Why game story wins the battle for player engagement

I’m usually attracted to RPG over FPS. Graphics, level design, fighting style - all of those are essential parts of a good game, too. But what sticks with you and makes you finish (for those of us who aren't compulsive completionists) is when a game makes you wonder “what happens next?” Think I’m giving FPS storytellers a bum wrap? Tell me the games that are keeping you interested and on the edge of your seat

I’m usually attracted to RPG over FPS. Graphics, level design, fighting style - all of those are essential parts of a good game, too. But what sticks with you and makes you finish (for those of us who aren't compulsive completionists) is when a game makes you wonder “what happens next?” Think I’m giving FPS storytellers a bum wrap? Tell me the games that are keeping you interested and on the edge of your seat
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A great story can make or break a game. My boyfriend gets excited about physics and which graphic card you need to have to play on the highest settings, but he’s computer science – I’m a writer. What draws me in is the plot, the characters, the interactions… What you have to do and why. I like a game that creates an emotional and intellectual connection with its player.

I guess that’s why I’m usually attracted to RPG over FPS. Graphics, level design, fighting style – all of those are essential parts of a good game, too. But what sticks with you and makes you finish (for those of us who aren’t compulsive completionists) is when a game makes you wonder “what happens next?”

When I played Nero on PS3, I barely left the couch. The story captured me – I needed to find out what happened next, and I wanted to fix this man’s world. But after a few hours of Unreal Tournament I was bored; it was same thing, over and over.

I want a game to have ingenuity. Creativity. Show me something I haven’t seen or played a dozen times already. I would call out Pokemon as the worst repetitive gaming offender of all time, but they did try a little something different with Conquest… and Snap… and Stadium… (Even if those were all clearly attempts to gain a foothold in different genres so we wouldn’t get bored with having to “catch ‘em all”.)

That’s how WoW keeps and grows its audience – new people doing and saying new things every day. It’s the combination of updates, story, and the ever-changing gameplay in each patch and expansion of an MMORPG that keeps it interesting. (That and the sound it makes each time you turn in a quest… if only real life gave you money and praise each time you got groceries or cleaned the bathroom.)

Story and ingenuity are also why I bought Catherine immediately after playing the demo. The combination of a playable, “choose your adventure” style story with time-based puzzles, the elements of a Japanese dating game and a big focus on character development made this game a must-play for me.

So you better believe I’m on the lookout for something new and exciting to play. Right now I’ve got high hopes for Two Souls and Dishonored.

Think I’m giving FPS storytellers a bum wrap? Tell me the games that are keeping you interested and on the edge of your seat.

Image courtesy of anat_tikker / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

About the author

Amy White

Former Editor in Chief at GameSkinny. I am the Gray Fox. Questions, comments, feedback? Bring it. Amy.White (at) GameSkinny.com