All Stories End: Links to an Obit and Narrative in Video Games


Both of these links are articles from Tor.com about endings, one an obit of writer A.C. Crispin, who died today, and the other about the ending of a video game that wonders about how video games are changing narratives. Do gamers want endings?

The first bit I posted earlier on Facebook, but thought I share it here as well:

I read this obit out of curiosity because I had seen her fans and colleagues share her post about her illness three days ago. I admit I haven’t read her fiction, but the obit writer’s second graf is as powerful of a tribute to the power and wonder of reading as any I’ve read in a while. Such a fine tribute. What a much better world it would be if more of us were stirred by the wonder and insight a storyteller can bring to us, rather than getting bent out of shape over a petulant twenty-somethings’ bare butt cheeks.

The article:

A.C. Crispin, 1950-2013

The other article Does the End of Red Redemption Underscore How Fractured Game Narratives Are? posits this question:

To see others protesting this ending left me wondering—very much in a thinking-out-loud way—if the very concept of narrative, or cause and effect, is simply broken in maturing gamers who have spent their lives absorbing narrative as it is constructed through games. Stories are typically elusive in video games, and even games that attempt it (like RPGs or similar adventure stories) usually have to ignore their own world and their own rules from time to time just so the characters live to see the next scene. If you grow up with that and only that, does this kind of jagged, cheat-able style of narrative become your baseline for how you judge all stories? John Marston’s death violates a core expectation of video game narratives; that there’s always a way to win.

 

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3 thoughts on “All Stories End: Links to an Obit and Narrative in Video Games

  1. I played Red Dead Redemption with my husband; namely, I gambled–he did the rest. 🙂 It actually felt right that Marston died. He died the death of a tragic hero/redeemed anti-hero. Marston may not win, but he leaves a legacy. The story is a win. Gamers who are disappointed may be carrying over the western-world expectation of a happy ending (ironically in a game that is a Western). Hopefully, as games become more complex, weaving narrative with gameplay, writers will feel more free to experiment with plot.

    • I’ve only seen the game played by a ten-year-old boy, who shoots at random people, so I thought it was just a regular FPS.

    • It’s an open world game similar to Grand Theft Auto with a lot of missions that involve shooting–some that don’t. You meet a lot of colorful characters, and Marston’s character is developed along the way. Much of it plays like a movie. 🙂

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