Since the 1970s, gaming has evolved. Games have become bigger and better than they’ve ever been. Going from 2-D to 3-D, from pixelated to high textured, and from arcade games to immersive games. We’ve seen masterpiece after masterpiece, disappointment after disappointment, but at the end of the day, we’re proud of how far gaming has come over the years. However, there is one small thing I’ve noticed with most games. Nearly all people seem to neglect or ignore the story. I do understand games “aren’t anything special and are just a form of entertain”, however, there are many titles that I’ve played where the story taught me something powerful.
With Modern Warfare’s message of how all it takes to change the course of history is the will of a single man, to Deus Ex’s message about corruption, and even Black Ops 2’s message of what do we do when the enemy steals the keys to our technology. However, these are just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more games out there who have touched the lives of millions of gamers. The Walking Dead, Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, Borderlands, Half-Life, Portal, Kingdom Hearts, Fire Emblem, and even the Pokémon games all have something great about them, a great story, but there are people out there who just play them blindly.
Rarely do I hear people talking about the story of these games or the lore. It’s just something many people have lost interest into lately. One of the reasons why I think many games have been poorly developed lately. Not many people care about the story. They just want to play their game. So I ask the question, why?
Call of Duty
A franchise that’s been around since 2003. From a group of developers who brought you Medal of Honor Allied Assault, they branched off from Respawn Entertainment and created their own company known as Infinity Ward. When they developed the game, it blew up in popularity not only for it’s gameplay, but for it’s immersive story. It put you into the boots of Pvt. Martin for the Americans, Sgt. Evans for the British, and Cpl. Voronin for the Soviet Union. You play alongside squads of each allied nation in a battle against the Nazi Regime. You were put through Operation Overlord, the Invasion of Stalingrad, and the Fall of Berlin. From battle to battle, you bonded with the soldiers you fought with, getting to know their stories and characters. It was a game that touched the lives of many gamers, and it didn’t stop there.
The Call of Duty Franchise went on to making games to help further the series. The games went from World War 2, to modern day, and even into the far future. With every release, the game improved in gameplay, and even came out with a new story every time. One of my personal favorites has to be Call of Duty 2: Big Red One. That story left me in tears by the end of it. Bonding with the soldiers who you fight with throughout the game, only to see them die before you is heart wrenching. Though the characters may be fictional, it still shows what kind of hell these men had gone through. The multiplayer in Call of Duty is great, but I think the stories they tell are even better.
The series began back in 2000 with the first installment, and grew in popularity ever since. The series was very famous for it’s gameplay as well as it’s story. The game revolves around conspiracy and corruption, and the only person you can trust is yourself. Throughout the game series, you never known what’s going to be thrown at you as you descend further down the rabbit hole. Friends will turn on you, corporations will hunt you, and at the end of the day, you’ll need to rely on your instincts and your augmentations.
This is a game of choice as well as thinking. Certain choices you make in the game will have an impact on things later on, and things can get very crazy very fast depending on your decisions. Not only does this have good gameplay, but it gives the player a very well made and complex story and world to explore. Throughout the series you explore places like New York, Detroit, Hong Kong, Singapore, Prague, and Arizona. You experience the cyberpunk world of Deus Ex. Human augmentations being sold to the general public to help enhance them and making them more human.
It’s a very immersive game that I feel deserves more attention.
Oh, Half-Life. A once famous and popular gaming franchise that has been around since 1998 and is still popular today with the release of Black Mesa back in 2012. It revolutionized the gaming industry with one word, physics. While it wasn’t the first game to implement physics, it was the one to popularize the concept. Since the release of Half-Life 2, nearly all games that came out after the fact began using physics in some way. Not only was this game famous for it’s mechanics, but again, for it’s complex story as well.
You play as theoretical physicist by the name of Dr. Gordon Freeman who used to work at famous scientific research facility known as Black Mesa. One day, your team manages to get their hands on strange crystal from the Xen Relay and decide to conduct an experiment on it. During the experiment, the crystal creates a rift between our world and the Xen Relay. This causes a number of alien creatures to invade Earth, and reek havoc on humanity. You are one of the few survivors of the Black Mesa Incident, and must find a way out of the facility and back to the surface. However, not everything is what it seems.
Throughout the game, you are constantly being followed by this strange man in black who seems to be observing you. The closer to the end of the game you get, the more and more he appears. This game will surprise you with it’s complex story and it’s relation to the company’s other titles.
Everyone has their reasons to play games. Sometimes it’s just a way for us to past time, maybe it’s so we can get immersed into the story, or even simply because the game is so good we can’t put the controller down. Gaming, like all other forms of media, is a way to separate us from reality. To put us into a fictional world where imagination can run wild and free. A world where we can do whatever we want, how ever we want to. We can make good or bad decisions, be a hero or a villain, and even destroy a world and rebuild it again. However, we shouldn’t be silent about the games with a powerful message.
Games that can teach us the good and bad of the world. Games that can make us laugh and cry. Games that can show true corruption, and how it can affect the world. Those games need to be recognized, and be given more attention.