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The role of the backstory in arcade games

02-20-2014, 10:36 AM
Joined: Mar 2011
Location: Canada, Montreal
Posts: 3
The role of the backstory in arcade games

Hey guys!
Imagine you are playing Mario, and you have to save the princess. Or you play TinyWings, and you try to fly. What do you think is the importance of the backstory in these games?
Strictly speaking the gameplay doesn't really require it, but it still feels like something important.
What do you think?
02-20-2014, 12:23 PM
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 1,913

You look at the games now and how they are structured more like a bunch of movies and television shows in the structure of storytelling and their execution of this when gameplay. Back then all you needed was a couple of lines of text and some animated shots just to tell you to backstory and then you wanted to play the game. One has to also consider that these old arcade games less complex than the gate plane now. You had a dump button, and attack button, and you can move the stick around and that was the gist of your gameplay elements that you have to worry about. Nowadays you have to worry about at least six to eight inputs include not including one to two forms of movement.

Back in the arcade days, all you needed was the cabinet art and an animated sequence of some evil looking dude stealing your girlfriend. Now you need complex global conspiracies, emotionally manipulating complex scenes and still people will call a games story garbage.

Arcade games are just a different breed of game and the amount of story to motivate the player to the gameplay is far minimal compared to that of more complex games, period. Starborn Anarkist comes to mind with its silly and ever changing forward story as to the motivation of why you are blasting spaceships and boss ships. It's tongue in cheek approach to that bygone rephrase is a perfect example as to the motivation required of the player in old games to have a story.

I still think that every good arcade game or game in General should have some sort of story, no matter how superfluous it is because I believe it adds to the charm of those games; but I don't feel that story is always necessary for an arcade game. I do believe that in order for it to be memorable it needs one, or at the very least a story the player can derive from the gameplay.

Monkey steals my girlfriend (see a trend here?) and has here captured on top a construction site of which he is throwing barrels down at me to prevent me from rescuing her. Doesn't tell much of a story but it is a story none the less... And that's why it is memorable.