thinking about this birdsite thread
and I had a different question, sorta related: what are the games (or other interactive experiences) in the past five years or so that are most opinionated about what a narrative even is, or how a narrative works?
I ask partially because I finished playing _What Remains of Edith Finch_ last night, after buying it partially on the recommendations of people quote-replying that tweet, and I really (really) loved it—but from a "strictly" "formal" perspective it just seemed like Gone Home With More Stuff to me (which in turn was mostly just No Guns Domestic Bioshock). so not really interesting to me specifically on that level
@casey this toot inspired me to actually play 30 flights which I've owned for like five years now I guess? and it's great! but I'm trying to figure out how to articulate why I don't think it's especially opinionated about narrative in the sense I'm looking for... like the story isn't really a *system* in this game? and the jump cuts and surrealism feel very new-wave cinematic to me, like you could take out the controls and it could be a truffaut short more or less?
@aparrish hmm yeah, I guess what I had in mind was that the jump cuts and surrealism to me make it feel like the game is in service to the narrative and not the reverse, like the Bungie games forcing you to spend time so much time walking through areas you've been through
@aparrish I'd say Planescape Torment, Braid, Stanley Parable, and Marathon Infinity.
Infinity has the player hopping across multiple possible parallel timelines to try to find one that doesn't end in disaster, which is a real head trip.
Stanley Parable struck me as doing for games what If On a Winter's Night a Traveler did for novels: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/If_on_a_winter%27s_night_a_traveler
@aparrish I'd definitely recommend playing through the rest of the episodes. Acts 3 and 4 in particular are much more interesting, I think. In general I really appreciate how most of the choices in the game don't shape the world (like secret endings and whatnot), but instead shape how you as the player and story-experiencer feel about the characters and the world.
@aparrish Not last 5 years (not remotely so), but World of Goo is worth checking out. A puzzle game that told the story with only some writing between texts and some short messages from sign painter.
"Everybody's gone to the rapture" Its somewhat linear (chapters, which work like movement in a concert piece. soundtrack is a central piece of the game). there is no protogonist, you just fly around hearing from ghosts, bits of the story to piece what happened to the village.
my list of games like this would be something like... Colossal Cave Adventure (a story is rooms and objects); Her Story (a story is a search engine); 80 Days (a story is a directed graph gated by simulation); Fallen London (a story is a deck of cards); etc. (not all from the bast five years obviously, but that's sort of what I'm thinking about)
@aparrish The only thing I can think of is what Chris Crawford is doing with Interactive Storytelling, but sadly it wasn't released.
It was opinionated in that the story is directed by the interactions with the characters and algorithms underneath those characters.
@aparrish and I think there is a distinction between games that invite the player to make up their own story (I guess that is sandbox gameplay?) like crusader kings and minecraft and ones that deliver a specific set of events to tell a story.
@aparrish I haven't played it, but my answer would be "A Normal Lost Phone". Related thought, I think marketing is "narrative" while storytelling is about challenging narrative. Discussion about stories has gotten the subjects of manipulating people to think something and telling stories all mixed up because of the use of the word narrative. A good story invites many narratives in and doesn't attempt to establish one singularly correct one in my opinion.
@aparrish err I guess at least the first "a normal lost phone" is a bit problematic tho
@Alonealastalovedalongthe I'm using the word "narrative" in the narrow sense of narratology, sorta taking for granted (for the purposes of this discussion) that the structure of a narrative can be separated from the act of its telling (the whole fabula/sujet thing). I think another way of talking about what I'm looking for is games where the elements of abstract narrative structure are explicitly exposed as game mechanics (in interesting ways)
@aparrish thanks for clarifying, I was actually unaware of that vocabularly so this gives me good food for thought!