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Spiderweb Software - Jeff Vogel on Videogame Stories

Discussion in 'Game/SP News & Comments' started by RPGWatch, Oct 18, 2021.

  1. RPGWatch

    RPGWatch Watching... ★ SPS Account Holder

    Jul 28, 2010
    Likes Received:
    [​IMG]Jeff Vogel, of Spiderweb Software fame, has been keeping a blog. In his latest opinion piece he shares his thoughts on videogame stories.


    Observation 1: When people say a video game has a good story, they mean that it has a story.

    Gamers have a reputation for being intolerant, perpetually angry complainers. This isn't true. Gamers are the most forgiving, tolerant audience of any media.

    If your game is barely functional, somewhat coherent, and gives you a sufficiently satisfying way to grind away your time, gamers will give you a billion dollars. Games that ship in a buggy, non-function state rocket to the top of the sales charts all the time. That's how tolerant gamers are. They don't even require your product to WORK!

    So, if your game has a story that coherently gets from the start to the end, has a couple memorable characters and lines of dialogue, and doesn't waste a ton of time, the world's most forgiving audience will hail it as great.

    But it doesn't really matter, because ...

    Observation 2: Players will forgive you for having a good story, as long as you allow them to ignore it.

    Gamers don't generally care about your game's story. They want the adrenaline spikes of shooty-bang-bang, or the sweet dopamine hits from filling up status bars.

    If you are in the mood for good storytelling, you can watch a movie. Or a TV show. Or (shudder) read a book. Each of these is a thousand miles beyond the best video game in terms of storytelling. Whether your tastes run toward Raiders of the Lost Ark or Hamlet or Guardians of the Galaxy or Breaking Bad, video games have worse stories. Sorry.

    Doesn't matter, because the vast majority of players just tune out the story. As long as you let them skip past it, it's fine. There are a lot of people out there who have put hundreds of hours into World of Warcraft, myself included. If you quizzed us all on World of Warcraft lore, 99% of us would get an F-, guaranteed.

    Good story isn't what gamers are after. Which is good, because they ain't gettin' it.

    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 19, 2021
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