Okay, it’s actually called Champions Online, but it’s functionally everything Cryptic wanted to do with City of Heroes if they were remaking it.
We’re reading Writing for Multimedia and the Web in class, and suddenly it’s all about computer games. Holy crap, I can hardly believe this, this well-rounded liberal education I’m paying for has actually gotten around to discussing the field I’m interested in!
The current topic is out of chapter 17-18 of that book: Games are bigger than Hollywood but seem to be lacking compelling story/narrative development. Shoot, isn’t that what I’ve just been saying? Maybe I know what I’m talking about, after all, and if so that would explain why we hate the grind…
As human beings, we’ve spent thousands of years telling stories, it’s become a fundamental mechanic of our being. It’s no wonder we’ve learned to “hate the grind” when your average MMORPG is not concerned with progressing a story. It’s no wonder games get boring: this story goes nowhere; nothing ever happens.
Personally, I think the reason why this happens isn’t because the designers don’t want to tell a story but rather because programming and designing games is hard. You tend to be so impressed that Asteroids works that you don’t care there’s no reason to be out there shooting rocks in space in the first place. In other words, the challenge involved in making games effectively distracts a developer from caring about whether or not it can tell a story.
It seems that this is not good enough anymore. Finicky players (like myself) are beginning to demand that games need to be more than fun, they need to carry meaning as well. What I meant by “meaning” would often confuse people, perhaps even myself, but the answer may be that what I really wanted was for the game to tell a meaningful story.
Even now, the inner evolved ape is still sitting about the campfire waiting for a story to be told. Naturally, it’s getting just a bit frustrated when the storytellers keeping talking about shooting asteroids in space or camping respawning kobolds and never get around to a meaningful point in the story.