Story and gameplay don't mix? What do you prefer?


New member
Jan 4, 2009
LuisGuimaraes said:
No they're NOT mutually exclusive.

Story: your fate written by the go... ahem... writers.
Gameplay: you're the master of your own destiny.

Have your choice, mine is: No gods or kings, only Man.
The story can be about being controlled by the forces outside of your control, though and supported by the gameplay.

That's one of the reasons why I like Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem.
You might not have much choice but to follow the set path, but thematically that works perfectly; you are supposed to be nothing but a puppet of the ancient forces.

The problem with games is that they are still thought of as 'gameplay' and 'story', when you should just think of them as 'narrative'.

OlasDAlmighty said:
Hence you can have genuinely good games without any story

Even Tetris has a narrative; You need to destroy the incoming blocks by making them fit in the pr-existing structure, more you make mistakes, the harder it becomes, even if you do perfectly the blocks come quicker and quicker, and no matter what, eventually you lose.


New member
Sep 20, 2010
Gameplay, all the way.

That's my personal bias anyway. I am perfectly capable of imagining a story where none exists, or mentally overwriting one I find uninteresting.

THe middle ground would be something along the lines of Bethesda RPG's. I need to be able to choose what sort of character I am in whatever world you've thrown me into.


New member
Sep 10, 2008
Oh where to begin...

I'll start with the term, "Why not watch a movie?" In my Interactive Media class, this is asked a lot. It might annoy you, and it should; many games aren't that different from playable movies. If you take out the interactivity and the experience is the same, then the game has a severe problem. Story and gameplay work best when they are intertwined. I hope I don't need to expand on this...

EDIT: Just to clarify, gameplay without story usually has more story than you give it credit to. Pacman/Mario/Contra/Limbo/Shadow of the Colossus doesn't need to explain itself to you because its story is told within the gameplay. Other times games have gameplay that speaks for itself, but feel that they need to attach an external narrative to it out of habit. There are also games that have gameplay and story that completely contradict each other. Lastly, there are games that need external narrative to make their story work. These three categories are more controversial to put games into, so I'll let you do it on your own.


Neloth's got swag.
Aug 22, 2011
Both are kind of impossible to extricate from one another, but I have a soft spot for story. Lore, specifically. If you can draw me into the political tensions that are underpinning your otherwise average real-time strategy game, I'll play your game for sure. If all you have going for you is design and your universe is utterly uninteresting, then I won't be able to implicate myself.

Consider the WarCraft series. I didn't care about the first one, didn't care about the second. By the time the third came out, however, I'd explored game-related novelizations and I knew roughly what to expect of characters like Thrall or Arthas. Thrall, especially, was someone I wanted to get to know better. So I played a friend's copy of WarCraft III for a few weeks, not expecting that I'd even care about the human campaign.

By then, though, I was hooked. To see more of what was happening to the Orcs, I had to play as the Lordaeron natives and I had to form some sort of connection with Arthas, even before he fell to Frostmourne's influence. By the last four or five levels, I wasn't pushing myself to learn the ins and outs of the map because of performance or survival-related concerns; I really wanted to see the story through.

Now, that can also backfire. I was initially interested in WoW, but then stories of its fairly addictive power came up. Footage showing numbers-obsessed and dispassionate guys throwing absolute rages because their one newcomer made an honest mistake... I pretty much opted to stay away from the game, but to absorb its lore indirectly.

I've been loving WoW - but not like most people would. I hit wikis and plotline summaries, and I try and keep up with the who's who of that universe. Azeroth as a whole is so much more interesting, to me, than any of the actual MMO's mechanics.

Brotha Desmond

New member
Jan 3, 2011
If I had to choose, I'd say game play. Games like Metro: Last Light, that try to give you a lot story makes it that there is no actual game play until fifteen or so minutes into it. That makes replaying it fairly difficult.


New member
May 17, 2010
leodetroit said:
I think that some of these gamers who complain of these story-based games feel like games should just be that, games with only the gameplay mattering, nothing else. But I can't just play a game; I can't play a mindless fps-multiplayer or some retro-game with an extremely bad plot. I need a good story with my gameplay.
I'm skeptical. I'm not doubting your intent, but if you think about what you're saying you're denying liking most of the great games throughout history. You don't like Super Meat Boy, you don't like Dark Souls, you don't like Rogue Legacy, or any of the other countless examples.

It takes a lot of developer resources to make a good story, which is why very few low budget games have them and those that do are almost invariably adventure games.

The concern of many of us is that largely *because* it takes a lot of developer resources, the AAA games industry will move even more to stories in games and stop making AAA games without stories.

The industry's idea is that enhancing the quality of stories in games will appeal to a broader market - let's say to movie-goers who don't play games. So what we are really seeing here is a kind of "movie/game" hybrid which is offensive to both movie aficionados and gamers alike, but which may appeal to Joe Schmoe who watches Hollywood movies and plays Call of Duty while fantasizing about murder without consequence.


New member
Apr 16, 2009
leodetroit said:
What do you think? Can story and gameplay mix? Do you think that story-based games (Walking Dead, Gone Home) are nothing more than wannabe-movies?
I actually have done the opposite of you. As I have gotten older, I have leaned more towards games that are just fun, and may not have any semblance of story at all. A good story is great, but I mostly just use gaming to unwind now, and then only when I get the chance, so I don't really want to be immersed that much.


New member
Jul 7, 2011
They can mix, definitely. There's plenty of examples of how it can be done well, like Thomas was Alone, or Braid. There was a moment in Birth by Sleep during the final boss battle that really emphasized what was happening by using one of the power up mechanics (I forget which one, but it was essentially the one that replaced Drive forms from KHII) which I thought was brilliant.
hooglese said:
Good gameplay. Good gameplay can hold up no story, while the inverse isn't true for me atleast
You've never read a book or watched a movie? A game with no gameplay aside from moving and interacting with objects/people like To the Moon is more or less the same experience.