Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Evolution of Storytelling: Spoken, Written, Movies, Video Games?

Sometimes the pages of this blog serve as a repository for ideas that I come across. In all honesty, I know that this next idea is in no way a new one, in fact I've encountered many studies on this very topic, and not even just in academic journals, but in major mass media publications.

I just completed the game Assassin's Creed 2 on Xbox 360 a few minutes ago, and felt compelled to sit down and discuss the finer aspects of a story that drew me in and took up so much of my free time these past few weeks.

This game, from its graphics, accurate architectural and character based history, compelling and original fiction, DaVinci Code style puzzles and intrigue, and a musical score to match that of any big budget movie, was more than a game to me, it was a literary, movie like experience. I just had to play more, and to uncover more of the puzzles and hidden story lines. It wasn't for the sake of gaming, it was for the sake of story telling.

With that in mind, I have to take a compelling look at the evolution of video games to where they are today. I know that calling Assassin's Creed 2 a crowning achievement in video gaming would be hotly debated among those with greater knowledge of such things than myself, but to a casual gamer who occasionally delves into deeper game, I have no other way to describe this game than as a beautiful work of art. When I am online seeking out more of the story, downloading the musical score, and antsy to play the next installment, you know something has been done right.

So for you scholars out there, here's an idea. Let's take a closer look at where video games are today. They're no longer the story of a plumber jumping in pipes looking for princesses. These are stories that are nearly equal to some of the best fiction out there today, their cinematic merits are rivaling those of the best movies, and their music is stunning.

It's just food for thought. Video games, the next frontier of the great story?