Question: Can high drama be produced from a wide-open simulation?
Creating a game that tells a story is one thing. Creating a game that tells a dramatic, moving story is quite another.
Can you really get a dramatic, moving experience from a game that is not tightly scripted or linear? Can high drama truly emerge from an open, unbounded simulation-style game?
Everyday life is a wide-open sandbox. Clearly, there is high drama in real life. But, as mentioned a while back on rec.arts.int-fiction, “Most people’s lives are not filled with high drama all the time. Some events will be dramatic, but creating a dramatic story from those requires editing out all the mundane parts.” (greg)
That editing, in game terms, is what I imagine is the scripting, restriction, or forcing of linearity onto the game narrative.
Isn’t high drama really the product of the manipulation of people’s emotions through selective presentation?
More from same thread:
“I’m not convinced that truly open world designs will lead to the kind of epiphony-based stories that are real emotional milestones in the world of art, literature, and gaming.” (Paul Furio)
“All games (not just IF) are an attempt to fit several impossible things into one package, and then fool the player into not noticing the hack.” (Mike Rozak)
“A deep worldsim and smart, reactive characters (AI or human) may be enough for great interactivity, but to make that interactivity dramatic requires a third component that knows when and how to meddle.” (Ron Newcomb)
“I’d propose that there’s a hierarchy of dramatically interesting: at tier 0, you have real life, where you’re frankly happiest if there’s not all that much drama happening to your avatar; at tier 1, competent but formulaic static fiction, say, CSI; tier 2, open-ended simulations, like table-top RPGs and MMORPGs; and tier 3, the really good stuff, with the ephiphanies and so on, like the best books and films. I guess the question is whether IF or interactive media in general have a place in tier 3.” (Mike Roberts)
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