As a 20 year old, it doesn’t seems it was that long ago when I was playing Super Mario 64, Mario Kart, Megaman, and all those games that most of us as gamers have played in the past. However, in that "little time" that has passed, not only the gaming community has expanded, the games have also evolved in a way that, if we would've tried to explain it to our Nintendo 64 playing selves, we probably couldn’t have grasped the notion of what videogames are today.

It's fair to say that games have evolved in many ways: graphics, gameplay, artificial intelligence, etc. I have to say that, in my opinion, a “videogame” doesn’t even accurately represents the experience that involves modern gaming. We all know that they will keep evolving but, for me in particular, there is one aspect of games that I'm most excited about. Interactive Storytelling.

I’m often amazed with the astounding worlds that developers are able to create. Worlds that, in a way, become a home to us, and that is a very strong statement to the creativity of the people behind our favorite games that we are so passionate about. These worlds serve two purposes: to serve the gameplay of the game, and to flesh out the place that the player and those around him will inhabit.

Anor Londo, Dark Souls.

There is no denying of the inherent potential that games possess to enthrall a person, but, I can assure you, the most influential factor of all, it’s the story. Not so many generations before the current gen (and the impending “next-gen” looming in the horizon), games were most of the times solely focused on gameplay and a story was tied around it to give a sense of coherence and progression. However, that focus is starting to shift. Every year, games are becoming bigger, more meaningful, and this is because, nowadays, technology has provided us a playground that was before strictly limited to our own imagination.

Now, some will say that this is arguable, because of other media that already exist, such as Filmmaking. But this is false, because, even if the rest of the non-gaming community is not ready to embrace it, the fact is that those other forms of media are missing one word: “Interactive”. Maybe we have different media capable of giving us storytelling at its finest. But does any of those have the ability to make you feel like you were a part, even lived that experience? Can they give you a level of immersion deep enough to trigger a feeling of catharsis?

With modern videogames, we are offered a world where a decision impacts the story of both the main character and everyone around him, even the world itself. And you are the one making these decisions, there is a sense of consequence that makes you more invested in an utterly fictional world. And even if we are not offered this power of choice, the fact is that, you’re playing out a role in a story, a story in which you’re a part of and has the ability to convey feelings, such as powerlessness, pity, and friendship, among others. There is currently no similar experience to playing a videogame, I can assure you that. If you doubt me, I invite you to experience the story of John Marston in Red Dead Redemption, or Booker DeWitt in the awe inspiring Bioshock Infinite.

Booker DeWitt and Elizabeth Comstock.

I am also sure that we’re just scratching the surface. If all of this has been made possible through technological advancements, who is to say that they will not aid this art form to keep evolving? You just have to watch the videos of Unreal Engine 4, and how it streamlines so many processes, effectively cutting down development time, which is a big constraint for further development of a game in general. Just imagine, a world so big, a story so well scripted that rarely does two individuals who know each other get to visit the same places, to know the same characters, to interact the same way with an open-world. Our creativity is limitless, and I strongly believe that this is where we are headed. This, is the future. And let me be clear, I want to be part of this future both as a gamer, and a developer.

There is no other way, but forward from here on out.