The lights are on
Power Member - Level 9
It was once said "Everything that can be thought has already been thought of." I don't believe in this yet we often see people complaining of unimaginative stories in media these days. I think that the problem lays not in that nothing new can come, but that we as humans are beginning to be more exposed to material and so we see influences more often and mistake this for ripping off.
Having talked about this with my English teacher at length I'm going to hand in my condensed version of why we need to look to others for ideas, and why this in the long run is actually a good thing.
I just finished William Shakespeare's Macbeth. To be honest
my mind is wrapped around this beautiful, yet childish play. (Don't murder me
for that I'll get to it guys.) It's funny, but most all mediums barrow from
Shakespeare. Writers have been feeling his influence for years and musicians as
well have begun to notice that no one truly minds if you borrow and are
influenced his work. (The band Mumford and Son's whole first album is made up
of references to his plays.) Television and movies are starting to get on this
train (yet again) so hey why not games too? I mean Macbeth, Hamlet, The
Tempest, A Mid Summers Night Dream, hell even Caesar and Romeo and Juliet would
make for lovely games. Let me show you how.
To start Macbeth is by far the best candidate. It has
murder, prophecies, witches, and all-out war. Imagine popping in this game and
you are greeted by the Weird Sisters and Hecate. You listen in on their
conversation for a bit before they leave. The camera fades to black and we are
then thrust into the body of Macbeth. We are instantly forced into a boss
fight. As the tutorial guides us to victory we get to the end of this battle
and are given a choice. Kill the man before us or spare him and leave him to
the mercy of King Duncan. I won't part anymore story details, but this has the
potential to be a grand what if game. This game could shift dynamically as you
make choices and kill or don't kill. The great part of this though is that a
huge part of Macbeth is fate and how it can't be avoided, so in the end the
deaths are decided. And just because we are borrowing from a story doesn't mean
we should follow the story to the 'T' surprise us gaming industry and give us
the plot twist of our life.
Now Caesar on the other hand would be perfect to allow a
developer such as say, THQ, to really explore the morality systems in place in
gaming. I mean let's say you start the game as Brutus who is being assaulted by
Cassius, and his silver tongue. You are being asked to kill your closest
friends for the good of Rome. After your decision we switch to Marc Antony
who's first choice is whether or not to take revenge for his friend. Whether
it's for murder or a conspiracy is up to you. Sure it sounds a bit more like an
interactive movie, but it has potential.
Now Shakespeare is, but one of many older authors who would
make for great source material, even if his puns are again a tad childish.
There are tons of other authors both famous and unknown who would provide
perfect source material. With so much classic literature out there who knows
what could happen. If there is one thing that has become apparent it's this;
there is a lot of potential stories both new and old that gaming could look to
for inspiration. All the time people are coming up with grand and beautiful
stories. Borrow from these and use them as tools to craft beautiful stories
Now I know often people claim that Copyright/Trademark laws
make this a difficult thing to do. This has always bugged me as these laws were
actually made to encourage authors to look to other stories to get ideas. There
are two things that I will say though will greatly increase odds of Devs
getting the okay they need to make book and play based games. The first is that
if the author is still alive for the love of god, include them in the process.
I know that this seems like common sense, but remember the authors are just
like Devs, this is their vision and they are protective of it. The second is
that if the author is dead, or the rights are owned by a company; don't do anything
that you wouldn't want someone to do to your game. Again this seems like common
sense, but just keep this in mind.
Maybe I'm hoping in dreaming, but the source material from
novels and plays alike is there. The best part about these types of games though
is that we get better stories while the Devs can focus on the gameplay. Plus
the Devs still get to learn how to craft grand stories without having to risk
crafting their own stories, in a story conscious gaming society.
As a gamer and a writer I have a unique twist as all of my stories are
written as if I am a gamer controlling my character. I know there are other
writers on GIO so do you write like this?
Amongst my own personal novel choices for good gaming potentials
include the Drizzt Series and The Secrets of the Immortal Nicolas Flamel. Do
you guys have any choices?
As a question that I hope sparks interest, Do you feel we are becoming
a more story conscious gaming community?
As always it has been fun blogging tonight and I hope ya'll enjoyed!