Video Games and Storytelling

Storytelling

 

A little background

I readily admit that my love of stories stems from literature. I read books young and voraciously…even classically…and have never gotten my fill. If you could see my little studio apartment right now you’d find books overflowing my many bookshelves and lying in lovingly haphazard stacks wherever they can find an inch.

I spend most Saturday afternoons at my local library and have banned myself from bookstores until I at least have shelf space for the ones I already own (yeah, right). People give me stacks of their old books all the time and I can never say no…every book deserves a home, you know? So yes, I love books, novels, as a storytelling medium. It’s my medium of choice as a writer, too.

Yet as my passion for stories and storytelling has grown and expanded over time, I have come to embrace film and television wholeheartedly as mediums able to tell stories in a way the written word cannot. I often see powerfully emotional images on screen that I know I could never do justice to on the page. I dream tiny brave little dreams about my own stories being transformed for the screen one day.

I relish the rare opportunity of hearing a story well-told by a storyteller well-seasoned by time and experience or simple gift. I love telling stories to live audiences myself. Living stories that have never been wrestled into a set form on the page hold a special kind of magic for me. They yet breathe.

It is only within the last few years, however, that I have found video games that truly satisfy my storytelling itch. A few months ago I wrote an article about Elegy for a Dead World, a game that allows players to become writers and poets as they play. It’s an incredible game, and I heartily recommend it.

However, this post is about games that tell stories. Or rather, the games that do it best. Below I have compiled an incomplete list of my most favorite games based on their stories, in no particular order. Be warned that this list is completely subjective and based solely off of my own personal gaming experiences, which are admittedly still limited. Enjoy!

 

Mass Effect(s)

They’re all great. Really. I should pick a favorite, but I can’t. In fact, I like them so much you should probably be on the lookout for a solo article just for them. Yeah. If somehow you haven’t played them…um, do? I agonize over decisions in these games like no other…and second guess myself…and keep multiple saves in case I just can’t live with myself after making certain choices ( I never let myself use them. It’s a safety net thing. Don’t judge me!).

 

Fallout 2

An early but a goodie, Fallout 2 is a fantastic entry in the now-saturated world of post-apocalyptic games and my favorite in the Fallout series. The world is quite rich, and your decisions as a character have far-reaching impact as you move through the story.

 

Red Dead Redemption

This one’s a killer. Set in that rocky time when the Old West was dying out but nobody knew what the New West was going to look like, or how anyone would be safe without the old rules and the rough men who upheld them, this game is great for a lot of reasons. Check it out.

 

L.A. Noire

Okay, in the interest of completely honesty, I didn’t actually play this one myself. I watched B2 play it. But it’s really moody and gritty and visually pleasing.

 

Bonus: Alan Wake

I haven’t gotten to play this one yet, but I’m eager to! It’s about a novelist and his wife and all the creepy terrible things that happen to them on a private island. Yep, definitely gotta have it.

 

Honorable Mentions:

 

Okay, LadyNerders! Your turn. Share your favorite video game stories in the comments below! 

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