I think this needs an important *for some* distinction though. We all like to play and interact with games differently, and there are people, myself included, who think that game mechanics should
inform and decide narrative. Fudging mechanics offers instantaneous gratification, the hero lives instead of dies, but it begins to cheapen the world.
Completely and totally agreed! When you have "infinite take-backsies," nothing really matters. Stakes are never really high, because consequences don't stick. The narrative loses any weight or integrity.
The longer a story runs, the greater the likelihood that its narrative integrity will break down. I mean, why isn't Spider-Man 80 years old by now? How many times has Jean Grey died? But it doesn't so much matter, because these kind of comics don't sell narrative.
They sell characters.
Narrative is just part of the delivery method.
The same is true for CCGs. They're selling cards, not story. Story is just part of the packaging... and this article presents an example of why
that is the case. Maintaining narrative integrity as a priority will mean losing some characters/cards along the way... which can fundamentally change the experience over time and drive fans away (without necessarily drawing in new ones to match).
On a long enough timeline, every story starts to decay this way. It either becomes too cyclical (Either the dead-alive-dead-alive cycle, or "dead" characters being replaced by remarkably similar "new" ones), or it morphs into a completely different story (which, while not a bad thing, is not the original story
It's the cost of keeping a story open-ended. Sometimes writers do it because they're too attached to let a particular character go, but usually it's because no one wants to shut the door on money if people will keep paying.
1. If you're selling narrative, have an ending in mind. For something to have integrity
, it needs a closed shape.
2. If you're buying a product with an open-ended narrative, prepare for the inevitable disintegration. That might mean being ready to jump ship when it jumps the shark, or it might mean loving something other than the narrative.
EDIT: One more example. Let's say you've got a tabletop game going. And someone's character dies. In a short, closed-ended narrative, you might need to wait awhile before jumping back in... but in an open-ended "could go on forever" type story, that could mean one of two things:
1. You're sitting there with nothing to do for a long time, and will probably get bored and leave.
2. The GM takes back your death, thus invalidating the concept of high stakes.
3. You join back in with a different character, meaning eventually (most likely) everyone will be playing different characters, and it's no longer the game or story you started with.