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Monday, November 26, 2012

Not show, not tell - but DO! Writing techniques for games.

do or not do
Over in a LinkedIn discussion we've been kicking around ideas based on my recent blog post on the importance of mood above plot in some games and interactive stories.

In film and TV scriptwriting we often use the generally good advice, "show, not tell". Why have someone tell us how they feel, it is better they show us how they feel. Why tell us the prisoner has escaped? Let's see the rascal slipping out.

In games this is truer than ever. The more visual nature of games means there are even more ways to 'show'. And yet it is often a format that features writing using a 'tell' method - as games producers often under estimate their audience.

I feel games is one medium where you can really talk up to the audience (or in this case players / participants). There's no point in doing a dumbed down story for players who don't want the depth (the lowest common denominator approach). These players will ignore the story elements anyway. So, you may as well aim high.

BUT, games have one more benefit. They can go beyond show, beyond tell. They can go to 'do'. That is the most powerful story method. Escaping from the prison yourself and feeling the excitement of doing it is the trump card.

1 comment:

Steve said...

I agree. It annoys me when I see developers put cool stuff into cut-scenes when the player should be doing that cool stuff.