Mass Effect Archive

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Two Years After The Wolf Among Us.

The Wolf Among Us is a remarkably dense game, even by Telltale standards. By the end of the game, ideas of community, identity, storytelling and even more have been dealt […]

The Wolf Among Us is a remarkably dense game, even by Telltale standards. By the end of the game, ideas of community, identity, storytelling and even more have been dealt with and examined in ways that other games aspire to. More than any other video game out there, it takes a huge advantage over the idea that videogames are more akin to TV than film. As we approach two years since its release, I can’t help but miss its presence on a monthly basis on my console/PC, in a way that a lot of games simply can’t fulfill.

Once you get down to it, massive video game releases don’t really focus a lot on writing. By this I mean, dialogue and structure. This isn’t to say that video games are not good at story (atmosphere and tone complement dialogue and structure, and good story games, such as MGS or Silent Hill manage to compensate for clunky dialogue and messy structure with those)  but rather that games often treat writing, as in the creation of dialogue and structure that help convey powerful characterization, as secondary to the world building. Execution vs. concept, essentially.

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Video Games are not Films. They are TV.

The most recent trend in video game storytelling is releasing the games in monthly chunks that are entirely concerned with advancing a narrative. This trend, of telling stories in interconnected […]

The most recent trend in video game storytelling is releasing the games in monthly chunks that are entirely concerned with advancing a narrative. This trend, of telling stories in interconnected semi-regular releases is meant to emulate the feeling of TV. And yet, as of right now, TV has moved closer and closer towards using the season as the main unit of storytelling (versus “the episode”)

The argument could be made, especially considering Telltale’s resolution to continue both The Walking Dead and the Wolf Among Us in a format akin to a TV season, that the season is still a valid construct that could apply to the critical discussion of these games. However, the emphasis on the season on TV in recent years is quite different than the one exhibited by The Walking Dead or Life is Strange. Stories like True Detective’s seasons are more like volumes of a book series, while told on regular weekly installments (equivalent to a book’s chapters) each one to be interconnected into a bigger whole.

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