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It's not that you CAN'T tell stories with games, but you have to tell the kind of stories that work WITH the format rather than AGAINST it.
That was the conclusion Richard Garriott came to.
A linear story, where the hero must do X, Y, and Z (in that order) to advance to chapter 2, etc....You're force fitting a conventional narrative structure onto something that resists it by nature.
This is why I hate Japanese RPGs.. well, that and the hair. ;)
Elder Scrolls...I don't necessarily love those games, but I think they may be on the right track with algorithmically generated content. The only problem is, it's still in a laughably crude stage.
Agreed.. Fable did this too. Depending on your characters actions certain options would open and others would close. That type of low level game terraforming is easy, but ultimately not very engaging. I think what you are looking to do is have the game morph objectives (plot points) based on the characters decisions. The only way I see of accomplishing that is to build every choice into the game and let the actions open and close branches.. but there will still be a finite number of choices and outcomes.
The more common problem (IMO) is that the designers fill in TOO MUCH of the picture, which they think makes it more realistic, but in actuality inhibits immersion by forcing the player's imagination into predefined channels.
That is exactly the reason why I loved text adventures... specifically Infocom text adventures. They painted a scene with words, dropped you to a text parser and let you (and your imagination) work it out. It left all of the imagination and wonder in the game.. and it gave you a great sense of accomplishment when you solved the puzzles.
That's why I think a lot of people find the Lara Croft of the first Tomb Raider game a lot sexier than in the later "more realistic" sequels, or even Angelina Jolie in the movie.
Mmmm, Angelina... What were you saying Matt?
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