Gaming and the Evolution of Storytelling
Mankind has always had a fascination with stories and we have developed a multitude of ways to convey and depict those stories. From painting images on the walls of a cave to the printed word, humanities desire to share stories has driven both our spiritual and technological evolution. From paper making to the printing press to the computer screen, the sharing of information and the spreading of story has shaped our world in such a way it would be difficult to truly account for its full impact.
More recently film has become a major stepping stone in bringing stories to life, allowing us to see the events of a story unfold and to bask in the sound, colour and images all designed to enhance the original work and yet we are still the observer. When we are told a story, or when we read a book, watch a movie or see a play we are passive in our consumption - we play no role in how the story may unfold, it is predetermined.
Computer games have begun to change this passive method of experiencing stories, shifting our position from that of observe towards a more active role. With the written word we are experiencing the story in third person, being told by the author was is happening. With visual media we are experiencing the story in second person by observing it ourselves. With gaming we taken into first person, actually experiencing the story ourselves as part of it. We can now actually influence the story in either a small way or a complete way. With the arrival of games such as Skyrim we are able to immerse ourselves even deeper into the fantasy genre, pitching ourselves against the dragons, exploring the long forgotten temples and discovering new wonders. This can be seen quite well in examples such as Game of Thrones. Originally people read the books and loved the story and no doubt to their great excitement the TV show was made adding a whole new dimension to the story. Now the computer game series has begun allowing fans of the IP to go even deeper, to become a person in that world, to play a part and make a difference.
Have you ever watched a film or a TV show and found yourself saying to the screen 'Why would you do that! Surely you wouldn't go through that door?!' - with gaming you get to decide for yourself. The fantasy genre is not the only one to benefit from the advent of gaming - all genres have made the move. If you love your action packed stories there are no shortage of games such as Tomb Raider, Wolfenstein: The New Order and Dishonoured to name a select few. In the last 12 months there have even been more pure story driven games arriving such as Dear Esther, Gone Home and The Stanley Parable.
Gaming is poised to set its place in history as the next step in one of humanities greatest stories - the story of stories itself.