I Need the Narrative

MysteryDoor’s post on the benefits of gaming got me thinking about gaming as well. That, and the fact that I’ve actually been able to play some games lately since I’m not so loaded down with work anymore. Anyway, I was just thinking about the types of games I like, the types of games I don’t like, and the reasons behind those feelings. This is the result.

Personally, I am not a huge fan of visual art. That is not to say that I don’t realize or appreciate its value, it is simply to say that it does not (usually) move me on an emotional level. This may be in part because I lack the analytical skills necessary to truly understand most of what is going on, but I believe the larger reason is that I am simply narrative-oriented. I like to have a beginning, an end, and only one way to get from point A to point B. Basically, I like my games to have a solid storyline without a lot of variation in what is allowable for the story to move forward. What can I say? I’m all about the plot.

Now, a lot of gamers, and a lot of people in general, would call this need for structure limiting, and perhaps it would be, for them. I, on the other hand, am all about doing what works for me. I don’t feel limited by potentially limiting games, because I get what I want from them. I get to take part in a story. It’s not just about me – much like reading is not about me – it’s rather about me being able to participate as the narrative unfolds. This is probably why I never made the jump to “serious” gaming (although I find the distinction somewhat laughable); I just never got into first-person shooters or MMORPGs. Note that there are always exceptions to the rule. For example, you may have read my post gushing about Civilization IV, a game that could not have less of a set storyline. As you can see, there is hope for me to break out of my storyline-based gaming bubble yet.

I only “game” using a very narrow definition of the word – I can only play PC games and Nintendo 3DS games, because those are the only two platforms I have. My PC isn’t great for gaming because it just doesn’t have the capability to run complex games, but oh, my 3DS. My boyfriend got it for me last Christmas, and I am just in love with it. It is my first handheld gaming system (remind me to tell you a tragic tale of my youth in which my sister and I both asked for a Nintendo DS for Christmas one year, she got it and then sold it to a girl from school a couple months later, and I was left to wallow in misery).

My baby.

My favorite games right now?

1) Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole

It's like 5th grade all over again...

2) LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7

3) LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean

4) Mario Kart 7

Noticing a trend? Not only are they all narrative based (with the exception of Mario Kart 7 – I mean really, who doesn’t like Mario Kart?), they are based on stories with which I am extremely familiar. I love the idea that a story you loved in your younger days is never really over. There’ll always be a LEGO adaptation, or fanfiction/art, or a spinoff (Legend of Korra, anyone?) to help you with those withdrawal symptoms and bring you back to a place you’d thought you lost, only this time it’s full of new and interesting ways to interact. For me, that’s what gaming is all about.


P. S. You guys should check out GameCentral Station if you haven’t yet. It’s right on Pleasant Street a bit past Bruegger’s. They have pretty cheap used and new games and DVDs as well. I just bought LEGO Indiana Jones and Zoo Tycoon today. Excitement!