Now, I'm a video game geek. Unfortunately, video games are one of the things that get the most flak in entertainment media because a lot of people think they're vapid and childish. I won't deny it. This assumption is, at times, correct. However, like most stereotypes, it is not always correct.
In fact, I think we as writers can learn a lot from video games. Writers spend so much time absorbing elements of books and movies, but we rarely look at video games because of the aforementioned reasons. But video games can have all of the good things: dialogue, atmosphere, world-building, etc. Video games have just as much potential as books and movies.
As a writer, there are video games you should play. Lots of them. Far more than I'm listing here today. But if you're curious, here are five to get you started:
|Beautiful, beautiful box art, yes?|
The story of Nathan Drake is basically the story of Indiana Jones with a modern twist and less of a religious focus. So even though it's well-executed, it's not particularly original. But that's not the reason you should play this game. You wanna play this game for the characters and the dialogue. The banter is witty, yet natural, and all of the characters stand on their own two feet. The original, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, is also pretty sweet.
Enslaved is loosely based on the Chinese legend Journey to the West and the characters in this game are awesome. But world-building baby, this one's about world building. Post-apocalyptic society in the ruins of New York City? Sign me up. Here we have foliage amongst skyscrapers, remnants of technology, crazy mechanical creatures that want to kill you, and the ever-looming threat of the "slavers." It's pretty, it's lush, and I wish there was a sequel.
This game is basically Law & Order on crack. It's also awesome enough to have two sequels and two spin-offs, with a third on the way. Why play this game? To remember the simple things again. Phoenix Wright is surprisingly heartfelt and genuine. Your story doesn't have to be the Next Great Novel--it's okay to talk about siblings, murder, and long lost friends. The game is also hilarious and makes you use your brain to solve mysteries and such.
Okay, I'll admit, I haven't actually played Bioshock, but I watched someone else play the entire game while doing homework. If you want to study up on setting a mood, then this Bioshock is for you. For one thing, the game takes place in a egoist, underwater, utopian city-gone-wrong named Rapture. It's also populated with insane people that want to kill you. And that sums up everything, because the entire atmosphere of the is gorgeous and horrifying at the same time.
One of the best things about The World Ends With You is the fact that you don't know what's going on half of the time. In a good way. Play this game for the story because it will not let you go. That and there's crazy plot twists. As writers we need to focus on what makes a story grab people and what makes an awesome climax. Another perk? The gameplay is the best I've ever seen in a Nintendo DS game.
So, what do you think? Video games: a waste of time, or a good investment? Have you ever played any of these games? Tell me in the comments.