Posts Tagged ‘ 1990s ’

Gaming: The Power of a Good Story

Games, games are changing.

Yes the graphics are always improving and the physics engines both imitate and subvert reality in many outstanding ways but now we have something more….

Story.

At the dawn of video games, there wasn’t much space in cartridges or floppy disks for stories.  Most developers didn’t bother, but as the first decade of gaming progressed (that’s the 80’s for you youngsters, yeah the ones wearing the John Hughes’ movie wardrobe), RPGs crossed over to home computers and PCs, which meant stretching the hardware to accommodate story beyond “here be aliens, shoot them!” explanation of the earlier frantic gaming mechanic.

Most of said story remained buried in the manuals with the game itself providing more shooting, spells swinging and sword bashing than complicated plot points.

Not anymore.

Somewhere around the turn of the century a combination of more powerful machines and graphic cards, game worlds could be rendered in glorious 3D (as opposed to the chunky polygons of the century before) and with plenty of space in both hard drives and disks (CDs, then DVDs and now Blu-Ray) they could inject great soundtracks, thousands of lines of spoken dialogue by dozens of highly skilled voice actors (and not a few celebrity cameos).

Which still leaves one thing….

Story!

The best games in the last few years, specially in the Console/PC RPG market, not only have stunning visuals and fast paced action but powerful story lines.  You don’t simply want to blast your enemies into pink (or green or blue, whatever) mist, but you want to known what your father was working on, who is behind the abduction of of human colonies and why your family was slaughtered while you were spared.

Story matters.

Story makes the difference.

The age of true interactive entertainment is here.

——-

And to show you what I mean, here is a bit of epic writing that turns the Mass Effect franchise into something more than alien fodder blasting or Space Opera Light:

Evagelion 2.0

Evangelion is an apocalyptic mecha action series which centers around the efforts by the paramilitary organization Nerv to fight monstrous beings called Angels, primarily using giant mecha called Evangelions which are piloted by select teenagers, one of whom is the primary protagonist.

Evangelion was a anime series from the late 1990s that deconstructed all manner of anime/manga based tropes from giant robots fighting (and trampling) in Tokyo to teenage mecha pilots saving the day.

How?

Mid way through the first episode the teenage pilot of the titular giant robot goes unconscious in middle of the battle.

The giant robot takes over.

Beats the crap out of its opponent.

And then eats it!

Then it got worse….

By that I mean it got weird….

Which really means it got way better….

And then it had two endings.

Which can only be described with one compound word.

Clusterfuck!

In a artsy sort of way.

Which both rocked and…

Didn’t….

Confused?

You better be.

After all:

Events in the series refer to Judeo-Christian symbols from the book of Genesis and Biblical apocrypha among others.[6] Later episodes shift focus to psychoanalysis of the main characters, who display various emotional problems and mental illnesses;[7][8] the nature of existence and reality are questioned in a way that lets Evangelion be characterized as “postmodern fantasy”.[9] Hideaki Anno, the director of the anime series, suffered from clinical depression prior to creating the series, and the psychological aspects of the show are based on the director’s own experiences with overcoming this illness.

Yeah, and now four new movies  try to reinvigorate the franchise.  The second installment came out today in Japan although we in the rest of the world will probably have to wait until either reaches a Japanese animation dedicated cable/satellite channel or it hits the DVD rack.  Either way Evangelion is back!

Here is the trailer for Evagelion 2.0: