Gameplay versus Story
I recently saw this asked on the /r gaming subreddit. My first thought was gameplay. Why else am I playing a video game? And after really giving it some thought, I’m still on gameplay. Story is merely a way to pull you into a game. The gameplay is where the game really shines. There are exceptions to this and everything is merely opinion but I feel that for my gaming experience to be a good one, the gameplay has to be fun. The worst part? I want to write video game stories. I have already begun to create an entire fantasy world for a video game or novel series. And yet I realize that the world is merely a way to draw people in to the actual game. The gameplay has to be fun and dynamic or else people will play it for an hour or two and then stop.
A really good example for this is the game Hunted: The Demon’s Forge. The game is a really fun co-op experience with a story that is mediocre at best. Yet, as me and my friend played the game we became involved in the story. The gameplay drove us but it was the story that kept us in little by little with its twists and turns. I think this highlights how a game should work: a solid gameplay experience with a story that captures your attention.
I do realize that a good story can make up for some bad gameplay. My brother and I had this discussion and he was adamant that a good story was more important, as he was willing to suffer through bad gameplay for a really good story. I’m not the same. I see games like Heavy Rain or Beyond: Two Souls that are really just interactive stories and I’m not interested. Heavy Rain was incredibly well received and Beyond was shown at a film festival. But they don’t seem like games to me. I really enjoyed Indigo Prophecy and it was literally just Quick Time Events with some story.
I think my biggest issue with this question is that it really comes down to each person and what they want out of their game. What I want out of my game is going to be different from my brother, my friend, and my co-workers.