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How FPS Storylines Are Written

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the insert-bullets-rinse-repeat dept.

Games 165

Might E. Mouse writes "Cynics might say 'Who needs a storyline for an FPS game?' and if we're talking Quake or Doom then fair enough. But to brand the entire genre as lacking in story is to condemn gems like Half-Life 2 or Chronicles of Riddick. So what goes into writing a really compelling storyline for an FPS game? bit-tech has an article exploring this topic with the likes of Martin Lancaster, writer / designer for Crysis, Rob Yescombe, writer of Haze and more: 'There's nothing wrong with that of course, back in the day Quake was amazing in its own, essentially plotless, right. But it's interesting that only recently has a push for coherently told storylines appeared among FPS fans, bought on by another few years of maturity in what is an undeniably young medium. Paintings and music have both been around since time out of mind, but computer games have only been around for a couple of decades and only recently have they begun to be recognized for the artistic merit posed by their interactivity.'"

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Never been done (4, Interesting)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 6 years ago | (#19969557)

I've never played a FPS with a truly compelling story. Every FPS story feels totally contrived, like they were written by 12-year olds. It could be that there is a disconnect between what the writers have written and how that is implemented as the game itself, so maybe the stories are good and it's just bad execution. In any event, in my experience nobody has come very close to delivering a good compelling FPS story.

Re:Never been done (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 6 years ago | (#19969599)

I've played many a FPS with a good story... just not the ones bundled with the game engine on disc.

Re:Never been done (1)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 6 years ago | (#19969637)

It's not a medium that lends it's self well to stories. The best you can do is half life 2 but then you end up with story bits in set places which just leave you bored after the first place through. The other alternative involves way too much text and is totally avoidable if you want it to be.

Re:Never been done (1)

theStorminMormon (883615) | more than 6 years ago | (#19970889)

"It's not a medium that lends it's self well to stories."

I disagree. People are just doing it wrong. The lure of interactive story-telling has destroyed the potential to tell good stories with the FPS genre. Interactive story-telling, if it ever works, will require either AI or dedicated human game-masters (like D&D). And honestly, how often has D&D even been good story telling?

If the focus was more on good plot development, good dialog, and believable characters we'd be way ahead of where we are. FPS has had way to much emphasis on graphics. That's like having a play where all anyone cares about is the costumes and the sets. And so FPS has some AMAZING costumes and sets. We can get there with the dialog, plot, and characters. We just haven't yet.

Re:Never been done (3, Interesting)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 6 years ago | (#19972585)

Your comment about the human dungeon master something I have thought about.

Imagine a game world styled like EvE, just as large, and just as expansive. Now smash together EvE and planetside. Space ships in space, marines on the ground and fighters and bombers in air and space. Now of course the game should start off structured. You want to be a marine, you join your respective factions AI or possibly human/employee/game master controlled military. Your opening story denotes a time of peace, and thus your initial job as a player is to do thinks like eliminate a pirate base inside your factions space. Now you could be the only player within your group of 20 marines, or you could be leading a fire team of 9 other players or 4 players and 5 ai marines. So you get your "briefing" from an Ai mission dispenser who is a superior officer.

So you and your buddies or your men or you by yourself go towards the mission. Well you can't attack a pirate base with just your transport, so you get matched up with either some Ai fighter pilots or a mixture of players and Ai. The problem is, the pirate base is in an asteroid belt that is about 4Au away from your assigned station. Well you need a ship with jump drives to get there so you and your fighters get loaded onto a small corvette that might have an AI crew with some humans, or it could just be a single Ai Captain with an Ai crew.
Then you attack your target and hopefully win, if you lead enough successful operations, the men below, above, and beside you could also note you for leadership, thus allowing you to move up in the ranks.

Say you don't want to be part of the military, say you want to be a miner or an explorer, you would start out in your respective structure and work you way up. Slowly as players moved up in the structure, you would allow them to take over things to an extent. You wouldn't give complete control over a factions military to a single player, though you could allow them into the very upper echelons of power. There will be people who stay within their factions structure, and those that abandon it for their own structure of choice, they could even make their own.

Slowly let the players take control, then after say 2 month of play just long enough to let people get into it introduce some chaos using your game masters (Think of them as a race of loki like aliens, make them killable too, cause frankly the hunting them would be neat), have a major NPC leader get assassinated by what looks like the other faction, put another NPC in or let a player take those reins, then let the war begin.

Do what you think you need to do to keep the game going, assassinate, impersonate, and manipulate.

Let the players write the story. It's rather interesting what happens sometimes.

Now if only computers could do this now..

Re:Never been done (2, Funny)

2names (531755) | more than 6 years ago | (#19972717)

You have just described a game that I would like to play. Please let me know when you start the BETA, as I would like to be a tester.

Re:Never been done (2, Funny)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 6 years ago | (#19972893)

All I've got is the design document... and a dream... that one day..

Wait Im at work, I don't have time for the next part. With any luck I'll call you sometimes in the next 10 years.

Re:Never been done (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#19972253)

Personally, I think it's very possible to have a good story line. Just look at Metroid Prime. It has a pretty good story line. There's some people who say it's not an FPS, but it's from the first person perspective (for the most part), and I'm shooting things, so I'm not really sure what's missing from the equation. Maybe because they make you jump and solve puzzles and stuff, and don't spend your whole time just shooting bad guys, some people think it isn't an FPS. But as far as I can see, it is.

System Shock 2 (4, Insightful)

zolf13 (941799) | more than 6 years ago | (#19969667)

... could be a nice start.

Re:Never been done (4, Informative)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 6 years ago | (#19969669)

Holy cow, you have missed out big time. Get Deus Ex immediately. Later move on to Half-Life 1 and 2. And there are probably other ones that I don't remember.

Re:Never been done (3, Interesting)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 6 years ago | (#19969835)

Get Deus Ex immediately. Later move on to Half-Life 1 and 2.
Deus Ex is a definite yes. HL has good cinematic elements to it in the form of scripted events, but I don't know that you can necessarily say it has a great story. I can't comment on HL2, as I haven't played it. Halo is so-so, but the crowning gem of FPS stories has to be Marathon [] .

Re:Never been done (1)

theStorminMormon (883615) | more than 6 years ago | (#19970987)

Deus Ex is a definite yes.

Haven't played it.

HL has good cinematic elements to it in the form of scripted events, but I don't know that you can necessarily say it has a great story. I can't comment on HL2

That's being kind. Half life was not a good story. Period. Neither one nor two. It had a good plot - in terms of events - but very, very little in terms of character growth or personal interaction. There was no drama. The potential to tell a story was there, but we need more focus on the *people* in the narrative. All good stories, in the end, are about people.

Halo is so-so, but the crowning gem of FPS stories has to be Marathon.

I haven't played Marathon, but I have played Halo and consider it the best FPS yet from that angle. The most important element was Master Chief's relationship to Cortana. It wasn't Shakespeare, but there actually *was* a relationship. Not one that was told, but one that was shown throughout. It went beyond mere banter especially in the closing moments of Halo 2.

FPS needs to learn from big brothers novel, movie, and film. I think the novel is the best example, however, because novels can be written from first-person perspective as well (e.g. the popular Dresden Files by Jim Butcher) A first-person novel is the best prototype for developing story in a FPS, although I think character studies (e.g. Serenity) could be great models as well.

Re:Never been done (4, Insightful)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 6 years ago | (#19971197)

Ok, before you say ANYTHING about story in FPS games, you need to play Marathon, System Shock 2, Chronicles of Riddick, Thief, or anything more substantial than Half-Life and Halo. (To pre-empt the obvious question: the Chronicles of Riddick videogame is about 10 times better than the movie, which sucked.)

You're basically sitting here telling us that all movies are terrible, but all you've ever seen is Weekend At Bernie's. Watch some Kubrick films, then come back and tell me all movies are terrible, and I might lend your opinion a little weight.

Re:Never been done (1)

Descalzo (898339) | more than 6 years ago | (#19972719)

How did I not know there was a Chronicles of Riddick game? For some reason (I still don't know why) I loved that movie.

Re:Never been done (1)

theStorminMormon (883615) | more than 6 years ago | (#19973029)

"Ok, before you say ANYTHING about story in FPS games,..."

Hey, I was just commenting based on my observations. I didn't think I was trying to tell everyone "this is how all FPS games, ever, are".

I'll try out some of those games. I've seen Thief. It looked OK. Marathon I've read through, but it's a pain to try and actually get the game to run on anything. I don't know about System Shock 2 or Chronicles of Riddick.

Re:Never been done (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 6 years ago | (#19973223)

Fair enough. I wasn't really trying to single you out, but it seems that there's a lot of people who talk crap about games when they have very little experience with them.

Marathon runs good on Macs using the Aleph One open source engine, and I think the Map, Sound, Physics, etc files were made free some time ago. (At least, I downloaded them for free from a Bungie site, but I don't know if they are still up, or if it was a limited-time thing.) I haven't tried it on Windows.

Re:Never been done (1)

C0rinthian (770164) | more than 6 years ago | (#19971625)

If you can't/don't want to play Marathon, you can read the transcripts from the game at []

There is a LOT of commentary there too.

Re:Never been done (1)

theStorminMormon (883615) | more than 6 years ago | (#19972977)

I have read through pretty much the entire story line. It looks very deep, but there's just no way to really judge how it was presented without playing the game. The potential is certainly there, I just don't know about execution.

It's like reading the outline to a novel. If the outline sucks, the novel probably does too. But if the outline's great (as with Maraton) the novel might still suck.

Marathon Story Archives (1)

BadMrMojo (767184) | more than 6 years ago | (#19971729)

And just in case you want to see some of the storyline he's talking about. . . []

The story was told through a series of terminals - sometimes in seemingly random snippets of logs, sometimes in direct communications from the various AIs on the ship. It's your basic "Boy meets AIs, Aliens invade AIs' ship, AI becomes self-aware, AI uses boy to overthrow both the shackles of the alien invaders and the other AIs running various systems of the ship" story. It's actually pretty engaging,. I found myself looking forward to the next terminal even more than the action itself at some points.

All three and major mods are available (Free with a capital F) for mac, linux and PC at [] and Marathon 2: Durandal - arguably the best of the bunch - is coming to XBLA, courtesy of Freeverse [] .

Re:Never been done (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#19969841)

How about Metroid Prime? Not a "story" per se, but the space pirate logs available through the scan visor are plenty interesting

Re:Never been done (1)

j235 (734628) | more than 6 years ago | (#19971313)

My favorite:
"Aran's Power Suit technology remains a mystery, especially the curious Morph Ball function. All attempts at duplicating it have ended in disaster: four test subjects were horribly broken and twisted when they engaged our Morph Ball prototypes. Science Team wisely decided to move on afterward."

Re:Never been done (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#19971601)

Yeah, sometimes they can get pretty lame though, like the likes of "we lost x powerup in the y cage. need to requisition z weapon/strategy to defeat y and regain z" .. 'inadvertantly' giving samus the info she needs to kill y.

Re:Never been done (1)

MenTaLguY (5483) | more than 6 years ago | (#19972857)

Yeah, those were pretty cool, and some were really entertaining. They definitely are trying to do storytelling through the logs and lore scans in both MP1 and MP2, as well as dropping lots of storytelling clues in the design of the environments you explore.

Sadly (particularly in the Chozo and Luminoth lore) the logbook scans suffer from the same problem as many video games: when it comes to writing in-game text, the writers sound like pretentious English majors (Tycho of Penny Arcade is the most extreme example of this, though I think he's being deliberate about it). Even the dialogue in Shadow of the Colossus, a game with great overall storytelling, suffers a lot that way.

Re:Never been done (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19970039)

Hmmm. Deus ex was a totally cliche distopian future done to death before, with a main character about as charismatic as a rock. Half life 1? Did that even have a story? I must have missed that, because to me it was pretty much "shit is happening, kill the alien leader", while meeting maybe a few people along the way. Half Life 2, while immersive, suffers from a very simple survival plot with minimal complexity given to any of the characters.

These are FAR cries from the great stories of Cinema and Literature. In fact, none of these games would even exist if the movies they borrow from never existed.

Re:Never been done (3, Interesting)

immcintosh (1089551) | more than 6 years ago | (#19970369)

I'm not sure I would describe any of those storylines as "truly compelling" in the sens in which the GP poster is speaking. Deux Ex, I would say, stepped above the level of contrived garbage written for a 12-year old to more of a trashy sci-fi fan-fic level of quality. Half-life 1 and 2 had great atmosphere, but their stories were really nothing special. Half-life 1 especially was just your run of the mill save-the-world-from-aliens bit. Half-life 2, while it had its good points along the way, I found was totally ruined by an absolutely absurd deus ex machina resolution; it really ruined the whole thing for me.

Re:Never been done (2, Insightful)

morari (1080535) | more than 6 years ago | (#19970935)

Deus Ex is an RPG, thus the compelling story. Just because it has some shooting and is in a first person perspective doesn't make it any more a FPS than Morrowind is. And the Half-Life series barely has a story, it keeps everything vague and shrouded in mystery (which did NOT help the sequel).

Defending Half Life (4, Interesting)

BeansBaxter (918704) | more than 6 years ago | (#19972437)

I am not sure why Half Life is getting the rap so badly. While the story might not be the strongest in the world as it leaves plenty for you to fill in. Like why the man in black is walking around and why he is at the end of the game. If you take your time going through the game there were some truly classic moments. One of my favorites was crawling through and air duct and listening to some of the soldiers complain about Freeman and why they wanted him dead. The game worked really well for me and made me feel like it was all about me and my actions had consequences. Obviously they were scripted but the game really pulled me in and made me care about trying to live to the next fight. The scripted sequences and the way that characters interacted with Freeman was exception in my opinion. Anyway just thought I'd lend some support to my favorite game of all time.

Re:Never been done (2, Interesting)

nomadic (141991) | more than 6 years ago | (#19971169)

Get Deus Ex immediately. Later move on to Half-Life 1 and 2. And there are probably other ones that I don't remember.

Thief 1 and 2, and even 3 is decent, though not as good as the others. Extremely well-written fantasy, far better than most of the stuff that makes it to the fantasy section in the bookstores.

Re:Never been done (3, Funny)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 6 years ago | (#19971561)

Also try Minesweeper and Tetris.

Re:Never been done (1)

bigbigbison (104532) | more than 6 years ago | (#19971899)

I don't remember much of anything about the story of Deus Ex.

I've played the original Half-Life all the way through at least 2 times but it wasn't because of the story. I replayed it not because it is a great story but because it is fun to play. What exactly is the story in Half-Life? Aliens are invading. The government is trying to kill everyone to cover it up.

System Shock 2? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19969741)

System Shock 2 doesn't fit neatly into the FPS genre (it's more of an FPS/RPG hybrid, though even that isn't quite accurate), but I think its story was very well done.

Re:Never been done (4, Informative)

Dysfnctnl85 (690109) | more than 6 years ago | (#19969799)

Have you played Max Payne or Max Payne 2? Incredibly compelling storylines -- nothing has even come close since.

Re:Never been done (1)

j235 (734628) | more than 6 years ago | (#19971393)

Except they're not FPS games.

Re:Never been done (1)

Popadopolis (724438) | more than 6 years ago | (#19970175)

Have you perhaps played Deus Ex, Half Life (1 & 2), Riddick, Far Cry, or even SiN?

Re:Never been done (1)

CommunistHamster (949406) | more than 6 years ago | (#19970805)

Far Cry had an absurd (to the point of almost being self mocking) action film plot, which was certainly not deep or compelling. The mercs shouted such intellectual gems as "I'm gonna shoot you in the FACE!".

As a game though, it was terrific fun. Even if the late-level enemies were stupidly tough.

Re:Never been done (1)

Andre_PC (893877) | more than 6 years ago | (#19970367)

I would recommend Clive Barker's Undying [] . It's a great horror game that has a nice compelling story.

Re:Never been done (1)

cromar (1103585) | more than 6 years ago | (#19970389)

I really enjoyed the story in the Marathon series. The game is spooky to begin with and the story drew me in even more.

Re:Never been done (1)

Altus (1034) | more than 6 years ago | (#19970585)

Marathon [] was pretty good at this. I mean, no great work of literature sure, but if you read all the terminals it was pretty easy to follow the story and if you dug deeper you could get more out of it.

Admittedly nothing in the story explained why key switches in the ship were located on the far side of pools of lava (or some other deadly fluid) but whatever. My friends and I always used to joke that you wouldn't want to be the guy who had to retrieve faxes on the Marathon. "But boss, the last guy you sent to get that fax fell into a pool or reactor runoff, couldn't we put a fax machine closer to the office?

Re:Never been done (2, Insightful)

east coast (590680) | more than 6 years ago | (#19970715)

It would be nice for you to lend a bit of insight into what you have an have not played. To be honest, if you break down even the most epic of tales eventually everything sounds like it was written by 12 year olds. This actually works to the advantage games with storylines in general...

You ever played Alice or Undying? Fantastic games with great visuals in their day. The great thing about the story lines was that you could make it make as much of a difference in the game as you wanted. Didn't give a damn about poor Alice being in an institution and suicidal? Ok, just chop something up with this knife. Don't give a damn about the Covenant family and the Undying back story? The game still gladly leads you by the nose as long as you don't get sloppy and get yourself killed.

Of how about Thief? Potentially the most immersive atmosphere and story line to ever be pumped into on series. But does the story line make a big difference in achieving your goals on a mission by mission basis? Not really. Not unless you want to be Garrett.

You see, that's another thing about it all. If you don't want to be in the game it's not going to have an effect on you. Just like a book, if you read a book but put no life into the story itself you're just going to see strings of words. Maybe you don't have the type of imagination that it takes to put yourself in the shoes of the shooter. If you simply don't care enough that's fine too but don't act like someone didn't put effort into the end product other then yourself.

If you're going to walk around with your nose in the air to FPS story lines don't act like the game didn't do what it was suppose to do. There is no truely passive entertainment. Every medium for story telling requires at least a smidgen of effort from the spectator in order for it to work for everyone.

Re:Never been done (1)

theStorminMormon (883615) | more than 6 years ago | (#19971099)

"The great thing about the story lines was that you could make it make as much of a difference in the game as you wanted. Didn't give a damn about poor Alice being in an institution and suicidal? Ok, just chop something up with this knife. Don't give a damn about the Covenant family and the Undying back story? The game still gladly leads you by the nose as long as you don't get sloppy and get yourself killed."

That's another way of saying "they had no storyline". Do novels require input to have good storylines? No. We identify with characters who are sympathetic even though we can't influence them in any way. I think the whole "make your own story" is the reason that most FPS have the literary content of a "choose your own adventure" book.

Does anyone stop to realize why CYOA books never rose above 5th grade reading level? It's the same reason that "interactive" story lines won't either. The simplest explanation is this: Americans believe in character-driven stories (as oppose to plot-driven stories like the Illiad or the Odyssey). As a result you have to have good characterization and explain how the plot is advanced by the characters being who they are.

To take the main character and just say "oh, that's the actual human playing the game" is to eviscerate the entire plot. The plot has to be advanced by that person, but if we let them choose "meh, save the girl" or "rape the girl" or "ignore the girl", etc. then we basically end up writing 3 stories. Per every major decision. It's combinatorial explosion.

Instead the objective should be to show a protagonist who is sympathetic so that the player wants to participate in the action of the game. Sound impossible? It's what every novelist has to do to write an enjoyable novel.

Re:Never been done (1)

hal9000(jr) (316943) | more than 6 years ago | (#19971477)

That's another way of saying "they had no storyline".

You missed the point of the parent post which is players could complete the games without paying attention to the story-line, which is totally different than saying "There is no story-line."

I have played Deus-Ex, I am working my way through Invisible Wars, I have also played HL and HL-2, episode One, Mech Warrior, and others. The only games in that list that I think have a reasonable story line that is required to understand to have fun in the game is Deus-Ex. I pretty much plowed my way through the others and had a blast. The notion that HL has a story line is laughable to me. But then again, I may not get it and others might.

I used to play flight sims and Falcon 4 is my favorite. That is a somewhat dynamic story line that you participate in by selecting missions. succedding or Failing in a mission alters the game play and the effects are told through news annoucements and debreifings. Is it required to read the story line to enjoy Falcon 4? Probbaly not, flying is just as much fun. but in a campaign that can last weeks, the story does drive things forward.

I think FPS's could be more engaging with a good story line, but it needs to be told through multiple media types.

Re:Never been done (2, Insightful)

east coast (590680) | more than 6 years ago | (#19971657)

That's another way of saying "they had no storyline". Do novels require input to have good storylines? No.

What bullshit. The input a novel requires is for the reader to put emotion into a bunch of words. Without that fiction is a meaningless waste of time. Or are you suggesting that any story telling can be successful regardless of the observer? If you think that you're even more full of shit then what I originally thought.

We identify with characters who are sympathetic even though we can't influence them in any way.

Yeah, the big difference is influence. That doesn't mean that there can't be a story line.

I think the whole "make your own story" is the reason that most FPS have the literary content of a "choose your own adventure" book.

Only if you want to look at it in that way. You, like the OP fit into my idea that you simply don't want more so you don't get more. No different then the types of people who choose the Cliff's Notes versions of books. Oh well, no loss to me.

Does anyone stop to realize why CYOA books never rose above 5th grade reading level? It's the same reason that "interactive" story lines won't either. The simplest explanation is this: Americans believe in character-driven stories (as oppose to plot-driven stories like the Illiad or the Odyssey).

Oh, so now this is an American problem. I just love the bashers.

It's also fantastic the the two toothpicks that you've used as legs for your argument are both over 2600 years old and most people today can't relate to the culture and history of the times. Do you ever stop to think that may be why they're kind of brushed off today and that it has nothing to do with the idea that it's "Americans" being the problem? While the Iliad and the Odyssey may be great they're also a large investment of time to read properly. Just like the video games being mentioned they take a bit of effort to enjoy fully. Given their age and the language barriers they're more pursuits instead of simple entertainment. That's not to say that there is anything wrong with that but you're talking about a different level of literature where it goes from leisure to a serious pastime. These video games, on the other hand, do not require as much of an investment and are often more interesting as they deal with subject matter that is easier for the play to recognize.

To take the main character and just say "oh, that's the actual human playing the game" is to eviscerate the entire plot. The plot has to be advanced by that person, but if we let them choose "meh, save the girl" or "rape the girl" or "ignore the girl", etc. then we basically end up writing 3 stories. Per every major decision. It's combinatorial explosion.

If making decisions are that big of a deal to you perhaps you shouldn't be playing video games at all.

If you think that making yourself a participant in the action in some form "eviscerates the entire plot" perhaps you should be mingling with people in public either. It's really sad that you probably take it so hard that people putting themselves into a dialog somehow ruins it for you.

Instead the objective should be to show a protagonist who is sympathetic so that the player wants to participate in the action of the game. Sound impossible? It's what every novelist has to do to write an enjoyable novel.

Actually, it doesn't sound impossible. It doesn't even sound hard to be honest.

I let people participate on whatever level they choose. They don't have to follow my vision to every detail to make it rewarding for me. I don't think people ruin anything by seeing things they want to see it.

If anything it sucks that you can't let these things unfold for people on their own terms. Again, no loss to me.

Re:Never been done (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 6 years ago | (#19970895)

All this means is that you've never played:

Pathways Into Darkness
Marathon series
System Shock 2
Thief series
Halo/Halo 2 (especially Halo 2)

Now, you're right that most FPS games have crummy stories. Gears of War and Half-Life 2 disappointed me, since they tell you basically nothing about how the world you're in came to be. The story of Lost Planet was predictable and loaded with cliches. But there are good ones out there, and you're doing the genre a disservice by dismissing it out of hand. There are a lot of really terrible monster movies out there, too, but for every "The Relic" there's a "Alien."

Re:Never been done (1)

Trojan35 (910785) | more than 6 years ago | (#19971281)

I have to say the Marathon universe had the best storyline of any games I've played. Marathon: Durandal will be on XBL soon, although I highly recommend the entire library if you're going for story.

Re:Never been done (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19973081)

You can download the entire game including official modding tools (tools are Classic Mac OS only) from Bungie's site now. You can play it on Mac, Windows or even Linux using Aleph One. You can also download high res textures and updates that make the weapons look really awesome when they fire, particularly the fusion pistol. I recently replayed all three on my big screen TV using my Linux PVR box and I've even been considering making my own levels on an old Mac I have in the basement just for fun.

Gonna get the girl, gonna kill the baddies... (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 6 years ago | (#19971335)

... and save the en-tire planet.

System Shock 2 and the Thief series (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19969579)

Both have excellent, immersive stories. Thief: Deadly Shadows has a super story but the game itself was a bit weak.

Re:System Shock 2 and the Thief series (2, Informative)

Applekid (993327) | more than 6 years ago | (#19969989)

I wouldn't exactly call Thief an FPS... play it like one and you wind up dead pretty quick.

Re:System Shock 2 and the Thief series (2, Interesting)

The Ultimate Fartkno (756456) | more than 6 years ago | (#19970299)

I would - First Person Sneaker. We need more of those, dangit. The Thief trilogy is one of my absolute favorites and needs to come back! That, and No One Lives Forever. Totally overlooked, IMO.

Sneaker Shock 2 and the Thief series (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19971861)

The Tom Clancy Splinter Cells series. Now as far as story the Wing Commander series. The Homeworld series. Hell some adventure games revolve around a story. e.g. Dreamfall, Phantasmagoria, etc.

Re:System Shock 2 and the Thief series (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 6 years ago | (#19972473)

I just finished Thief 3 (Deadly Shadows). It was built on the Unreal engine, unlike the first two games which used a proprietary engine, I believe. I was glad to see that the gameplay was tweaked to match the original.

About the only thing I missed was that items such as keys and letters no longer go in your inventory, although I suppose that helps keep it less cluttered. There are also less keys to find to open doors--unless I kept missing them; they are hard to spot after they fall off of a ragdoll. Keys you do find, as I said, don't go in your inventory and are used automagically, which I don't really like. It's like the door was always unlocked.

The other thing I didn't really care for was that every level is split into two or three parts, and the overworld is split into many parts. I like the overworld idea as a whole, especially that you get to pawn your own goods and buy and sell at different shops, but the frequent splits lead to frequent loading... and saved games don't load too fast either. It would be nice if the engine didn't reload the level I was just in. These problems are most evident when, in a certain portion of the game, you are running to specific overworld levels, so you spend more time on the loading screen than you do running from level entrance to level exit.

I also couldn't find the cornerstones you're supposed to shoot with your bow to appease the Pagans, but I didn't need those anyways, I just found their water element shrine thing and fired 20 water arrows through it to make them happy.

Still I suppose I'm nitpicking, it was a great game for the $20 I paid for it on Steam. Steam makes sporadic game purchases more fun! :)

Re:System Shock 2 and the Thief series (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 6 years ago | (#19972175)

No, not just System Shock 2 or Thief: Deadly Shadows (still barfing at that name).

Try the original System Shock. I'm a big fan of the sequel but still think it pales in comparison to the original.

I never liked Quake ... (2, Interesting)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 6 years ago | (#19969593)

... solely for that reason.

I love FPS games, but Quake and Quake II just seemed too pointless and lacking in any kind of reward.

Quake III Arena was much different because it was multi player and the point was more to compete and develop your "skills" (pardon the term, I just can't think of anything more appropriate) against other human players.

But Quake and Quake II had absolutely no rewards. The protagonist was not someone that you could relate to. The monsters seemed rather random. There was no hot chick waiting for you to save her at the end of the game. The game play didn't progress in any interesting fashion. Nothing really happened. It was just point, shoot, kill for absolutely no reason.

The graphics were better than Doom but I found Doom to be more fun. The levels were shorter, and I guess it was just new. With Quake/QuakeII it was like Doom but with better graphics and different weapons and aliens. Been there. Done that.

So yeah ... I think story lines are essential to a fun FPS even when (correction: especially when) the main activity is just pointing and shooting.

Re:I never liked Quake ... (2, Interesting)

Soul-Burn666 (574119) | more than 6 years ago | (#19970315)

Who needs storyline when you have co-op?

Doom, Quake and later SeriousSam were all games with pretty much no important story but fun fun fun in multiplayer co-op.

I don't know if I'm alone in this thought, but for me it was much funner to play jDoom [] in coop than Doom3 single. Simple graphics, simple levels and a whole lot of fun.

Re:I never liked Quake ... (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 6 years ago | (#19970969)

Quake would have been a lot better had they played up the Lovecraftian elements more. It's my understanding though that Quake is a mere shell of what it was planned to be. Everyone wanted to play it safe and just throw more Doom style gameplay at the audience instead of trying something different. Sadly, Id Software seems to have to kept this policy ever since.

Re:I never liked Quake ... (1)

Floritard (1058660) | more than 6 years ago | (#19971577)

I've just recently been reading H.P. Lovecraft for the first time. I had always heard the term "Lovecraftian" describing things I really liked and after finally checking it out I'm really getting into the whole mythology he created. I agree it would have been awesome if Quake would have had more of that in the game, as it is there is really just an atmosphere of Lovecraft. That said, I think id has never really duplicated that atmosphere in a game before or since. There was a real feeling of being in a damned place. I loved how it felt outside of time as well, mixing ancient past and distant future. You can say Quake had no plot but I had more fun in that world than I've had with most storied games. It's weird because I think Doom leaned more towards Quake 1, while Doom 3 leaned more towards Quake 2 in terms of feeling. I wish in future games id would embrace Lovecraftian fantasy and Satanic pageantry more than boring science fiction, but it was probably long-departed Romero who was responsible for it in the first place.

Re:I never liked Quake ... (1)

Dr.Boje (1064726) | more than 6 years ago | (#19971009)

Oh, you don't understand Quake II? I guess you never read the manual or sat through the opening cutscene then. Quake II didn't need a protagonist you could relate to or some girl to save; this isn't Mario. Basically the scene is set up just enough for you to know what's going on and what your mission is, and then the focus is on the gameplay. Earth is at war with the Strogg and they've launched a counter-attack on their home planet, but instead they get ambushed and you happen to be lucky enough to make it there alive. ( [] ). Sounds about as simple as the Doom storyline.

And another thing -- for you to praise Q3A for succeeding in its "purpose" of being multiplayer is just totally irrational when you consider the fact that Quake II had a massive online player base and the multiplayer game modes are practically all the same, not to mention the myriad of mods that were developed for it.

Only recently? (2, Informative)

sa1lnr (669048) | more than 6 years ago | (#19969651)

Clive Barkers Undying springs to mind. And it was scary to boot.

Much underrated game to my mind. One of the few games that I have actually played all the way through.

Shadowman was another.

Undying Hell yea. (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#19970053)

That was the first thing to pop into my mind as well. Excellent script, excellent atmosphere, effective sound.

The real weakness of the FPS has been the fact that, until relatively recently, you've been constrained on the GUI. I mean, think of the possible actions in your average RPG or other seriously story driven game, and then think of the FPS "actions" which are as follows: run, shoot, jump, action.

Some games make it work; Undying was great, not because of any imaginative action system, but because the scripting was so good. Same with Deus Ex, though Deus Ex added more in the form of implants, which gave the illusion of having more choices in actions.

Now we're starting to get more serious FPS/Storytelling crossovers with games like Oblivion. I think as the tech matures, and people are really able to have it both ways (e.g. fast paced gameplay with a rich action set), that we'll start seeing storytelling catch up in more of the FPS-style games.

The good old days... (4, Insightful)

Dan East (318230) | more than 6 years ago | (#19969665)

Map designer: "Hey, check out this really cool Gothic arch I made in worldcraft!"
Lead designer: "Nice, that really looks like a gateway to hell. I like the guys chained to the stone walls suspended above a pit of lava too. It looks like their souls have been sucked right out of them."
Resulting game story: "You must pass the gateway to hell, and descend into the depths to save the damned before their souls are harvested."

Dan East

As John Carmack (supposedly said) (5, Insightful)

xtracto (837672) | more than 6 years ago | (#19969747)

"Story in a game is like a story in a porn movie. It's expected to be there, but it's not that important."

from wikiquotes...

Re:As John Carmack (supposedly said) (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 6 years ago | (#19970139)

that's why all games by id soft are so boring to play in the single player mode.
carmack should play deus ex a couple of times, maybe then he'll understand.

Re:As John Carmack (supposedly said) (1)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 6 years ago | (#19970655)


-You dare to attack me here? Do you even know who you face?

-So godchild, you have escaped.
-You're not going to torture us any longer.
-Torture? Silly girl, you just don't understand what I'm doing, do you?
-I don't care what you're doing, let us go.
-I won't let you leave, not when I'm so close to unlocking your power.
-We don't want anything from you!

-ENOUGH. I don't have the time to listen to the babbling of ignorant children.
-This is an unsanctioned use of magical energy, all involved will be held, this disturbance is over.

-This mage's power is imense, we must overcome him quickly.
-Your pathetic magic is uselss, let this end.
-Even if we fall our numbers are many, you will be overwhealmed.
-You bore me mageling. You may take me in but you will take the girl as well..
-No, I've done nothing wrong.
-You've been involved in illegal use of magic, you will come with us.

No no, I haven't played that too much, honest :p

Re:As John Carmack (supposedly said) (1)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 6 years ago | (#19972673)

He said that...and his company's games exemplify that. But while there is something to it, FPSes with compelling stories outsell FPSes without compelling stories. Halflife 2 outsold Doom 3.

Single player games without some story get tedious. (Multiplayer games are, of course, entirely story needed.)

Based on my experience... (1)

Sciros (986030) | more than 6 years ago | (#19969721)

I'd say FPS stories are written in the following manner:
1) various generic plot devices are written on a couple of hundred Post-It notes
2) post it-notes are stapled to a bulletin board in a random arrangement
3) fifteen darts are thrown at the bulletin board
4) ???
5) emergency all-nighter to write some crap based on 15 of those Post-Its

Honestly, even the "okay" stories in most games are, at best, not complete rubbish. It's just that, as with comic book stories, our standards are rock-bottom low.

I'll save you some time... (4, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 6 years ago | (#19969725)

I'll save everyone some time from reading the article:

New games need story. Stories need writers. Writers need to think about the audience.

Some games already have stories.

There's a lot of plugs for the Haze game, for some reason.

And that's it... There's nothing else. They act all philosphical about how FPS's need story/etc, but it's absolutely no different than how other games need story, except in scale. RPGs need more, puzzle games need less.

Manatees (3, Funny)

cerelib (903469) | more than 6 years ago | (#19969731)

Oh look, he's got a "kidnapped sidekick" story ball.

Don't forget the Marathon series... (5, Interesting)

Wulfstan (180404) | more than 6 years ago | (#19969753)

The Marathon series was a mac-only creation written by Bungie (before they were bought by Microsoft - they went on to do Halo I think) and it was an example of a FPS with a seriously deep storyline. It was so complex and deep that I couldn't even follow it! But they put in loads of effort to make it consistent, a great game and practically an FPS novel. An oldie but a goodie.

Re:Don't forget the Marathon series... (1)

phase_9 (909592) | more than 6 years ago | (#19969823)

"leet at this s--t since Marathon, 10 f--kin years of killin' you where you spawn"..? []

Re:Don't forget the Marathon series... (1)

X_Bones (93097) | more than 6 years ago | (#19972519)

Marathon 2 was released for Win95, but M1 and Moo were Mac-only.

Of course, with Aleph One [] and tons of free content [] available for Mac, Windows, and Linux, everyone can play it now.

Re:Don't forget the Marathon series... (1)

Creepy (93888) | more than 6 years ago | (#19972911)

*originally* mac only - it was ported to x86 later.

It wasn't even Bungie's first FPS, per-se - that would be Pathways Into Darkness [] (wiki here [] . Some argue that this was technically a first person RPG with shooter and horror elements (like Ultima Underworld, TES Arena, etc), which I wouldn't disagree with, but I found it more intense and difficult than most shooters of that era (Wolf 3D, Doom) and even the next generation (like Rise of the Triad, Marathon, and Duke Nukem 3D).

on a completely unrelated note, Marathon and Rise of the Triad both had voice chat support, a feature that pretty much disappeared for about 10 years before reappearing in shooters. Who had it first is speculative (my understanding is Rise of the Triad shareware beat Bungie's release by 2 months, even though the full game of RotT wasn't released until ~5 months later). I used this feature in both games a lot in late night college lab frag-fests until the group moved pretty much exclusively to DN3D (which gave me worse motion sickness than the rest and limited my play time).

Half life (5, Interesting)

LordBafford (1087463) | more than 6 years ago | (#19969759)

I think the original halflife had a good story behind it, and as they added mods for it the story was played through different angles, with specific points relating to the original story. Like in Opposing Forces, you played HL through the eyes of the marines involved, then in blue shift you go to go through the story as a black mesa gaurd. I even played a user made mod that had you play as a an alien and see their side of the story. With a basic plot line of Scientists cause a problem and open portal to another dimension, they did quite a lot with it to let you see it from many angles.

Another mod for HL1 was They Hunger, which had a pretty decent storyline, it had 3 installments and was a zombie based game. In all it had a good story to it.

So to sum up FPS games can have good story lines, but depending on what the game is a bout and when it is set matters and might limit what story can be conveyed.

Penn Jillette on stories (3, Insightful)

dazedNconfuzed (154242) | more than 6 years ago | (#19969995)

"Technology adds nothing to art. Two thousand years ago, I could tell you a story, and at any point during the story I could stop, and ask, Now do you want the hero to be kidnapped, or not? But that would, of course, have ruined the story. Part of the experience of being entertained is sitting back and plugging into someone else's vision. The fact of the matter is, since the beginning of time, you could buy a Picasso and change the colors. That's trivial. But you don't because you're buying a piece of Picasso's $&#**^% soul. That's the definition of art: Art is one person's ego trip."
- Penn Jillette

Re:Penn Jillette on stories (4, Funny)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#19970469)

By that definition, Daikatana was definitely art.

Re:Penn Jillette on stories (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19973191)

Watch what you say. I hear John Romero has a habit of making people his bitches.

Re:Penn Jillette on stories (1)

seebs (15766) | more than 6 years ago | (#19970485)

He's wrong, though.

Interactive art is different from non-interactive.

Not better. Not worse. Different.

When I play a game like Monkey Island, I am not wrecking some guy's story, and I am not missing out on the insane fun it would be to just hear it told.

Montfort's Twisty Little Passages, I think, while not totally satisfying, makes a basic case that games are more like riddles than like conventional stories.

That wouldn't explain mods, though (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#19971441)

While that is to some extent true, and insightful too, I'd say mods at least prove that it's more complex than that. E.g.,

1. There are people who actually enjoy being creative in their own right, and taking the story in their own direction

2. There are people who have strong feelings about what kind of characters they want or don't want to play. Since a game essentially requires you to be the lead actor in that story. And it has happened to me before (and to countless others) that a character was a major turn-off because that's not the kind of person or role I want to play.

And even before computers, that kind of thing has happened before too.

E.g., Aleksey Nikolayevich Tolstoy's "The Gold Key, or Adventures of Buratino" is, by and large, the novel version of a "mod" of "Pinocchio".

E.g., the famous sixtine chapel ceiling was later "modded" by, basically, painting breeches on the originally nude characters. I'd say that's _exactly_ like buying a Picasso and then changing the colours. Except in this case it's a whole chapel painted by Michelangelo.

E.g., in theatre or opera or movies, the director (and sometimes actors) have a lot of room to subtly alter the story, and emphasize or de-emphasize various aspects regardless of what the author had in mind. Especially adaptations from novel to movie, or to opera or theatre long before such technology, things are often changed massively.

E.g., as an example of #2, in movies actors often play a major role in modifying the script. Harrison Ford, for example, is known to have had quire a bit of input in what Han Solo ended up like, or he's the reason for that famous Indiana Jones scene where Indy just draws a revolver and shoots the guy with the big sword. (The original script called for a lot of using the whip and stuff.) Plus actors routinely refuse roles they don't want to be associated with.

So, yes, in a sense he's right: technology doesn't add anything new. On the other hand he's wrong: people routinely made changes to someone else's vision, long before computers or movies.

Butcher Bay and other underrated games (3, Interesting)

grapeape (137008) | more than 6 years ago | (#19970041)

DeusEX, Thief and Chronicles of Riddick Butcher Bay are all grossly underrated as far as storyline goes. Compared to even most RPG's out there today they stand head and shoulders above 95% of the games out there. I'd go so far to say that the story of the Riddick game is actually better than the second movie. All three are completely different in genre and atmosphere and actually engage the player with a goal in mind far beyond getting to the next level. Prey was another that was fun to play and had a decent attempt at a story.

Re:Butcher Bay and other underrated games (1)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 6 years ago | (#19971243)

The characters in Deus Ex were awesome too, especially the Ai constructs.

Theif (2, Interesting)

JeremyGNJ (1102465) | more than 6 years ago | (#19970111)

I think the closest I've seen to a good plot in an FPS was the Thief series. Or maybe the plot wasn't so much good, as the game play was immersive, so you're more accepting of what plot there was. Another good one was the original Max Payne! The stuff with his baby being killed and the dream sequences that followed were a good plot that really "made you mad" and want. It is hard to write a plot line that involves "kills lots of stuff indiscriminately". I think the best way to get that effect is to do the RPG trick of "sub quests" so that you're running around "open endedly" and choosing different things to do, even though in the end you have to do X Y Z. There should also be an element of "Choose your own adventure", so that different plot lines can come out based on how you play. The problem with that is the production cost of levels and cut-scenes that some players will never see.

Re:Thief (1)

Seakip18 (1106315) | more than 6 years ago | (#19970893)

Max Payne was also a great. Film Noir meets physics engine meets killing lots of stuff. The Cello accompaniment in the Max Payne 2 still haunts me.

What storylines? (1)

bevoblake (1106117) | more than 6 years ago | (#19970261)

FPSs have stories? Seriously though, there's also continually increasing common ground between RPGs and FPSs. Case in point: Oblivion is first person, and while not a shooter in the traditional since, it sure has some strong FPS aspects. At the nexus of the two genres, I think there'll be a lot of plot development. FPS as a genre holds appeal similar to action movies - quick gratification of the id. As such, I've faced plots that did a great job facilitating the action (Halo, Goldeneye, both Half-lifes), but too much plot intricacy could easily tarnish the quick fun of the frag.

Re:What storylines? (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#19970535)

That is, in my opinion, the biggest gap between FPS games, for instance, UT2004 and Halo (both of which are very good games imho). UT is all about the frag, taking on your friends, zooming in and sniping their head; it's especially satisfying to see chunks of their skull bounce around on the ground for a while. Halo, on the other hand, is all about competing with your friends against the computers and finishing what is, in my opinion, a decent storyline, enough of one to keep me interested in completing it.

Re:What storylines? (1)

bevoblake (1106117) | more than 6 years ago | (#19970869)

I fully agree on those two games. Another piece of this puzzle is that FPS games are excellent forums for artistic achievement. I remember being mindblown by some of the visuals in Halo when it first came out. That in turn, boosted the story in my opinion.

Outlaws! (1)

maddogdelta (558240) | more than 6 years ago | (#19970393)

That still is a great game, despite the older graphics. The story carries it. I feel like I'm Clint Eastwood every time I play it..

Re:Outlaws! (1)

ThosLives (686517) | more than 6 years ago | (#19971409)

Oh, wow... I used to burn so many hours in college on that one.

The taunts...oh, the taunts!

(And don't forget dynamite!)

Duh! (2, Funny)

tbcpp (797625) | more than 6 years ago | (#19970405)

1. Load rough drafts into shotgun 2. Fire shot gun into wall 3. Paste shreds randomly together 4. ??? 5. Profit!

Um... (3, Insightful)

morari (1080535) | more than 6 years ago | (#19970897)

They're not.

How FPS Storylines Are Written (1)

DarthBender (1071972) | more than 6 years ago | (#19970917)


I like the story of the OSS FPS Cube. (1)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 6 years ago | (#19971605)

"You kill stuff. The End."
Truely unique. And all the story I need for an FPS. :-)
( [] )

Clive Barker's "Undying" (1)

hiryuu (125210) | more than 6 years ago | (#19971753)

If you're looking for well-crafted story in the FPS genre, an oft-overlooked and not-as-well-known entry has to be Undying, with backstory penned by (or under the direction of) Clive Barker. As a game it was somewhere between average and good, but the story was definitely solid.

Realism, Abstraction, and context (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19971795)

There is a push for story because most games and technology are focused on realism. This creates an inherent need for context.

ie: A human character as player -- Who is he? Where is he? Why? These questions naturally occur to us.

So then, the further you abstract the game, the less need for story, as the gameplay and the abstractions can hold their own context of abstraction (we "let go" and don't feel a need to rationalize what we see and do when it is abstracted beyond recognition or reality).

ie: PacMan is a geometric shape that "eats" dots. You must avoid opponents and are constrained to a maze. There is no "Why" to this other than the need for survival. There is no Who. We don't really care about the geometric shape's origins, motivations, or feelings.

Only when PacMan was transferred to a linear, non-interactive medium (Saturday morning cartoon) was it necessary to contextualize the geometric shape into a "character", with a life, motivations, needs, etc. Because that's what you need to tell a story.

The two mediums at extremes are very seperate. The problem is games today are way too focused on "reality" which brings such games into the side that necessitates a context.

Surely thou jest (2, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#19972391)

ie: PacMan is a geometric shape that "eats" dots. You must avoid opponents and are constrained to a maze. There is no "Why" to this other than the need for survival. There is no Who. We don't really care about the geometric shape's origins, motivations, or feelings.

Heh... reminds me of the high school days, when I'd occasionally be bored enough to imagine a whole touching story about such games and characters as Chucky Egg.

Admittedly, the whole was more or less part of reverse-engineering how to write a school essay. I could eventually write an essay on anything whatsoever, and put any spin whatsoever on it. (IIRC the Chucky Egg one was about the struggle of the working class against the corporate chickens. I'm not kidding.) I was all about that kind of finding the rules that work and (ab)using them.

I think I did one about Pac Man too, but I can't quite remember what it was about.

Still, there you go, even if for the somewhat disturbed reasons, someone did care about Chucky's or PacMan's life, motivations, needs, etc.

I don't think I'm the only one, though. You should see the kind of complex stories within stories that people imagine around such abstract games as Europa Universalis or Hearts Of Iron. And they're ultra-abstracted grand strategy games. You don't even command anything smaller than an army, and you don't even have access to the tactical details of a battle. It's actually more abstract than your average hex-based strategy game.

Yet people write whole stories about _why_ something happened. They don't just write "Army Group North pushed towards Berlin", they write a whole story about how that decision was taken, what the reactions were at the HQ meeting, and occasionally what happened to the ordinary soldiers in that battle. (Again, the ordinary soldiers exist only as an abstract number in the actual game.)

So what I'm getting at is: maybe it's not just blamable on "realism". I think many of us actually have a need for such stories. We can't be truly satisfied with "Knight takes Pawn at E4, check". We actually have to really know that Knight's personality, background, aspirations. What went through his head as he charged through the pikemen at E4 (a pawn) to try to capture the enemy King? Was he affraid? Did he do it for honour? For his own king and country? For some beautiful lady? (Quite a common thing in the middle ages.) Did he charge with a sword or with a lance? Etc. We have to really know that guy's story, you know?

I don't want a story in my FPS (1)

bigbigbison (104532) | more than 6 years ago | (#19972077)

While I want some motivation or rational for things, if stories are going to be told through cut scenes then count me out. As far as I'm concerned most cut scenes are just lame cop-outs for games that either can't figure out a way to tell the story without them or have limitations in their game engine that prevent the player from doing it themselves and so they have to make a cut scene to show the character to something.

If that is how stories are going to be told in FPS then leave them out or at least make them skipable.

Mother of All FPS Story Lines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19972179)

It's time to kick ass or chew gum, and I'm all outta gum.

Call of Cthulhu (1)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 6 years ago | (#19972755)

Call of Cthulhu [] anyone? Kick ass mashup of a bunch of Lovecraft stories? It's the only game besides 'Fatal Frame 2' that fills me with a terrifying sense of impending doom while I play it. Good story too.

I like RTS storylines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19972781)

FPS storylines are generally static.
RTS storylines, however, are dynamic as hell. []

If i want plot, i read a book. (1)

ArcadeX (866171) | more than 6 years ago | (#19972887)

I thought the plot for HL was awesome, then I later realized that while strong as far as FPS goes, they could have fed me anything they wanted, i was just drooling over the graphics when played on my canopus daughterboard... 12 megs of video goodness ; )

I play FPS to shoot stuff and see great graphics while doing it, plot is optional... less plot, the better the engine / graphics better be, likewise the better the plot the more I can ignore from crappy graphics and gameplay, but seriously, what kind of plot can you expect from a 3d choose your own adventure shoot'em up?

It's all a matter of taste... (1)

Bob-taro (996889) | more than 6 years ago | (#19973179)

...I liked the puzzle-breaks and bits of dialogue in half-life, but one of my friends hated all that and "just wanted to shoot stuff". So some people would argue that "more plot" is a bad thing, anyway. I love how so many posters seem to consider "plot quality" to be something you can objectively measure. I think it is difficult to compare a static movie plot with an interactive game plot. A game has to have a fun interactive element or it might just as well BE a movie. When you watch a sword fight in a movie like "the Count of Monte Cristo" you might imagine yourself actually being there - well, a game can bring that experience to a whole new level. On the other hand, the part of that movie where the main character is studying in prison and plotting his revenge was interesting in the movie, but would be a big yawn in a game.
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