No, we haven't taken leave of our senses. Bear in mind that we are not making the statement in the headline.
It's just something I heard the other day when I was chatting with one of my PSN buddies. We hadn't really spoken in a while so I was surprised to hear such an emphatic (and somewhat bitter) comment. I had forgotten his unwavering stance on the matter. I had also forgotten that he was once a hardcore RPG fan like me and unlike me, he hasn't branched out into other genres. I kinda did that a while ago.
"Games without stories suck." Essentially, this means he's pretty annoyed at the direction RPGs have taken this generation; titles like The Elder Scrolls simply don't interest him in the slightest, while games like Heavy Rain and Alan Wake keep him mesmerized for hours. Now, it's unfair to say video games are moving away from compelling plots and better character development, because we have examples of fantastic writing. But is it fair to say that games without a story focus are more popular…?
Perhaps. I mean, let's face it, nobody reads anymore. And with the ever-dwindling attention span of an entire nation, all forms of entertainment have been shifting towards faster, flashier, and dumber overall. Nothing is immune to the downward spiral; it's why we have brainless summer blockbusters, sugar-coated talentless pop music, and chick lit. Therefore, mindless video games can and often are popular. But you know, gamers are an intelligent bunch (the older ones were the smart nerds back in the day, remember?), and smart games aren't failures.
It's just interesting to hear a statement like "games without stories suck" because even me, a heavy reader of literary classics and a proponent of artistry in gaming, can have plenty of fun with everything from Battlefield 3 to God of War III . If it's great, I'll probably play it, regardless of genre or story emphasis (or lack thereof). And I have to say, this friend of mine is missing out by being so strict. …but maybe he has a point; maybe if there were more people like him, we'd have more teams like Quantic Dream and Kojima Productions out there.
What's your take on the subject?