Progress Report X-25: Industry Talk: Perspectives on Narratology

On a career scale of things, I personally enjoy how narratology can be implemented into gameplay such that it would help provide a structure in which games are made. While it is never a necessity for it to be complex like RPG’s and the like, it exists in some way or form.

Narratology has always been conflicted in the ludologist’s perspective as in a game does not necessarily have to have a story to convey to make something interesting. Case in point, Flappy Bird. Flappy bird does not have the complexity of storytelling in its structure in any way and form. It is simply, you click on a bird and avoid pipes. Same things can be said to more popular classics such as Pac-Man and Mario, which has some of the most interesting mechanics but has a very simple story structure, if we choose not to over analyze each characters and what their actions means in the game, as theorists have been attempting to dissect every piece of the medium to learn the secrets that possibly developers could not anticipate to even read.

Narratology in games has been implemented in places such as the Telltale games series, where they use the IP’s from different clients which allows them to flesh out the characters even further and make them interactive to a degree which makes it “cinematic”. Unitl Dawn has these elements, but is more prevalent to horror elements in the game and shows the different reactions that each character faces, even though their characterizations may leave most to be desired.

In terms of exclusive Ludologistic perspective, simple games from mobile games such as Street Surfers and Crossy Road does not have the depth of storytelling in the same level and scope as Quantum Break or Mass Effect, though these games have their own to focus exclusively in making sure the game’s mechanics are easy and fun to play without much thinking. Although there are some exceptions, there are some of these games which solely function under the “gameplay-heavy” types over the “story-cutscene heavy” ones.

In terms of how it is presented between different player types, it can be said that different preferences can lead to different ideologies and approach to how a game should play. Although there is a core element that games need to work off of, else those games will be no more than just a “movie” or a “book”.

Definition of games itself has been broadened with the existence of visual novels, with debates on whether or not it is even a game or not. Although the perspectives differ, they are, in some ways, interactive. Narratology has certainly taken the level of design in games to a whole new level, but at the same time, Gameplay/Ludologistic perspective warrant merit because it is also the importance of the fundamentals of games in general and is an element which can be implemented but not always a necessity in every situation.

 

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