There are always defining moments or things that shape a person’s personality.
While posting up on Twitter under the #GameStruck4 and thinking back on last week’s post about remaster/remakes, I started to think about the type of game that inspired me to become so interested in writing/blog/talking about video games in the way I do, with the amount of love and passion I judge everything about video games.
I started to realize that one of my favorite type of video game genres or types would have to be open narrative. I’m sure they have an official title for them, and plenty of people will post comments telling me what they are called, but that’s how I refer to them. I mean, it is basically in the descriptor, the games involving an almost ever evolving narrative in which you can (sometimes) influence how the story progresses by what you make the main character say to the others around them.
Games like Mass Effect, and one of my favorite games of all time, Star Wars: Knights of The Old Republic. Bioware has fueled the inner parts of myself that thrive on alternate realities, the paths not taken, and games they’ve produced over the years have made me open my mind and explore possibilities that I have never thought of. They’ve expanded not only my written horizon but also the horizons of countless worlds that I had yet to create. Sometimes I write with boorish weight, most the time said under sleep deprivation or distracted by where my “office” is and who happens to be present in it. However, on a good day, I could craft stories in which evoke strong emotions from not just myself but those who wanted to read what I had put down.
It’s a lot to say that a video game genre could inspire such changes in someone, let alone someone who currently just blogs about games, doing some odds and ends thought pieces or reviews. I don’t short change what I do, nor would I rather be doing anything else, I’m just saying it might come as a shock to some people that I am capable of weaving such imagery that is sparked by video games and the weighing decisions between good and evil.
That’s why I always believe I’d love D&D but I’ve never really found a group in which to play with to test that theory.
Regardless, I feel the nostalgia waves hitting me hard as I talk about KOTOR, I pine for the day when a KOTOR3 gets announced but that’s as likely as Half-Life 3 being confirmed.
I’m just glad I got to talk about the the genre that inspires the inner most feelings from me and let it pour through my writing for just a bit. I love and miss getting the chance to play quality Open Narrative games, I haven’t felt one has truly lit that fuse that games like the original Mass Effect trilogy and KOTOR but I can keep revisiting the classics till another great one comes along.
If I had to pick my Top 5 I’d say the following :
5. The Walking Dead TellTale Series
While kinda a cop out, since technically the story will play out one way or another, I mean all zombie stories end up being positive or negative in the end but with all the choices given, it gave me a chance to create my own dark narrative in the world of walkers.
4. Mass Effect
The universe is full of alien life, all of which you might be able to copulate with. This is the lesson that Commander Shepard has taught me, as well as that every action indeed has a reaction that can span across multiple years, or rather 3 games in this case. The extensive nature of the decisions made had so many ramifications, that even on the little of situations (Conrad Verner) it turned around and had an actual impact on what took place in the interim between games. I should, in all fairness rate this higher because of the hours sank into it, but there has been sooooo much wrong with the series between the latest installment and the switcheroo on the 3rd installments endings. Still love the franchise for what it is.
3. Fallout 4
While I’d say my favorite Fallout title would have been 3 but analyzing the story, it all leads to the same place, no matter the true decisions made in the game. The game is even structured to want you to end your life or call you a coward. F4 has crafted a picture in my mind of fractured realities, no matter which path you take, the outcomes could be different, sure boil it down it’s still two outcomes but the actions, reactions, and how side stories progress, it all feels like the sides you take act different. Like multiverse theory could be explained by simple faction choices and just see how differently the world turns out.
2. inFamous (series)
While sure, the goals are the same on both fronts, be as good or as evil as you could and terrify or enamor the people of the city. Though, each installment of this Superhero simulator has given breath and weight to each of your decisions that actually make you think. They evoke feelings of terror to what your decisions might entail, and feel pride or even shame for making the obviously evil decision. It carried itself with pride and the branching paths make it worthy of telling a story.
- Star Wars: Knights of The Old Republic
So it should not be a surprise that I would call it my favorite game on this list, I mean I have ranted and raved about what kind of thought it incited in me for all those years. I already loved Star Wars and the thought of playing as a lightsaber wielding Jedi was just something I couldn’t pass up. What I got was an adventure across the universe with story driven moments and decisions you could choose between Sith and Jedi, it maybe a simple choice narrative between good and evil but it still gives a bit of power to them. I maybe mixing games with KOTOR 1 and 2 but depending on your alignment choices, certain locations visited are changed and it affects the flow of each story. I love this game, I loved the sequel, and I can hold onto hope that we get some sort of remake or successor other than the MMO.
Yeah I mentioned it in my spoof of remastered games that this game should be re-remastered but in all honesty, I liked the game. It was iffy in a lot of places but the choices do exist in which you can shape the story, it follows the likes of Heavy Rain by being out there and tons of life changing decisions. Only thing that holds it back is that it looked convoluted and too many QTE than I could stand.