In the beginning, there was a mountain of games that revolved around the idea that sharing stories mattered. Tales (and the myths or legends that come along with them) are the foundation of our history as people.
From tabletop role-playing games, point-and-click adventures, to the full-blown choose your own path episodic titles we see today, gaming is evolving (in parts) back to a focus on the story. Making players feel involved, and crucial to the outcome is key. Here are four (extremely different) strong examples of experiences that nail the feel, importance of choice, and narrative design needed to succeed in storytelling.
Last Day on Earth
FOR FANS OF: FALLOUT SERIES
Why Play? In the realm of telling your own story, there’s nothing quite like the end of the world to force you to make tough decisions for the sake of survival. Last Day on Earth is as brutal of a survival game as you can get on mobile, and all of the stressful whistles are here. Crafting, scavenging, dungeons, food and hydration management, raiders, and more. The gameplay is deep, and the controls are some of the best virtual screen inputs we’ve used. There are crazy Fallout vibes going on with Last Day on Earth.
Batman: The Enemy Within
FOR FANS OF: BATMAN
Why Play? Nearly a decade ago now, Telltale reminded the world how much it needed strong storytelling in games; reviving the point-and-click genre single-handedly. Now, their critically acclaimed Batman series comes to an end, as the final episode of this choose your own adventuretale starring the Dark Knight himself launched worldwide this week. Player choice is king in Telltale games, and this series doesn’t stray from that formula. You, as the protagonist, feel absolutely essential to the main plot, something a lot of games neglect to ensure these days.
Why Play? There’s nothing like drama to spur on storytelling. Much like the Twilight films/books, and plenty of television these days, Episode leans towards a younger audience. It’s a point in our lifespan that most can connect or relate to. In boiling, drama-filled plots, the user is tasked with navigating tumultuous situations left and right. From relationships to horror, mysterious to heartbreak, there is a story on Episode that will intrigue you. Currently, the library on Episode is over 50,000 stories. They’re short, punchy, and do their best to make you care.
Knights of Pen & Paper 2
FOR FANS OF: DUNGEONS & DRAGONS
Why Play? In the same vein as the recent novel and blockbuster film Ready Player One, Knights of Pen & Paper 2 will pull at every single nostalgia tendon within your body. However, KP&P also includes a very viable RPG game within it. You play as a group of people playing a D&D-like tabletop role-playing game, and the adventure unfolds in goofy graphics as told by the Dungeon Master (an NPC / Narrator). The class titles, armor, skills, items, and mobs are all hilarious mixes of pop culture, geek fandom, and sharp satire. KP&P2 will have you entrenched in its story, and ROFL-ing the whole way through.
CompulsionLoop is AC+A’s (adriancrook.com) weekly pursuit of providing a Featured List for those in the games industry. A look at the latest must-play apps, along with short, useful takeaways from our team of game design and product experts. If you have a game that you think your industry colleagues should try, we’d love to hear about it at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to tell us why industry insiders should be compelled to try out the game (see what we did there?).
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Have a great week!- Adrian Crook www.adriancrook.com