The Part of Stories in Games

I’ve read Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman – who is my favorite writer – recently and found it an excellent book. It has a great story presented in such a nice narrative. I loved it. Then, more recently – as in last Saturday’s night – I’ve watched the whole series, originally aired by BBC on 1996, but it didn’t felt that much good as the novel itself. Although I’m very aware of the problems that comes when adapting novels to other mediums, and am also open minded enough to accept those differences, I ended up feeling that it (the series) hasn’t lived up to my humble expectations.

I can’t say why exactly. I think that it all began with the Marquis de Carabas. I hadn’t pictured him like that on my mind, and the same goes for Hunter. But that’s fine, I can live with it. But the biggest problem I think might have been the lack of simple, and yet necessary, visual effects. I understand that the series is going to be 12-years-old, and in addition to that it was a TV series, not a Peter Jackson’s movie trilogy, so I couldn’t expect fresh visual effects, but I couldn’t help it. It just felt wrong when I was expecting to see something and then it didn’t showed up properly. Maybe I should have waited a little longer to watch the series, in order to not to have the novel so fresh on my mind, I don’t know.

Today, when commuting on the bus, I began to wonder on this experience of mine, and tried to move it to video-games. But I’ll not talk about games adapted from other mediums, but games “adapted” from the designer’s mind. You see, sometimes you find yourself with a nice idea for a game mechanics and you then try to rush an story where you can fit those mechanics into, or sometimes it’s just the opposite, you have a really nice story and you rush to find some mechanic that would work with it. I see this moment as a delicate one, because this is the point where you can go from glory to despair.

I am going through something like that right now. Actually it began a few months ago when I was told to create a text-adventure game at my game design course. At the beginning I saw that as an opportunity to use a story I had in mind for a game, and it did begun to work out but then I reached some point where I wasn’t able to move forward. In fact, I’m still at that point, trying to figure out a way to end the story and the game.

Maybe if I had given a harder thought on the story before using it on the text-adventure I could foresee this situation, or maybe not, I would just had to give it a try and see what was going to come out. But I understand now that this is part of the process to acquire experience, which do not stray away from the path of trying and failing.

Right now I am struggling with some ideas to find an ending to my story, so I can fill in the gaps and have it completed. I’ll try to do as Brenda Brathwaite said on her blog, leave the idea on the back of my head an wait to see the outcome, whenever that might be, and be prepared to take a note on it.

Wish me luck. 🙂

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