I'm always fascinated with interactive stories, but ultimately, I'm almost always disappointed in them
It seems like such a great thing - to have a story that unfolds however you want
And in terms of tabletop RPGs and things like that, they work!
My disappointment is about the video games trying to do these things
So my most recent idea about this is the following:
These games feel like "What If?" Marvel Comics
The great thing about plots is that there is a single way the story goes and it's the "right" way, the "canon" way
Tabletop RPGs combine this with interactivity. You can't reload a saved game and ask the GM to go from there. But you genuinely can influence the plot
In video games, however, you are free to explore all the possibilities. So I feel disconnected.
I just "browse" the events, I don't live them. Sometimes I do get immersed, but it's much harder.
Now I wonder what to do with this information
There are games that try to limit your "browsing". There is a flash game that saves a cookie in your browser, so that even if you reload a page, it shows you the end screen where you saved the day or doomed the planet or something
There are games that only allow autosaves
And there are games that don't focus on story, so you build your stories yourself. Like Dwarf Fortress (which I haven't really played). Your decisions lead to some outcomes and you can't really browse all the branches
Another possible way to make stories "canon" is probably MMO-ness of the game.
When there is a single world and the devs are like a GM of all the players, making the events canon and updating the content. I wonder if there are games like this that really allow the players to change anything.
So now I'm kind of at a loss.
I really want an interactive story experience. But now I kind of realize why they feel so shallow to me.
And I don't like sandbox games like Dwarf Fortress
Until then, I think I'll keep playing linear (and almost linear) games. And maybe trying some experimental stuff sometimes.
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