Interactivity and story: Shall the twain ever meet?

Posted by & filed under Game Culture Class, Reading Response.

It is hard to tell what makes a game other than the programming, the characters and the simple objective of winning and losing. It seems the theorists who are developing an understanding of the babe media are somewhat pragmatic in terms of the story. When I say “story” I mean a linear narrative. A game can be a game without a story, but a game with a story is still a game. I do not believe that games should follow a formula or should tell stories that have been told before. I also believe that the narrative of games, like stories, can be told differently by adding to the effect, and that a games main function is not always true interactivity but interacting with the environment the game has created by means of mimesis.
I would like to state a quote from the reading that says: “…Story means fate, interactivity means freedom, therefore interactivity and story can’t be combined.”(661). I believe that is true for the most part but I believe if there is no narrative then there can’t be immersion because the player cannot really experience agency as far as the game is concerned. If a player is given the option to just roam around in an environment that changes slightly or not at all then the player will be bored with the game. There is more explanation to go with that theory because Minecraft is essentially that but is an MMO. A narrative allows for the player to become a part of the world created instead of on the outside looking in.
I feel that the Citizen Kane of gaming will come about when material and formal constraints are perfectly balanced and the interactivity involved perfectly justifies the narrative. Most importantly the player must feel like he is part of the game and that his decisions affect the world he is involved in. The player must feel like he is looking into a mirror when he sees his avatar. That is true immersion and agency.

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