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Should RPGs be concidered great literature? (1 Viewer)

Vos

Senior Member
Most good RPGs, if not all, depending on your tastes, have very well devolped story lines and character devolpment. Does anyone agree that there are RPGs that can compair with many of the great books, plays and movies out there?

I learned to read with Final Fantasy VI, and it is probably what got me into writing. Well, that and Calvin and Hobbes :D .

The Baulder's Gate series is also very well writtan, as are most (all?) of Bioware's RPGs (w00t, go Canada! :D)
 

ThatWierdGuy

Senior Member
I wouldn't consider it great literature, but they are pretty entertaining. Both are defiintely great stories in camparison to most video games. I played both FFVII and the Bioware games, and even though games create an illusion of being immersed in the story, I would have to question if I would have enjoyed it as much if I were watching it on the screen/reading it, or if I would have thought it was a little cliche ( I read a lot of fantasy prior to FFVII release, Bioware's stories have been done before, and the Scifi-Fantasy hybrid setting has been done better IMO). However, both are 40-plus hour games, it would probably make a good mini-series. Although both are entertaining, I don't think they can compare with Frank Herbert, Orson Scott Card, of Christopher Nolan's Memento (movie)etc. in terms of creativity.
 

Hodge

pliable
Senior Member
Maybe.

The best storyline in an RPG I've seen is that of Xenogears, with second place being Final Fantasy VI. They'd have to be turned into a book to be literature, though. And I'm not sure if they would translate well.
 

kintaris

Senior Member
Best game story has got to be Metal Gear Solid. Absolutely absorbing, movie standard writing, with Matrix-level twisting plotlines and perfectly balanced on the edge of believable.

Besides anything else games are great source material, if you're no good at set pieces or have never really been able to describe horror, tension, or confrontations. GTA San Andreas is pretty good research if you thought a 'hood' was something you put on your head and a 'homie' was a cute name for your house...

kintaris
 

kintaris

Senior Member
well i think literature is the wrong word. Thats like calling HP great literature. Some do have fantastic stories that are better written than some published ficiton, is the point i think is trying to be made here.
 

ThatWierdGuy

Senior Member
Some video game stories are better then some published fiction, there a some very crappy stories out there. I dont think there is any video game however that can stand up to a great or highly-acclaimed published novels or movies in terms of story, and I've played a lot of video games. Those stories are specifically made to immerse you in a video game, but how well will they traslate on the screen or novel? Most video game stories, with the exception of Grim Fandango, are pretty cliche and unoriginal in terms of the central plot, though still entertaining. There is a reason why the author's writing is on a video game and not on a published novel or movie.
 

kintaris

Senior Member
I agree with the above, with the following exceptions

Metal Gear Solid
Monkey Island
(both series)

MGS actually consists mostly of video footage, and even includes a short novel about previous events on the disc. It is mostly a bit unbelievable, but only as much as The Matrix etc. It could stand up to many modern films.

Monkey Island is one of the only games i've played that is truly originally funny, maturely so too. Its like Monty Python with pirates. And that's not because of the gameplay either - thats because of one liners, character rapports and blatant anachronisms. That is more intelligent than your average sitcom.

So I agree that games could never stand up to films and books. But as a resource they can be of good use to authors and imagineers in general. Don't rule them out entirely!

(P.S. Metal Gear Solid actually stirred more emotions and changed my worldview than watching LOTR, and almost as much as Donnie Darko...)

kintaris
 

kintaris

Senior Member
Whoops I forgot Grim Fandango, even tho it was Monkey Island people who made it. Very very original.

One interesting computer game was Discworld Noir. A book as a game! It worked extremely well and really captured Terry Pratchett's humour and style.

kintaris
 

Vos

Senior Member
Your right, maybe litirature isn't the best word, change that to "well good writtain story" or something.

Is anyone really going to say that Chrono Cross wasn't original? It was far more original then most books I've read.

FFIX was pretty well writtin and original (Even if it was slightly influenced by Dragonball).

I haven't played Xenogears, Hodge, is it any good?

I love Metal Gear Solid, but alas I bought it seconed hand and it freezes about 7 hours in.
 

Surprise

Member
I'm sorry, but a lot of RPGs (with a little tweaking) would easily compare with some great novels. And, though the flaming will come in torrents right about now, I will compare THE LORD OF THE RINGS to a few RPGs.

The Lord Of The Rings - A small group of Humans, Hobbits and Elves travel across a vast country to destroy the Ring of Power in the fires of Mordor, effectively saving the world.

Chrono Trigger - A boy and two girls from the year 1000AD in a distant world accidentally fall through a time portal which leads them to the year 2300AD, discovering that a threat that came to the planet 65 Million years earlier would end the world 999 years after their home time.


I'm sorry, but... That makes LOTR seem extremely corny.
 

Kane

Senior Member
Time travel pieces about trying to save the world from a cataclysmal event are so cliche. They don't even compare to LOTR. Any corniness possessed by LOTR can be attributed to the animated movie, and a couple parts of the new movies. The book is pretty serious, and the history behind Middle Earth is anything but corny. I've read just about everything Tolkien wrote regarding Middle Earth. It's some good stuff.
 

Vos

Senior Member
Lol, I ment "Good, well writtan story"

Lord of the Rings is one of the few books that I'd put above the best RPGs.
While Chrono Trigger was a little (very little, it followed the earth's timeline pretty closely) cliche, Chrono Cross, the sequal, was really original.
 

ThatWierdGuy

Senior Member
Sorry "Surprise", but LOTR was very original for its time and influenced a whole generation of writers including the writers from Squaresoft. Probably not original now, mostly because everyone has ripped the storyline from it in some shape or fashion (a group of heroes travel to distant lands filled with obstacles with the ultimate goal of destroying a single great and powerful evil to save the world). Plus, although I havent played Chronotriger, Kane has a point, a time-travel storyline of discovering a destructive event outside of the present that could destroy the world, erase, or change time has been done plenty of times and is very cliche, while LOTR was extremely fresh for its time. Adding a manga flair and littering the story with fluff like sub-plots doesn't make a story anymore fresh or original, just hides the fact that it isn't.

Actually, the fluff in RPGs is my biggest pet-peeve, who cares if Main character #7 has a brother who is still alive and now wants to kill him? Must we go find him if it has no relevance ot the core conflict? Who cares M. Character # 5 might be his secret father, who is collaberating with Irrelevent Villain #3 and Love interest#2? (who will later be revealed to belong to a guild of psychics called "The Minds", in irrelevant-dumb-plot-twist #9) Apparently gamers do, since these distractions from the plot are in the majority of RPGs, but you don't have to play an RPG to get this kind of entertainment, just go watch a soap opera. In a 2-3 hour movie, try to stick this kind of fluff that constantly steers away from the main plot, and I gurantee you you will bore most Western audiences out of their mind. Some will stay and enjoy the movie, most likely people who like soap operas, and the rest will leave. (George R.R Martin's "A Song of Fire and Ice" had a lot of sub-plots, but they all revolved around the central conflict, the game of thrones, which is what made the story work and made it somewhat interesting.)

Tolkiens influence was not just inside the realm of fantasy eithier. Issac Asimov, who influenced directly or indirectly almost every Sci-Fi author after him, also labeled Tolkien as one of his big influences. Asimov learned from Tolkien that in order to create a new world and make it come alive you must create a detailed history that goes along with it. I am not a diehard fan of Tolkien,but I do enjoy his work, and achnowledge his impact on modern writing.

And honestly, I thought the plot of Chrono Trigger sounded pretty corny, like something out of a 30s or 40s pulp-magazine. Change those numbers around and you get a plot thats been done much more then once. Perhaps its execution is much better, hence its appeal, but original it is not. It got old after "A Wrinkle in Time", and the hundruds of pulp-adventures in the 40s that butchered the concept to death.


Out of curiousity, do you mean the world ends when evil now resides there? Because if the world will end 999 years after their time, how could they travel to the year 2300AD after the world ended? The world would be gone.
 

Vos

Senior Member
Well, the planet isn't completely destroyed, just really worn down and everyone is on the verge of starving to death.
 

Viper9

Member
I don't think I'd say that any RPGs have storylines equal to those of great literature, because too much of the story is filled in and determined by the player. Variability is too high.

But I will sya that, as a geeky youth, I played RPGs a hell of a lot - -especially pen and paper ones like Rifts. And it was my experience GMing those games, coming up with plots and characters, and co-ordinating subplots, etc., that got me into writing. That's where I dveloped my love of literary creation.

Anyone else have that sort of experience?
 

kintaris

Senior Member
I personally dont think its the RPGs that have the good storylines in games anyway. I've never found RPGs groundbreaking even from a gameplay perspective, and they all just run into one to me. The best storylines in games - and in my opinions the ones that are contenders for 'as good as the movies' - tend to be third person action games such as MGS, Onimusha, Prince of Persia...Even GTA: San Andreas (although i don't think that could be a film, more of a mini-series, and even then only the serious, non-lets-kill-everyone bits).
 

a15haddad

Senior Member
I truly believe Metal Gear Solid has the best storyline of any videogame series. Although many complain Sons of Liberty is convoluted (more cut-scenes than gameplay, about 8 hours of it), it's personally my favorite- perhaps because it took me so long to fully understand. While, yes, it is a bit fantastic, it is very faithful to political and military methods and, most importantly, it all "makes sense". I would consider Metal Gear Solid as a far greater piece of art than Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, for instance. However, video games can't really be classified as literature.

Honestly, I've never really gotten into RPGs; to me they seem pointlessly drawn-out. I'm not willing to spend hours leveling up or going around to talk to someone when it's a videogame. However, from what I've heard Square's games have fantastic stories... although I can't comment on them.
 

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