When someone talks about a story, what is the first thing that pops into your mind? I would wager that for most people in this day and age the answer would be either television or movies. For a select few it might be a good book or even a play. Now while all of these things have storylines, an avenue for storytellers that is rapidly growing is video game stories. Now I can hear the immediate question, “Wait, video games!?” Now I’m sure a lot of the people who are asking that question are asking it because they are also saying that video games don’t have any meaningful storylines. And with a vast array of games, I would agree the storyline is either very weak or even nonexistent. But just because some games choose not to rely upon a rich story does not mean that no games implement a storyline.
In fact, some of the more popular games like some of, the more recent Halo entries, like Halo 3, while its primary focus is its multiplayer game, have a rich campaign mode for gamers to adventure through. From the little bit I remember from when I last played the game, the campaign played very much like an interactive movie. It was a remarkable piece of storytelling.
Now my all-time favorite video game story is The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. I remember getting it for the Nintendo 64 and logging hour after hour playing it delving into the depths of the story. The story was and still is absolutely amazing. And despite being released in 1998, it is still a story that I remember and enjoy. I wish I could find the time to once more explore the world from start to finish.
And then there are some games like Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic has multiple endings and you reached a specific one based solely on how you played the game. It was sort of like a choose your own adventure book, with the exception that you got to experience the story in a much more visceral way.
But these are only three examples of video games with a very solid story. So the meat of the question is what makes a story? Or a more refined question would be what defines a story? I know that when I’m asked for a story, the first thing about is my favorite author, I’m sure that I’m not alone in that belief. But stories are no longer restricted to the pages of a book, the actors of a play or the silver screen. They are everywhere these days and numerous new formats. This is a very fledgling avenue for storytellers and as importantly for readers. While some people will ignore this new avenue they are wrong to do so, there are fantastic stories to delve into here and when you find one you should explore it just like the pages of a good book.