Video games are a simply gargantuan industry. And I not only use the word ‘gargantuan’ because it sounds like a wonderful mix of “giant”, “gargoyle” and “tarantula” (and we just don’t hear it that much anymore) but also because that’s just how big the industry is. Considering that just two or three decades ago video games were just a niche hobby played by a group of excitable younglings and now they’re a part of virtually every household in one way or another – it’s all just really impressive.
Video games have a lot of strengths and so many reasons we love all them. And because they’ve just inflitrated every part of the world nowdays and live in that wonderful blurry area of ‘art/entertainment’ we’ve even started to compare them the more tradional media. Games have even started to be judged against books and movies, the classical pillars of narrative, and often come out in a rather favourable light. Why? Well, because video games can tell immersive user-driven stories in a way that almost no other medium can. You are part of the action from the get-go. And it’s exhilarating to have that agency in a story. However, it’s also true that it may just be this immersion that lulls us into suspending our disbelief. Into making us accept the seemingly ridiculous.
Think about it… Consider any of your favourite videos game (even the ones that are narrative-driven) and within minutes I bet you can find a bit of the story that is just plain crazy. Storylines that make no sense, or at least prance around joyously in the realm of impossibilities or randomness and that for some reason we just accept without much question. I’m a big Mario fan. But have you have tried to explain the premise of that game to anyone? I recently reviewed and loved Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury – but even in that game, I described the gist of the story as:
A couple of plumbers, a Princess and a very cute mushroom-man-hybrid jump down a pipe. Entering a wacky world where a giant Lizard King has captured a bunch of Sprixies (Sparkly Pixies? Sprightly Pixies? Portly Sprite-ies?) in glass jam jars. It’s up to this funny foursome (together or individually) to take the form of mostly magical cats and save the world.
So can you think about any similar storylines or narrative branches in popular games (particularly ones you enjoy) that actually make virtually no sense?
Let’s share in the madness in the comments section below…