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_id b8bc
authors Costikyan, G.
year 2000
title Where stories end and games begin
source Game Developer, Sept., 44-53
summary Every medium has been used to tell stories, says Eric Goldberg, one of my oldest friends and president of Unplugged Games. "That's true of books and theater and radio drama and movies. It's true of games as well." I have this argument all the time, and I think Goldberg's statement is balderdash. It's not true of music; music is pleasing sound, that's all. Yes, you can tell a story with music; ballads do that. So do many pop songs . Certainly some types of music -- opera, ballet, the musical -- are "story-telling musical forms," but music itself is not a story-telling medium. The pleasure people derive from music is not dependent on its ability to tell stories: Tell me the story of The Brandenberg Concertoes. Nor is gaming a storytelling medium. The pleasure people derive from games is not dependent on their ability to tell stories. The idea that games have something to do with stories has such a hold on designers' and gamers' imagination that it probably can't be expunged, but it deserves at least to be challenged. Game designers need to understand that gaming is not inherently a storytelling medium any more than is music--and that this is not a flaw, that our field is not intrinsically inferior to, say, film, merely because movies are better at story-telling. Nevertheless, there are games that tell stories--roleplaying games and graphic adventures among others -- and the intersection of game and story, the places where the two (often awkwardly) meet has bred a wide variety of interesting game styles. Examining them is useful, because doing so illuminates the differences between game and story -- and the ways in which stories can be used to strengthen (and sometimes hinder) games.
series other
last changed 2003/04/23 13:50

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