Storytelling in Video Games

Being November, it’s National Novel Writing Month! For those of you who may not be aware, Rachel and I also write novels, and we ramble a lot about them on our personal blogs. Because we enjoy writing, we both have been participating in NaNoWriMo for a few years now, and we thought we’d extend that enthusiasm to gushing about video games’ stories.

Writing and video games are two major passions we both share. That’s partly how this blog came to be in the first place. We wanted to combine the two. We read a lot and there are some amazing stories out there, but some of the most amazing ones are in video games.

Sure, there are a few predictable stories, such as the recycled story of the Mario Brothers saving Princess Peach (when she doesn’t save herself, of course), but then there are others like the Legend of Zelda series. An entire franchise revolving around the legend of chosen ones by the goddesses, forever doomed to be reincarnated and repeat history as two oppose one for peace and domination.

The Legend of Zelda is the legend of stories (sorry, I had to) in the video game world. Yet, some stories are complex such as that series or as simple as Luigi’s Mansion. It’s almost the same as most Mario games, but there’s a different hero. Those slight, simple changes make for fun stories as well.

Excellent example! One of my favorite story lines has to be Ace Attorney series. The first trilogy surrounding Phoenix Wright was especially well-written. Each episode not only has its own story, but many of the episodes have ties together, such as in Trials and Tribulations. The characters have fantastic developments throughout the stories and I get warm, fuzzy, writerly feels just thinking about it!

Rachel Mii Double Jump
I’ve been trying to think of awesome storylines and there you go, mentioning Phoenix Wright. The Ace Attorney series was the inspiration for my own series of mystery novels. The way the games tell a story is brilliant and I’ve incorporated a similar way to tell the stories in my mystery series.

Then there are games that allow players to develop their own story lines, like the Sims franchise and even Pokemon games. While Pokemon tends to have a plot in the games, it’s pretty open-ended with how you play, and it inspired people to create their own challenges and stories, like Nuzlocke and Type challenges. These story lines grant the players to open their minds to creativity and it’s amazing.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
There are games like the Legend of Zelda that have amazing storylines and then there are games as simple as Pokemon or Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon that have no “real” plot to it. Video games can be simple or complex, but they tell unforgettable stories nonetheless.

What’s your favorite aspect of video games? Let us know in the comments! 


I’m Waiting

Rachel Mii Double JumpHappy Thursday!

Can November 18th be here, yet?


Waiting for new games to come out is hard. There are so many games coming out (or just recently came out) that I want, but can’t get.

I can’t get them because I don’t have the money for them right now or because I know there’s a chance I’ll get it when Christmas rolls around.

Usually when a new Pokemon game comes out I always get them for Christmas.

However, I participate in a month-long writing challenge during November to write 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days. I usually buy myself a video game as a reward if I reach 50,000 words.

I buy a video game because it’s on the expensive side and I never buy myself games (because they’re on the expensive side). But, writing 50k words is a pretty big deal when you do it in 30 days. Seriously, if any of you have participated in NaNoWriMo before, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Anyway, back to my original point:

I was confident in myself (and impatient) that instead of waiting to get Pokemon Sun and Moon for Christmas, I preordered one for myself. I’ll get the other one for Christmas.

I’m aiming to write 50,000 words by Thanksgiving so, when my game arrives in the mail, I can start playing it immediately.

And I really can’t wait.

Script Frenzy

Double Jump Kris MiiI hope everyone is doing well this November! It’s a busy month for our family, with my nephew’s baptism, house parties, church events and, of course, Thanksgiving right around the corner.

Of course, with November comes NaNoWriMo!

Rachel and I participate in every NaNoWriMo session during the year. Camp NaNoWriMo is every April and July, while the official NaNo is in November. The original goal is to write 50k words of a new novel in 30 days, but the camp sessions are definitely more lenient and there are plenty of “rebels” who create their own word counts or do different projects.

Before April was a Camp NaNo, it used to be called Script Frenzy, and the goal was to write 100 pages of a script in the month. The script could be anything, like a play, a movie, a comic… or a video game.

Years ago, I had actually attempted to create a Pokemon fancomic during Script Frenzy, but I started wondering how it would be to create a video game script. Besides dialogue and directions, are all the battle strategies laid out in the script? What about branching choices? Or is it mainly laid out with the story, with perhaps “stage directions” indicating where the story and characters can take the adventure next? Are the visuals and concept art created before, after, or with the script?

Obviously, it takes tons of work, a team, to create a video game, but it just blew my mind when I was mulling on all of this.

Have you ever attempted — perhaps succeeded — in writing a video game script? Would you ever try to write one?