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More Thoughts From Me #2: Every Video Game Needs A Story

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Every single game┬áneeds a story. I’m not saying that every video games has a story as it is obvious that not all of them do. What I’m saying is that every video needs a story and should have it. Let’s take a look at a few examples, shall we?

Shooter? Give it a story. Otherwise, its just your typical space shooter.

Life sim? Look at Animal Crossing. You move to a small town full of animals and have to build a life there. New Leaf, especially, has a story. Animal Crossing’s story just doesn’t end.

Mario? Yes, the princess gets kidnapped and you have to rescue her. Its a story.

RPG? You’re kidding right?

Originally, I thought I might say that some games don’t need one, but to me, those games that don’t have a story always end up being quick time killers or just boring in the end. You can play them for a little bit, move on, and don’t look back. Games with stories, though, are games that you’ll play for a long time. Oh sure, you might stop playing them after you beat the story, but you’ll come back to it later on. You’ll just be sitting around one day, bored out of your mind and go, “Wait. I haven’t played that in a long time” and then you’re into that story again.

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If Star Fox didn’t have its unique characters or its “save the universe” storyline, we’d probably only play it a few times and then move on. The reason Star Fox is so unique is because it tries to tell a story about animals in space saving the universe. Its a unique story and it stands out, unlike the various space shooters of the past that just put you in a ship and had you blast enemies.

Yes, regular space shooters with no story can be fun for awhile, but once you’ve played the game and either beat it or not, you won’t find much reason to go back right away (if ever). Star Fox shows what all shooters can be like if they had a story: great gameplay with an excellent hook to keep you playing. All games need such a hook to keep the player invested in the game.

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You may think its obvious that every game needs a story. Though, there might be some people who try to argue with me and say “No, not every game needs a story.” or “Who are you kidding, Animal Crossing doesn’t have a story!”. Why, yes it does. Animal Crossing’s story doesn’t have an ending, but its still a story.

Once Upon A Time…you move to small village full of animals and build a life there. The animals ask you to do favors and you do a lot of other things too. In the end, its a non-linear type of story. You control what you do and how often you play. In New Leaf, the story was improved a bit by having you be the mayor too. I guess some people would say the story “ends” when you get a perfect town. The story never ever ends though. Don’t let the mayor thing fool you. Those animals in Animal Crossing keep on living their lives even after you’ve given up on the game. So, yes, some stories are never ending and some stories are simple and have a definite ending place.

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“Mario’s story is too simple.”, you might be thinking. Yes, Mario’s story is pretty simple. Mario has to go off and save the princess or save somebody else. The Mario & Luigi games and the Paper Mario games have stories that are a little more complex, but nowhere near as complex as other rpgs. Oh and look at Super Mario Maker. It has the typical save the princess story in the 100 Mario Challenge, but it also lets players create their own stories. They may be simple or really complex; it totally depends on how good of a level maker you are. Still, these are all stories no matter how simple you (or Nintendo) make them.

Nintendo deals in a lot of simple stories, but they always have some kind of hook in their games. Ok, maybe not the Wii Sports games or Nintendo Land games, but you see how boring those games got after awhile? They were limited amounts of fun. You loved them for awhile and then moved on. This is why some Indie games are not as good as others: some of them have interesting game play but they leave out the story. Retro video games, such as games from Atari and early Nintendo games, were guilty of this too. Video games always need a story.

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So we come back to Xenoblade Chronicles X. I showed you a picture of this at the start of this article. Rpgs, especially, need a story. I’m sure you’re going “well duh” right now. But in the early days of rpgs, there were some rpgs that didn’t have a story or had very simple stories. As the years have gone by though, rpg stories have grown more complex and interesting.

I think Xenoblade Chronicles X has a great story, though I know not everyone feels the same about it. We all have different tastes when it comes to the type of stories we like. I’m not going to argue with you about what story is good. I’m just trying to say that video games need stories, especially rpgs. Feel free to disagree with me.

So do you disagree with me? If so, what is your favorite game without a story and do you still play it? If you agree with me, what’s your favorite video game story? Hey, even if you do disagree with me, feel free to tell me about your favorite video game story anyway.

I hope I gave you some food for thought. I’ll be back next week with something else. Take care.

 

Article By

blank Daniel Fugate has wanted to be a writer since he was seven years old. He has a bachelor's degree in English and he's a huge Animal Crossing fan. The Wii U and 3DS are currently his favorite video game systems!

Follow Daniel on:
Twitter: @df2506