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Core Dump - Work In Progress

Episode 24

June 11, 1997: Storytelling

Well the tomorrow came a bit late. Due to some personal probs, I didn't do a lot these last days. Well, ok, I completed Solid Snake (English version..yeah!) again. That was fun.

I talked to Pat, who agreed that my "special weapon" idea was quite cool. He'd been playing many PC-engine games (thanks to an emulator on his PC) and was raving on about that. Oh dear.

I had another idea though. I've been reading a lot lately, you see, and this made me think about the way in which computer games tell a story. I'm not the first to think about this. But somehow the text windows as they are used in all adventure games ("eric: bla bla bla","earl: but I said bla bla") are too limiting. I want more. I want to tell a story. An interactive one.

"We're not Philips!" was Pat's reply. I know that. But that will not keep me from experimenting. This resulted in a new "storydemo" concept, which will, hopefully, add considerable depth to the game. It makes it possible for me (and I will use it) to convey the thoughts of the characters. That's right. The thoughts.

This might sound very daring, and it probably is. But I'm really planning on explaining the way the characters are during the story. Blimey, using this, I can do almost anything. In that sense, computer games have always oriented themselves to much on films, forgetting that they always incorporate written text. And using that text (that's there anyway) you can have the advantages you have when writing a book!

Example: in Solid Snake, poor Natasha explains about how she likes ice and stuff and skates and... whatever she does. This conversation sounds silly, because she explains it to Snake. In real life, she'd think this, not say it. So why don't they just do so?

I'll have a go at it myself:

Natasha never cared for much. The ice maybe. But certainly not for men. Bliss came to her through flying over the ice; barely touching it. How then, she wondered, could it be that she wanted to tell this man, whom she'd just met, about her ice. She hesitated.
"Snake", she said, "have you ever skated?"
Am I getting the message across? My silly little Solid Snake revisited is meant to show the difference in storytelling.
There is a major difference in having a storyteller or not. I prefer having one. It gives you more freedom; the story gets a life of its own.

Strangely enough, I haven't seen this in any of the japanese RPGs, and believe me, I played a lot of them on the SNES. Maybe this is a cultural influence: maybe they just don't like having a storyteller. If you, my reader here, are japanese, you are invited to mail me your thoughts about this! Storyteller is cultural difference or not? Do you like the idea? Anyone else (dis)likes the idea? Mail me!

Anyway, you can see we're still inventing new things all the time. It amazes me, really it does. Life is a strange thing when you think about it (or when you eat enough mushrooms).

Go on...

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