The Value of Story in Contextualizing Gameplay

The Value of Story in Contextualizing Gameplay

People who defend stories in video games often claim that stories are valuable because they contextualize gameplay, thereby giving the player valuable information related to play while ostensibly just giving them information about the game’s world or central plot. For example, an opening cutscene is, on its face, just telling the backstory of the game. However, it also imparts important information that makes learning the game smoother: who is the enemy, where the player is supposed to go, what the overall goal of the game is, and so on. It is supposed that if the player was just dropped into the world without this bit of story, then he might be confused and rudderless. This benefit of story is overstated, and I’ll explain why.

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