Video Games and Their Potential for Storytelling

At The Awl, Maria Bustillos talks to Adventure Time creator Pendleton Ward about the magic behind his wildly popular cartoon series that’s beloved by both children and adults. Here, Ward talks about his love of video games and their potential for storytelling:

Oh man, the intensely emotional storytelling in games like ‘Gone Home’… it’s through the roof! The wild goosebumps I experienced after ‘Gone Home,’ I felt like I was in the body of a different person… a VERY different person haha! I don’t want to spoil it, but it was wild to feel so intimately connected with the character in that game. Movies and books transport you to a place where you’re along for the ride, games make you drive the thing forward. That’s especially true in scary games, because instead of shouting “Don’t go in that room!” …you’re the one taking the steps forward towards that room. It’s huge. I think games are a thing you can’t fully appreciate until you play them.

I’ve been to game conventions where games are being projected on screens all around you, they all look nice and it’s fun to see how visually appealing they are… but unless you wait in line and play them… you’ll leave there without knowing how they can pull so many good feelings out of yah. But for emotional storytelling in games, Gone Home is the front runner at the moment…. There’s plenty of games play on moral decision making… in ‘Red Dead Redemption,’ a hermit sent me on a quest to decimate the wild Bigfoots who were terrorizing him. I sought out and killed all of the Bigfoots…. I killed them from a distance, they never attacked me. Then I found the final Bigfoot who was sitting by a tree and crying… he told me that I had murdered his ENTIRE FAMILY!!! I still feel HORRRRRIBLE ABOUT IT! He wanted me to SHOOT HIM because he no longer WANTED TO LIVE! It was miserable!!!

Read the story

Photo: Wikimedia Commons