Play for the Story, Not the Game

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday everyone!
The narrative and storytelling techniques in video games are generally a big factor in whether or not I enjoy said video games. In fact, there are definitely some games where I enjoy the story more than the gameplay itself. 
I am a writer. Not just of blog posts, but also of stories, short ones and novels alike. As such, I’m always interested in the narratives of video games I play. I love to devour a game’s story just as much as I love to devour a good book.
With that said, there are a good handle of games that I would be perfectly happy with reading like a novel. I play these games for the story and the characters rather than the gameplay itself. Sure, the gameplay mechanics may be amazing, but if the story has snagged my attention, the gameplay is always going to be second fiddle. Fantastic gameplay mechanics will not redeem a game with a dull story line in my eyes.
Take Undertale and Deltarune, for example. There is so much lore and theories behind the developed stories of these games. Especially in Undertale’s case, there are multiple ways you can take the story through your actions, whether or not you decide to do a peaceful or violent run-through of the game. And if you played it through a second time? There are characters that remember your first playthrough. There are characters that remember if you killed them before. I didn’t care much for the game’s battle mechanics, but I continued to play it to see how the story ended.
Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia is another example. War and faith are the general themes of the story, like many Fire Emblem games, but I was intrigued by the characters and definitely impressed with the voice acting. It was enough to keep me playing until the end, even though I found some of the battles repetitive and the dungeon sequences unappealing.
The most recent game we played through was Gris and we went into it knowing that it was a game with minimal enemies (if any at all). I picked it up first for it’s gorgeous art and stayed for the music and haunting narrative of trying to figure out the main character was searching for. My sister and I both teared up at the end once we realized how heavy and bittersweet the story was.
Thinking on all of this, it’s no wonder that I’ve gotten a newfound appreciation for visual novels and simulation games.

How important is story to you in games? Or do you prefer amazing gameplay to the story? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Readers Comments (7)

  1. Story importance varies for me by game: some don’t really need anything too in-depth (Mario), while others capitalize entirely on the narrative (Dragon Age) and thus it is crucial. I love my games either way (mainly gameplay OR mainly story), so long as one isn’t sacrificed for the other to the point of being detrimental.

    • A good balance is always the best, I feel. On the other hand, though, it’s probably due to its stories not being too in-depth that I’m not the biggest fan of Mario games. I like Mario, don’t get me wrong, but I would definitely reach for a more story-oriented game before picking up Mario (or I would play Legend of the Seven Stars for the umpteenth time).

  2. It depends on the genre. I am ok with platformers that have a story whose only purpose is to get things going. But when it comes to strategy games or RPGs, a great story is a must.

  3. I love stories so a good story is crucial to me when I play! I really love that in video games I can take an active part in the story!

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