Monday, May 18, 2009

The "heart" of different media

The heart of a novel is characterization, though there's more to it than that (such as plot, dramatic tension, etc.). The heart of a game is gameplay, though there's more to it than that (interface, appearance, sometimes story, etc.) (And I might add here, the heart of an interactive puzzle (one-player video game) is challenge, though there's more to it than that. A considerable part of gameplay is challenge, but the challenges tend to come from other players, whereas in the interactive puzzle the challenge comes from the computer (and ultimately, from the designer).

Trying to use a game primarily to tell a story is like trying to use Excel as a word processor. You can do it, but it's awkward.

Just as, if I want to learn history, I read a good book rather than play a game, if I want a good story, I read a good novel (or watch a movie) rather than play a game. Playing a game is for gameplay, not story, not history.

But I know there are people who won't read a history book (though they'll watch History Channel). There are those who won't read a novel (though they'll watch a movie). And there are those who will play a game, but not for gameplay, for story.

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