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Back when I wrote for Global Games, they (we?) called it "chrome". Yes, it's flashy and shiny and it draws attention. Yes, it's not essential to the game's immediate function. But it also serves a very practical function as well... corrosion resistance. A really good story line will draw players back, even if the graphics aren't top-notch anymore and the music rendering is a generation behind.
Anyway, this all kicks off a story of some kind along the lines of an evil ninja clan unleashing demons upon the Earth and the CIA deciding that one solitary ninja is a much more hopeful prospect than, say, a tactical nuclear strike, but frankly, fuck you if you want a story; here's your story: demons over there, kill they ass!
Some intellectuals struggle with the dichotomy between narrative and interactivity. Game designers are first and foremost creators of enjoyable game environments. They are storytellers only when this secondary activity facilitates the player's intuitive interaction with the game's rules.
—Daniel Cook, "Evolutionary Design".
The year is 2048. In a post apocalyptic galaxy run by giant corporations, you are a cybernetically-enhanced Space Marine with no memory of his past. Are YOU the chosen one foretold by prophecy? Do YOU have the strength to survive... Tic! Tac! DOOM!!
Don't you hate it when good game designers are convinced that they're good writers, too?