Tag Archives: star wars: knights of the old republic

The Art of the Story-Driven Game

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been playing through Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic lately.  Playing through a good RPG is always an interesting experience for me in particular, because the storytelling method is so far removed from that of the strategy games that I’m usually playing.  Something like a strategy game is very open-ended and sandboxy; the story comes entirely out of what you are doing.  RPGs and other story-driven games, on the other hand, are more limited.  There are a set, finite number of stories to be told, even when you’re presented with a multitude of options and endings in classic Bioware style.

SPOILER: Twilight is Darth Revan.

But this isn’t a bad thing.  Rather, it’s a very interesting narrative device.  It’s akin to a movie or book or TV series, but separate from all three.

A movie tends to be just a couple of hours long, for example, whereas the main storyline of a game can easily go on for 30+ hours.  So a video game’s storytelling is more in line with the lengthy tales of a book or TV series, but then you have the interactivity and the subsequent bond you develop with it because of that, and the result is a truly fascinating way to tell a story.

It will be interesting to see where games go from here in terms of being a narrative device.  While I personally believe that features like interactivity and gameplay are of paramount importance in games– that is why games are games, after all– the idea that a game might be considered a great piece of literature some day is a really fantastic one.

The Damage Thus Far

So lemme put it this way: I smashed through my entire “Steam Sale” budget by Day Five.  Obviously this hasn’t stopped me from buying anything further, but let’s just say that I’ve spent a rather lot of money so far.

It has occurred to me that I need to buy a Spongebob Wallet.

Of all the stuff I’ve gotten so far, here are some of the ones I’ve been enjoying the most:

The Legend of Grimrock: Fun dungeon crawling oldschool RPG that eschews silly things like maps in favor of you bumbling around lost and attacking giant snails.  All of the charm of old dungeon-crawls from back in the day.

Train Simulator 2012: No, I’m not kidding.  This game is great.  Especially if you’re a sim game grognard who gets excited by the thought of playing a travel game in real-time, so if it takes an hour to go from Point A to Point B in real life, you’d better believe it will take you an hour to do so in game.  With “Simple Controls” activated, this game is in the vein of classics such as Desert Bus, except you can pause and do things like start and stop.  This is more endearing than it sounds and this game easily devoured three hours of my time right after buying it.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic: A game which I haven’t touched since it launched almost a decade ago and I played it on the Xbox.  I’d really forgotten how much fun this game is and what was originally going to be an “I’ll dink around for an hour and feel some nostalgia feels” game has turned into several hours of a legitimate playthrough.  Let’s just hope Carth stops wanting to talk about his feelings at some point.  (He won’t.)

Orcs Must Die!: I’ve actually yet to play this one (the curse of buying so many games at one time), but my dear associate Mister Adequate swears up and down that this game is amazing and fun.  Considering his raucous laughter over Skype whenever he plays it, I’ll take his word for it.

What sorts of gems have you picked up with the sale?