My column this week is a list of ways in which games are failing in their attempts to be movies. Last week sort of descended into an argument over whether games should be trying to tell a fixed narrative at all, so this time I thought I sidestep that by coming at it from a different angle: If you’re going to make a game-movie, then you at least need to get the movie parts right.
Some people have mistaken my story-nitpicking for a position that story is paramount. That’s not really the case. I just strongly believe that whatever story we do get should be serviceable. This is actually kind of challenging for a lot of reasons. You just can’t get away with things in a ten hour game the way you can in an hour and a half. Movies are usually consumed in a single sitting. But if a story-driven game can be consumed in a single session it’s considered a huge failure, or at least a bad valueAssuming we’re talking about full-price AAA games, here.. Games are consumed over the course of days, with long breaks between sessions. That gives the audience a lot of time to think about, replay, and discuss the plot. Details that might be glossed over in a movie will become major sticking points in a game.
Worse, we’re a little more picky about character actions when we’re the ones driving. If Commander Shepard works with Cerberus in a movie, I might argue that it’s out of character or dumb, but it’s not nearly as infuriating as being forced to push the buttons to work with Cerberus even though I can see it’s clearly a stupid idea. It’s the difference between seeing someone else fall for a prank, and being the unwilling victim of an obvious prank that I saw coming a mile away.
But game developers seem to be going out of their way to give us the worst of both worlds. They insist on ramming movie-like structures down our throats, but then they slap the story together all half-assed like it doesn’t matter.
Further note: I think it’s time for another mailbag column, so if you have a question for the column then firstname.lastname@example.org.
 Assuming we’re talking about full-price AAA games, here.
Crash Dot Com
Back in 1999, I rode the dot-com bubble. Got rich. Worked hard. Went crazy. Turned poor. It was fun.
The story of me. If you're looking for a picture of what it was like growing up in the seventies, then this is for you.
The Best of 2016
My picks for what was important, awesome, or worth talking about in 2016.
Bethesda felt the need to jam a morality system into Fallout 3, and they blew it. Good and evil make no sense and the moral compass points sideways.
If Star Wars Was Made in 2006?
Imagine if the original Star Wars hadn't appeared in the 1970's, but instead was pitched to studios in 2006. How would that turn out?