story telling for dummies

The backlash on Mass Effect 2 seems to be quite harsh. People are all talking about how the final battle was terrible, which is true. And how the final sequence of the game seems random, which I do not think is true. Everyone is missing the big picture though. What this game does differently is its connection with the original Mass Effect. If you completed the first game, the second can automatically import it into the second game. The character you designed and the decisions you make carry over. Everything from the reporter in the first game that I told I would not give an interview to, to the fate of Wrex, a party member and close friend of mine, whom I reasoned with to save his life, are part of this experience. When characters return from the first game, so do your emotions towards them and you can treat them good or poorly matter if you like them or the decisions they are making. So that reporter who broadcasted all those bad things about me over the airwave when I did not give her an interview, I punched her in the face. I punched her right in her face. Yeah my partners we not to happy with me, but in my mind she got what was coming to her. These moments, whether it be the little ones or the ones that can truly affect the outcome of the games, make this games experience yours and yours alone. More games need to do this and here is why.

In Mass Effect 2, you will get a more personalized experience if you import your character from the first game. But you do not have to import anything. For this reason more sequels should do this. There is no downside to this. It would make it a personal game if you do import; it will just make it a contained experience if you do not. Both can still have solid stories either way. This will also strengthen people loyalty to characters and to the brand. If I enjoyed the first game but did not think it was the greatest, this option helps you become more involved in the world and feel like you are a part of it. I personally did not like the first Mass Effect, but I finished it because I thought the story was just engaging enough to finish. The promise that my choices would be a part of Mass Effect 2 made me get the game and it maybe one of the most immersive I have played because the game showed me my decisions and the direct effects they had on others lives.

This kind of level of immersion and storytelling is what makes the videogame medium great and special. No other medium can do this. So use it. If you do not make the medium different, its storytelling methods cannot grow and evolve. I want games to be a new way of telling tails and this is two steps in the right direction.

Jeff Silva,
Pierce Arrow Blogger

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