Sunday, April 4, 2010

Video Games: 101


My apologies for this belated blog post. 

I had something prepared for Saturday about video games linked into starting a story. Unfortunately, I had an awful migraine most of Saturday afternoon and evening. Those of you who have them, likely understand my inability to handle the lights of a computer screen (or anything luminous for that matter) 

 End note

Video games--the bane of any self-respecting author, the time-sucker for the procrastinator. Right? Wrong. You can learn something of starting a story  simply from how some video games are set up. Don't believe me, do you?

Hidden object, puzzle, and other styles of games excluded. I'm speaking of games that have a story of their own. Such as the RPG genre, or even games like Freelancer, Crystal Key, Safe Cracker, and Dark Fall: The Journal. What do these games have in common? Their beginnings.

Even though they use different genres and stories, each one starts with a "main character" who has a "mission/task/quest" to fulfil, and--most importantly--he is thrust into a situation in which he knows little to nothing of the world/city/place.

This, amazingly enough, works very well. Since you, the player, are also unfamiliar with the world/city/place. Therefore, as the MC is "taught" by the other characters in the game--the player is also learning.

This is a nice plot device you can borrow for your stories as well. It only works in the first minutes of the game, and just so, it typically  works best the first chapter or two of a story. It can be done at other times, but sparingly. But done properly, you can introduce your characters to situations and worlds that would be unfamiliar to the reader in that way.

For example, in my own stories, I needed Gary (one MC) to learn about types of telepaths that I had invented for the novel. Therefore, I made him ignorant largely of them. Thus, the other MC had a chance to "teach" him. Teaching the reader, too.

Other writers/bloggers do the same. Off the top of my head...

BrandiG has Jade--suddenly finding out she is a Dragon Queen
Lydia Sharp has Jarus--being fitted for armor


  1. Interesting. I love how video games can tell a story in such a unique way. I've been thinking submitting a portfolio to some of the major rpg studios. It would be a lot of fun writing dialog for those companies.

  2. Fulfill is spelled wrong. ._. Just wanted to point that out.

    My novel is sort of like that. The MC is naive to everything around her, except for what the peregrines (peregrine shapeshifters, even though she is a half-breed of peregrine-wolf shapeshifter and angel descent) have taught her. She discovers that not every human being is the same, and she only discovers this when she meets Gawain "Iarfhlaith" Lionhart (the humans call him Iarfhlaith. He is half human and half angel, so his angel name is Gawain). Still though. It's kind of hard to not hate majority of a group that kills your people. :P

  3. Ooooh, being a huge video game fan (RPGs all the way!), I found this very entertaining to read. I believe you're right about how the intro of a game can provide helpful hint for writing and that's it. Further on and the story else. I learned that the hard way with my first book, COT. :)