I was reading an article the other today espousing the dangers of having too much story or putting too many resources toward story. I read this article a little disappointed. I’ve always loved story and the idea that there can ever be too much story is such a foreign thought to me. As I contemplated the article I began to realize that it wasn’t the article that disappointed me, or the quality of the writing, the me-too feeling of bashing The Old Republic; what I had issue with was far more basic, the idea that story doesn’t matter.
Lightning is now my favorite Final Fantasy hero. I loved when Liara asks Shepard if she wants to run away from it all and hide somewhere in the galaxy and forget the war. I enjoyed Merrills’ little quips and one-liners. I loved the interaction of Cortana and John. I loved Ezio and enjoyed following his life through the ups and downs. My freak flag is story and I don’t think I’d ever love video games as I do without enjoying story.
We all have flags. You can see it in what we love and what we enjoy. When I was reading reviews for Guild Wars 2 I would keep seeing scores for story at 8’s and 9’s. I kept trying to see what they enjoyed about the story but review after review ignored story all together. It irritated me to no end. I couldn’t understand how they could be so in love with the story but not remember to include a section about it in the review. As I reflect upon my reactions I recognize similar reactions that I’ve read from other gamers and other writers. I’ve often mistaken their flags for rudeness and such, when in reality it was merely someone unable to properly communicate what they enjoy most with regards to gaming. I loved Mass Effect 3’s combat, playing multiplayer and enjoying it was the highest compliment I could give, I still have fond memories of playing Halo over LAN with my friends on big screen TV’s. The idea that Mass Effect 3 could evoke the same emotions proved to me that “its Kung-Fu is strong, and its magic is powerful” with regards to combat. Later reading how other people were disappointed or unimpressed with the combat, always left me disbelieving, it’s no wonder now as I look back.
Story is my flag. Whether your flag is combat, music, graphics, or any other part of video games; you will always judge games by those merits. It is no more or less important than the way I view story, but it is also the reason why you and I will likely disagree about the merits of any number of games. So raise your flag. Keep it high if you love combat, PVP, graphics, music, sandbox, or single player; it’s your right as a gamer to enjoy a game as you will. It might not be story, but hey we can’t all be perfect!