Post your thoughts on this chapter here?
Interactive storytelling may feel like a hinderance to many players, or at least as it has been done. It sounds like rather than a expansive experience covering games, cinema, and literature, it can’t decide what it wants to be and either fails on all accounts, or works for for failing on multiple other accounts in favor of one, like The Sims which has no real plot. I don’t like to call anything impossible, but I see the difficulty. People largely like games for control, and the idea of a preset story, even with multiple directions, is a hinderance. From a storytelling standpoint it sounds weak and impersonal, you are not hearing a story true to anyone heart but dependent on whatever choices. If one is clever enough, in theory, each set of choices could be arrange to tell a good story, but that will take a lot of time and patience on the writers part.However, to be fair, based on what I have heard, Heavy Rain, sounds like an accomplished interactive story, with gameplay mechanics that heavily define the story based on however you play it.
The closest I have had to a good experience is a weird choice…Braid. Yeah, it is a platformer, but in it you run across chapters of your life that vaguely tell what has happened, even giving contradicting versions. You are then left to think and understand what it all means, and how the gameplay works in relation to it. Granted it still has a lot of puzzle that don’t advance the story, as was said with Myst, but it puts the pieces there and leaves you to think about it. It interacts with your brain!
I found Interactive Storytelling to be a very interesting concept. It really opened my eyes to what I thought Interactive Story telling was. I thoroughly enjoy games that I thought to be Interactive Storytellers such as GTA and the Elder Scrolls games, where open adventuring is encouraged, yet after reading this chapter I realized both games follow a very strict set of drama rules. For the longest time I was under the impression that interactive storytelling was common to find in today’s video games. My big question after that chapter is how will Interactive Storytelling ever be possible. The chapter constantly presented arguments against itself all the way through suggesting that based on the expansive list of dramatic rules and limitation of computer processing, will Interactive Storytelling ever be possible?
I think Crawford’s criticisms of past attempts at interactive storytelling to be accurate, however, he seemed to ignore the fact that hindsight is 20/20 and that these designers weren’t necessary striving toward interactivity as their ultimate goal. Moreover, he fails to recognize the limitations of technology and the fact that contemporary programers are “standing on the shoulders of giants.” Moreover, I think his criticism of the “universe of dramatic choices” as “stupendously large” is overdramatic. He argues no simple coding system exists that permits us to represent it manageably” (262). The fact that one has not been developed has no bearing whether or not it can be developed. I think that insights from evolutionary game theory models of populations and artificial life may hold insight in algorithmic functions that will assist in developing these endless permutations of possibilities through use of “kernel” structures to use Chomsky’s concept. In many ways, I feel as though this may be the direction Crawford is walking in his section How to Proceed toward Interactive Storytelling as he considers the conflicting desires of designers to both “prune” undesirable or impractical possibilities with the desire to include a range of creative and expressive decision options. In many ways, I believe Crawrford walks backward during his discussion of the C++ programming language as he attempts to describe a wishful programming language that achieves contradictory goals.
I agree that interactive storytelling was something that had to be done and attempted. Crawford is very critical in his article but I think that he is overly critical. As Stefan mentions, some interactive storytelling games are really fun like GTA. I enjoy the idea of exploring games and altering the original plan for what the game creators intended. It seems thought that interactive storytelling is still very limited. Advances in technology still need to be made in order true interactive storytelling to be possible.
Reading this Chapter was interesting because it is reflective of a lot of the games I am prone to play. I love the adventure gaming genre and in the early stages of gaming I can see what Crawford means when he talks about adventure games dressed up as stories. Mario on the Nintendo 64 is a great example of that but was also effective. Interactive story telling is very prominent in computer games, and even the educational games I played younger coincided with a lot of these themes such as branching story trees and props.
In Rpg’s world simulation is apparent but until reading this chapter I never really thought about the Laws of Drama. There is a specific order in which the character must emphasize their statements with their actions and in recent gaming they even space out the conversations more organically giving you time to process what is said as if in a normal conversation. In older games you just clicked to keep reading but now in games like Skyrim if characters are arguing or conversing they have made it so it is heard like a real conversation so characters may get cut off in the middle of their statements as in real life but in a way that fits that moment. This chapter also talked about the universal laws and local laws which is a huge part of the game and most times either makes or breaks the game. In a game you must find a way to get around these laws to advance or manipulate them within your favor and I find this even being prevalent within board games.
My thoughts on the chapter is that I agree that interactive games have not been made and from the concept that Crawford presents it may be a long time before free form inputs come to be used. However I am not sure that Crawford seems to be giving enough credit to games that have made attempts. World simulator games like Spore or certain versions of the Sims can serve the purpose in a broader sense because while the player does have control over them they can use them to set up their own narratives. Otherwise I do agree that for now it does seem easier to just allow the narrative to be favored over interactivity because the full technology isn’t available yet while text based games can give a list of options by Crawford’s standards its not enough.
You must be logged in to post a comment.