I’m a simple gamer, I put a game disc/cartridge in a console and my eyes are prepared to see an unfolding of a tale to play through. I learn of the game characters, feel around the game mechanics, and move forth through a grand adventure. Simple plots of a game like a villain wanting world domination or a knight wanting to rescue a princess are great and all, but what I really love is a game with a very engaging story with many twists and turns, that make the ending all the more rewarding, depending on the outcome. At times, I wonder what kind of stories can be told to keep the player interested in investing their time to go further in a game. I know most times it’s all about the game play and the graphics, but combining all of that with a great and engaging story makes for an amazing game itself, one to truly write home about. The question is–are strong storylines actually important to people and do they drive up sales in the gaming market?
I’ve played many games in my time, and I have to say that most of the games I played with amazing stories had to come from RPGs. My very first exposure to an RPG game had to be the great Super Mario RPG for the SNES. Everyone knows who this blue, overall wearing, jumping plumber is and everyone knows that he sets out to do what he does best: kicking Koopa butt and saving the Princess. What drew me to the game was not only the fun gameplay, the amazing soundtrack (which were filled with some renditions of some classic Mario game tunes), but also how the game had its twists and turns; all I could think about was what would happen at the very end of the game. Mario begins his journey at Koopa’s castle as routine as can be and after the expectation of rescuing the princess, something terrible happens as a huge sword monster cuts through the sky and invades Koopa’s castle! This was the first time I witnessed a vulnerable King Koopa, who needed help in restoring his palace, and the first time he needed help from his arch nemesis, Mario, to make it happen. I was truly drawn to the story and I remember telling my friends about this amazing game. The game went on to be one of the most beloved RPGs ever, with fans still craving a remake. (I beg of you Nintendo/Square Enix, make it happen!!)
When a great game has a beautiful combination of style, graphics, and plot twists, it makes for a more than exciting experience–these become stories to upload on YouTube to share to the world. Conversely, there are plenty of best-sellers that focus almost exclusively on gameplay mechanics and kick plot to the curb. Games like Tetris 99, Super Smash Bros., and a variety of First Person Shooters all prioritize an exciting experience over deep narrative.
Are stories in games really the biggest force in driving sales? What matters most to you? Share your reactions in the comments below or you can also join in the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, and Discord.