Author Topic: Bioshock Infinite: The Princess is in this Castle  (Read 4836 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline CommanderDJ

  • Software engineer
  • 210
    • Minecraft
Re: Bioshock Infinite: The Princess is in this Castle
I like gameplay, narrative, audio, and visuals.  Why can't I have all four?  Why must I choose between them?

Because reality and budgets?

Personally, I will (usually) not play a game purely for the gameplay if it has little to no; I stop caring very quickly and move on. Story is the main thing that keeps me playing, but there've been games where the gameplay was unpleasant enough that even though I wanted to see the story through, I didn't because I wasn't having fun. I need some element of both to keep me playing, with maybe a 40:60 split between gameplay and story.

EDIT: Actually, not sure how important the distinction is here, but good characters are usually the first things that grab me - even if the "overall" story is mediocre, if there's a character I really like I'll keep playing to see what happens to them. Not sure how relevant that is, but there you go.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2013, 11:02:34 pm by CommanderDJ »
[16:57] <CommanderDJ> What prompted the decision to split WiH into acts?
[16:58] <battuta> it was long, we wanted to release something
[16:58] <battuta> it felt good to have a target to hit
[17:00] <RangerKarl> not sure if talking about strike mission, or jerking off
[17:00] <CommanderDJ> WUT
[17:00] <CommanderDJ> hahahahaha
[17:00] <battuta> hahahaha
[17:00] <RangerKarl> same thing really, if you think about it

 

Offline General Battuta

  • Poe's Law In Action
  • 214
  • i wonder when my postcount will exceed my iq
Re: Bioshock Infinite: The Princess is in this Castle
I care about ludonarrative harmony more than the ludo or the narrative bits alone.

 

Offline BloodEagle

  • 210
  • Bleeding Paradox!
    • Steam
Re: Bioshock Infinite: The Princess is in this Castle
I like gameplay, narrative, audio, and visuals.  Why can't I have all four?  Why must I choose between them?

Because reality and budgets?

There are games out there that managed to hit most (and in a few cases all) of those with good measure on a relatively low budget.

 

Offline CommanderDJ

  • Software engineer
  • 210
    • Minecraft
Re: Bioshock Infinite: The Princess is in this Castle
I like gameplay, narrative, audio, and visuals.  Why can't I have all four?  Why must I choose between them?

Because reality and budgets?

There are games out there that managed to hit most (and in a few cases all) of those with good measure on a relatively low budget.

This is true, but sadly, many fall short in one category or another.
[16:57] <CommanderDJ> What prompted the decision to split WiH into acts?
[16:58] <battuta> it was long, we wanted to release something
[16:58] <battuta> it felt good to have a target to hit
[17:00] <RangerKarl> not sure if talking about strike mission, or jerking off
[17:00] <CommanderDJ> WUT
[17:00] <CommanderDJ> hahahahaha
[17:00] <battuta> hahahaha
[17:00] <RangerKarl> same thing really, if you think about it

 

Offline General Battuta

  • Poe's Law In Action
  • 214
  • i wonder when my postcount will exceed my iq
Re: Bioshock Infinite: The Princess is in this Castle
This is a pretty solid and not too nitpicky video review.

 

Offline swashmebuckle

  • 210
  • Das Lied von der Turd
    • The Perfect Band
Re: Bioshock Infinite: The Princess is in this Castle
I care about ludonarrative harmony more than the ludo or the narrative bits alone.
I can appreciate how the limitations imposed by the tension between storytelling and interactivity might help focus the creative process, but I think that the two forces are fundamentally at odds with each other in a way that doesn't really help the whole experience. Yeah, you can have a game with both an engaging story and engaging gameplay (and good on you if you do), but do they actually interact meaningfully? I mean, one can provide a reprieve from the other (to help control the ebb and flow of the experience or change the tone or something like that), but so could a different kind of play or some comic relief or whatever.

Not trying to sound like some tetris-only gaming ascetic here, I just think that this is a place where game designers are forced to compromise on a more basic level than the usual time-and-budget stuff, and not all compromises are created equal.

 

Offline BloodEagle

  • 210
  • Bleeding Paradox!
    • Steam
Re: Bioshock Infinite: The Princess is in this Castle
I care about ludonarrative harmony more than the ludo or the narrative bits alone.
I can appreciate how the limitations imposed by the tension between storytelling and interactivity might help focus the creative process, but I think that the two forces are fundamentally at odds with each other in a way that doesn't really help the whole experience.

Spec Ops: The Line

 

Offline NGTM-1R

  • I reject your reality and substitute my own
  • 213
  • Syndral Active. 0410.
Re: Bioshock Infinite: The Princess is in this Castle
I can appreciate how the limitations imposed by the tension between storytelling and interactivity might help focus the creative process, but I think that the two forces are fundamentally at odds with each other in a way that doesn't really help the whole experience.

There are stories that can only be told well in the first person, which rather hurts that theory.
"Load sabot. Target Zaku, direct front!"

A Feddie Story

 

Offline swashmebuckle

  • 210
  • Das Lied von der Turd
    • The Perfect Band
Re: Bioshock Infinite: The Princess is in this Castle
I care about ludonarrative harmony more than the ludo or the narrative bits alone.
I can appreciate how the limitations imposed by the tension between storytelling and interactivity might help focus the creative process, but I think that the two forces are fundamentally at odds with each other in a way that doesn't really help the whole experience.

Spec Ops: The Line
I thought someone might bring that one up; I wish I had played it. I would if I owned any platform that could, so sorry if my ignorance is causing me to miss the point here. Anyway, forcing the player to slaughter a bunch of people and then feel bad about it is definitely a step up in my book from forcing the player to slaughter a bunch of people and then feel great about it (Achievement!), but the tension I'm talking about is expressed in the forcing itself on the part of the game designers that has to happen in order for that narrative to work.

From what I gather, the game progression in Spec Ops is just as linear as in the Call of Duty type games it critiques, with the differences being in the emotional/tonal/thematic content. Correct me if I'm wrong about this stuff, but I believe the underlying idea that the game finally makes explicit in the end is that you can either play and do these very bad things or not play at all. I think that that is subversive and clever and no doubt really resonates with people who grew up with military shooter games, but it's really the only thing you can say after railroading your players from beginning to end. Do what the story dictates or turn it off.

So yeah, that's cool, I'm just saying that I generally prefer for the story to play second fiddle because when it does make itself heard it tends to take me out of the game.

 

Offline BloodEagle

  • 210
  • Bleeding Paradox!
    • Steam
Re: Bioshock Infinite: The Princess is in this Castle
I care about ludonarrative harmony more than the ludo or the narrative bits alone.
I can appreciate how the limitations imposed by the tension between storytelling and interactivity might help focus the creative process, but I think that the two forces are fundamentally at odds with each other in a way that doesn't really help the whole experience.

Spec Ops: The Line
I thought someone might bring that one up; I wish I had played it. I would if I owned any platform that could, so sorry if my ignorance is causing me to miss the point here. Anyway, forcing the player to slaughter a bunch of people and then feel bad about it is definitely a step up in my book from forcing the player to slaughter a bunch of people and then feel great about it (Achievement!), but the tension I'm talking about is expressed in the forcing itself on the part of the game designers that has to happen in order for that narrative to work.

From what I gather, the game progression in Spec Ops is just as linear as in the Call of Duty type games it critiques, with the differences being in the emotional/tonal/thematic content. Correct me if I'm wrong about this stuff, but I believe the underlying idea that the game finally makes explicit in the end is that you can either play and do these very bad things or not play at all. I think that that is subversive and clever and no doubt really resonates with people who grew up with military shooter games, but it's really the only thing you can say after railroading your players from beginning to end. Do what the story dictates or turn it off.

So yeah, that's cool, I'm just saying that I generally prefer for the story to play second fiddle because when it does make itself heard it tends to take me out of the game.

Do not read this if you haven't and plan to play the game.  I am serious.  You have been warned.

Spoiler:
There is a segment of the game near the end where you and your team are facing down an angry mob that becomes increasingly violent over time.  If you defend yourself, well, you killed a HELL of a lot of people.  But if you fire your gun into the air, your allies follow suit and the mob will disperse.  This is a clear example of how ludonarrative harmony can be achieved, proving that the two forces are not necessarily at odds with one another at any given time.

It's damned near the perfect example of how to tell a story in a game.

 

Offline swashmebuckle

  • 210
  • Das Lied von der Turd
    • The Perfect Band
Re: Bioshock Infinite: The Princess is in this Castle
That's a cool mechanic, and assuming it actually changes the story from that point on then yeah, branching paths one way to deal with this tension. There are the normal choose-your-own-adventure problems with branching (the branches are either extremely expensive or they will produce a lot of dead ends or have to be quickly folded back into the main trunk), but beyond that, opening the door to the player being able to interact with the narrative really draws attention to the other 99% of the time when that door is firmly shut.

I guess the thrust of my argument is just that if you make the story the key focus of your game, I will really want to be able to interact with it (because interaction is the defining element of the whole game thing), and you're going to be forced to throw up a bunch of invisible walls if you want to make anything coherent. When I run up against those walls dividing the gameplay from the story (I should be able to do this or that but can't), I'm sucked out of the experience by the wrongness of it all. This game has an existential crisis! Or something like that.

I'm definitely not saying that cool things can't be done with story in games because that would be ludicrous, just that they are sort of natural enemies, and I tend to like my games gamey and my stories...story-y.
I can appreciate how the limitations imposed by the tension between storytelling and interactivity might help focus the creative process, but I think that the two forces are fundamentally at odds with each other in a way that doesn't really help the whole experience.

There are stories that can only be told well in the first person, which rather hurts that theory.
I'm curious about this. I'm guessing that by first person you mean with the consumer actually having game-like input and interaction with the experience, otherwise you could just as easily tell your story in a first person movie, right? As an aside, something like Dear Esther might be a good example of that, where the game mechanics are barely more involved than pressing the "Play" button on a movie. But yeah, if you mean with game elements like in the above Spec Ops example (where it's important that the player actually does the things in order for the author's point to come across), I'd be interested to learn about other types of stories that could only work that way.

 

Offline NGTM-1R

  • I reject your reality and substitute my own
  • 213
  • Syndral Active. 0410.
Re: Bioshock Infinite: The Princess is in this Castle
I'm curious about this. I'm guessing that by first person you mean with the consumer actually having game-like input and interaction with the experience, otherwise you could just as easily tell your story in a first person movie, right?

No. First, because nobody makes movies actually in first person to the point where freaking Doom doing a sequence in it was a big deal.

Second, because observing in first person is not the same thing as being in first person. There is a very palpable difference between reading the palace raid I, Jedi and spotting a group of stormtroopers, checking your remaining shield levels, plotting a strategy to evade or destroy them, and executing that strategy in Jedi Knight. The FPS conquered the gaming industry on that difference, and the adventure game didn't.

Third, play MGS2 and tell me how immersed you feel.

Buy-in, suspension of disbelief. By making the player an actor, you achieve it far more readily than you can with any other mechanism because simply using the controls they are accepting and acknowledging as valid your world. They have to. Interactivity is very powerful tool in getting that basic buy-in. That's why we have endless Battlefield sequels making more money than most movies or books could ever dream of. They're weak stories not because of the demands of the medium; their medium has made their weakness seem far stronger than it actually is.

Bad videogame storytelling is more compelling to most people than good out-of-game storytelling. The medium isn't an inherently weak one, but an inherently strong one; even if your proposed conflict exists it's easily overridden by the medium's inherent ability to garner basic buy-in.
"Load sabot. Target Zaku, direct front!"

A Feddie Story

 

Offline swashmebuckle

  • 210
  • Das Lied von der Turd
    • The Perfect Band
Re: Bioshock Infinite: The Princess is in this Castle
I didn't mean an actual first person camera movie-theater movie, but a game without gameplay like Dear Esther where the consumer is in the story but doesn't have to do anything beyond pretty much press X to see what's next. I didn't feel like I was any more or less "in" Dear Esther than I was in Jedi Knight, Half Life, etc. in spite of its lack of obstacles to overcome.

I enjoyed playing the first three MGS games for their creative gameplay, but I dreaded the radio calls and endless cutscenes. So I guess I was fully immersed half the time and feeling kind of detached and vaguely embarrassed the other. I like what you're saying about automatic buy-in, but regarding bad video game storytelling vs good out-of-game storytelling, are you sure that it isn't just that storytelling in games is largely superfluous (at least to a significant portion of the audience) and people just like games more than movies or books? That seems more likely to me than a bad story suddenly becoming great because I was the main character and I pressed X not to die. Just because it's a strong medium doesn't necessarily mean it's a strong medium for storytelling. But I guess I've found myself in the meathead camp this time, so what do I know? :)

 

Offline General Battuta

  • Poe's Law In Action
  • 214
  • i wonder when my postcount will exceed my iq
Re: Bioshock Infinite: The Princess is in this Castle
You know what game did a shockingly decent job of responding a little bit reactively to your performance without presenting big glowing CHOOSE A or B options (although it did do that sometimes)?

I'll give you a hint, it starts with a B and ends with lack ops 2