Emerald City is a TV series that ran for one season before being cancelled. Its premise was a darker, grittier vision of the Wizard of Oz mythos – something like Gregory Maguire’s Wicked, but turned up even further. The original Wizard of Oz books and movies had much less heavy themes and a much less grim worldview, so why were these changes made? Are they merely trying to piggyback on the popularity of Game of Thrones, or is this more related to the shift in cultural expectations over the past twenty years? Or perhaps there is a deeper reason? The essay could speculate on what such changes add to the Oz mythos or tell us about it, and could also branch off into similar evolutions seen in other series, perhaps even in other genres like video games.
I wonder if they were inspired by using the thematic tones of 'Return to Oz' which was so much darker and surreal? – SaraiMW1 year ago
It seems that thought-provoking and emotionally-stirring stories are finally starting to matter in the vicissitudinous video game industry. Games such as The Last of Us and Bioshock Infinite have been lauded for taking new directions in their approach to narration and storytelling. Even more notable examples include Telltale’s Walking Dead, the Stanley Parable, Gone Home and (most famously) Journey, all of which have received critical acclaim from critics and players alike for their strong focus on story and narration. As technology advances and budgets are expanded to include professional storytellers from art, literature, television and cinema, it seems that some in the video game industry is willing to undertake more ambitious and creative projects in regards to how games can tell a heartfelt story. With all this mind, will the video game industry eventually be primarily focused on storytelling and narration?
This has been going on since the beginning of the Final Fantasy series, which have evolved into one of the largest and greatest video game series of all time. The story lines and cinematics in these games have become more complex and longer in duration than many films. It would be interesting to look at the adaption of Hollywood filmic techniques to the video game film, especially with regards to animation. – 50caliburlexicon5 years ago
I feel like whoever picks this up can definitely explore RPGs in general. I know for me, as a gamer, I definitely have a stronger preference for games that have a story. In fact, if you look at Film Theory and Game theory there are a couple of videos that explore video games as the future of film. – Jemarc Axinto5 years ago
As much as it pains me to say, Story mode in video games has slowly become more and more obsolete. While I and many other gamers appreciate and enjoy the classic story mode or single player campaign, we are in the minority. Modern gaming markets itself towards those in favor of more online experiences. Modern gamers prefer to purchase the yearly triple A titles containing little or minimal effort regarding their stories, or a a game with no story at all. Unless more triple A games focus on creating decent single player modes with an emphasis on story, stories in games will slowly dissipate. – Soarin135 years ago
While many gamers who have been playing said games with deep and compelling stories I don't believe that all video games will ever need to have a story to it. Remember that just as there many genres of music and television and films, the same goes for video games. Not every genre of games need a story within it nor a full background detailing the characters or players within the games themselves. You don't need to have stories for puzzle, racing, sports, etc genres of video games. Do some video game makers add stories into those categories? Yes, and there have been quite a handful of them that have become quite popular to the masses. Take for example Minecraft. For so many years it has just been a sandbox game of survival or free creativity. Yet now we have a Minecraft Storymode and it has hit off well with many people including some well known YouTubers who specialize in playing the original Minecraft game. Are games with stories behind them compelling? Yes. Are stories needed in every single game created or to be created? No, absolutely not. But I'm sure that there are some genres that can mix well with a well written story to them. – CorbynCostello5 years ago
The major mediums of entertainment are starting to overlap more and more. This is the nature of visual entertainment. And I don't think that's a bad thing at all. Hollywood films are looking to gain the immersion of gaming and video games are looking to gain the cinematic storytelling artistry of film. They are learning from each other and that's fantastic. Filmmaking has been around for over a hundred years so that industry has a large wealth of experience to draw from.
– jamstew5 years ago
It would be interesting to discuss how a badly executed story/ending can affect the game's reception (E.g. Mass Effect 3). Also, another interesting point to discuss is the player's interaction with the story and his or her influence on the plot (via an in game choice system). How has this interaction evolved? How big are those choices and how significantly can they affect the story and game play? Do they add real value, or are they just marketing gimmicks? Another point would be the addition of morality systems and controversial choices. It would also be interesting to discuss the above in light of the emerging virtual reality technologies such as the Oculus Rift. How would this technology affect the player's perception and level of emotional immersion to the story and characters? – kkshoury5 years ago
Soarin13 has a point. But I think the reason many triple A, blockbuster games are avoiding complex and engaging stories is because they're focusing on multifaceted online play. Whether that is a good trade-off, I don't know (I think it isn't), but it would be interesting to explore whether or not gripping and sophisticated stories can be fused with online multiplayer. Mass Effect tried and, in my opinion, did a great job of it in ME3. GoW4 tried and failed miserably. – Bo445 years ago
I agree that story telling and narration are one of the strongest aspects of any good video game. But let's not forget that a good story isn't the only thing that makes for a great game. They must also have great gameplay.For example, although I really enjoy Telltale's stories (although they are beginning to become devalued by their abundance), they have some of the worst gameplay mechanics I have ever experienced. Plus, their engines are broken.On the other hand, I think something like Spec Ops: The Line is a great game because the gameplay is just as tight as any other shooter and the story is absolutely phenomenal. – torourke4 years ago
The best ‘good stories’ have a meaning/symbolism to them, most people agree; however, some stories out there impress that too hard, some stories don’t ‘require’ you to search for any subtext, and some stories’ meanings/symbolism you only realize later. How far should one go to impress meaning/symbolism, how much should be impressed, and can/should a story be…just a story?
I really like this topic, and its a question I definitely have dealt with and wondered about before. Could you maybe add a few examples to it? Other than that I think its great. – Null4 years ago
Agree with the above comment. Interesting topic! Perhaps you can expand and use examples of writing already on this topic? Just to create a framework. – sophiacatherine4 years ago
I think something interesting to look at in terms of this topic might be the intention of the writer. Are the symbols/underlying meanings intended or subconscious? – MichelleAjodah4 years ago
How would you define symbolism? Merely as a literary device? A kind of sign (a la semiotics)? Or something more mystical? I have great interest in the prevalence of symbols and would actually recommend looking into the various ways symbols are understood theoretical, as metaphors, arbitrary signs or powerful avenues to the unconscious/spiritual mind. Check out Mircea Eliade's book The Sacred and the Profane for an analysis into how our ancestors looked at the matter. – cosmindzs4 years ago
The Lizzie Bennet Diaries spawned a wave of modern vlog adaptions – the creators made more, and others used the idea to adapt other stories: Nothing Much To Do, The Autobiography of Jane Eyre, Carmilla the Series. Why did this formatting style become ‘the next big thing’?