Do Games Need a Story?

Ever since humans started squawking at each other, we’ve had the concept of a story.
Good stories are interesting, captivating, deep, and have a beginning, middle, and end. It’s evolved in so many forms over the years, and that’s why I’m writing this dumb article in the first place, to explain why video games don’t really need stories.


I know that a story can make a game, just look at the Last of Us, that game is all story, so much that there’s barely any game. But everyone loved it and it got remastered like a year after it was initially released.
But I want to talk about the times when games came out and people just got massively p****d because there wasn’t a story. A really good example for this would be, and you probably guessed it, Destiny.
Now, I won’t say that the launch of Destiny was not very underwhelming, but there were many problems, including but not limited to the story they had us follow.
Yes, the story was kind of bland, it was also really vague and relatively unsatisfying at its closure. You were waken from the dead, given a gun, and told to go out and shoot something. They didn’t tell you what or how just go and shoot him. But the thing about that is, it would have worked perfectly had the game had enough content and playtime to balance out that shortcoming. If a game is supposed to have a good story, it tends to not have very complicated gameplay. And if a game is all gameplay (Think DOOM) then it tends to not have a very strong story. Some of this can be chalked up to managing resources in development, but there’s something to be said for what a video game is actually supposed to be.
Video games are the culmination of every form of media that we’ve developed up to this point. think about it, we’ve got the written word, spoken word, television played out in the form of cutscenes, interconnectivity via online play, and the piece that puts the cherry on top: interaction. Video games put you in control of a given environment and tell you what the rules are. From that point, it’s all up to you, what you do with that world is your decision, you’re essentially a god.
Complaining about a story in a video game is like complaining that life makes no sense. It doesn’t, there’s no definite back story to our universe, and we don’t even know how we got here in the first place. We just keep living life and making do with what’s around us. Would you stand out in the street and complain that life isn’t interesting enough? No, you go and do something interesting because, in a sense, you are a god, at least to yourself. You have an environment, use it to your advantage. The only other option is to stop playing (but don’t do that, life is awesome).


What I’m trying to say is that video games are merely just a tool for us to visit an alternate reality, one that’s more ideal than our own. If you want a story, go read a book, watch a sitcom and laugh with the track, just don’t complain about video games.
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