Over the last generation or two, there has been a notable shift in the way video games are written. It’s not just enough for a game to have strong mechanics and pretty graphics. Gamers now demand that their games deliver an engaging story – in particular, one that transports them to a well fleshed out world. The escapist nature of video games has been covered extensively by Volcano Bakemeat, and the easiest way to establish that element of wonder is by making sure your world has interesting, in-depth lore.
We have all experienced strong lore: a universe that you want to jump into and never leave. We all know what house we’d be sorted into at Hogwarts or which side of the Force we would favor. Many of the same elements that make for strong lore in other media also works for video games, yet many games get it wrong.
The way I see it there are five rules of thumb to making lore that pulls gamers in instead of putting them to sleep:
The topic of choice in video games is absolutely huge, so in this episode we (attempt) to limit our discussion to one aspect: Even having a choice in the first place. We debate the pros and cons of letting a player choose anything and then talk about the pretentious existential question if you can actually choose anything in the first place (…in video games).
In this two parter, Volcano Bakemeat Radio looks at playable female characters. We talk about why Portal is a little like Mean Girls, what it’s like when a game chooses your gender (and race) randomly, and which characters we’d like to see gender swapped.
In this two parter, Volcano Bakemeat Radio looks at playable female characters. We talk about why Fable 2 made Jessica cry, why a X-Com operative code-named Mama Bear might be Jeff’s favorite woman in video games, and why Paige still feels vaguely uncomfortable playing Skull Girls
This week, Volcano Bakemeat discuss the whys and hows of telling stories with video games. We talk about the core elements of storytelling in gaming, the advantages (and disadvantages) of telling a story with video games as the medium, how storytelling and game play can complement each other and more.
Please note that in this episode we briefly discuss suicide and children with terminal diseases.
Please also note that in this episode, we may spoil aspects of multiple games including: An early Easter Egg in Psychonauts, an early scene in Baulder’s Gate, a path in The Stanley Parable, a midpoint event in Dragon Age: Inquisition, the ends of the first Bioshock and Kingdom Hearts games, major events in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare I & II, a mission in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and some missions from Metal Gear Solid 5: Phantom Pain. If you notice any other spoilers, please let us know and we will update the list.