjer writes about this in his essay ‘In Defence of Cutscenes’ found here:

“The conflict between narration and play is not a question of discursive levels — as if the first can only be about the other — but a conflict of agency. There is a balancing, and a struggle, between the agency of the story-game and the agency of the player.”


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