[Games as Art] What is the best writing in all of video games?

Discussion in 'General Gaming and Hardware Forum' started by CT Phipps, Jul 19, 2020.

  1. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Sep 17, 2016
    Video games have long been derided as a medium and I was trying to think of the video games that manage to transcend the "fun" motivation and actually make a performance as art. I think a huge chunk of video games are better than the majority of action movies out there and the medium is perfectly fine but I'm curious about what people here would say really sticks out as, "this is the best writing of the medium."

    My top 3 picks?

    1. Deus Ex: Human Revolution


    I was torn over this because I think Deus Ex is probably better in terms of social relevance and other things but I feel Adam Jensen is a protagonist that really manages to ground the story better. Also, as far out as "social issues of human augmentation" is, I think it feels fairly believable.

    2. Red Dead Redemption

    I admit, the cheesiness of some of the game detracts as it's still feeling a bit like Grand Theft Horse but that's not really an insult either. I think this game really did settle with some epic themes, served as a good pastiche of the entire Western genre, and once more had a protagonist that truly encapsulated what the medium could be about.

    3. Mafia II

    As much as I love Mafia III, the game just flat out isn't nearly as good storyline wise as Mafia II. A game that I genuinely think is every bit as good watched as played. Vito, Joe, and their storyline is something that really inspired me and is something I've played multiple times.

    How about you guys?
     
  2. Risewild

    Risewild Venerable Relic of the Wastes
    Modder Orderite

    Jun 14, 2014
    People say good things about Disco Elysium. I never played it so I can't really say anything about it.

    Of course, there is always Planescape:Torment. Probably the most famous game related to it's writing.
     
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  3. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Sep 17, 2016
    4. I think Grand Theft Auto IV is a very underrated piece of storytelling. The problem is the game just flat out wasn't what people wanted from GTA and it gets kind of ignored as the one everyone played, most people enjoyed, but no one really talks about.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2020
  4. TorontoReign

    TorontoReign Non Binary Pod Person Staff Member Moderator

    Apr 1, 2005
    1. Fallout 3.
    2. Skyrim.
    3. Mass Effect 2

    /end thread
     
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  5. RangerBoo

    RangerBoo Foul mouth little lady

    Jun 15, 2015
    Ride to Hell Retribution. I mean the story was amazing, graphics top notch, ground breaking gameplay, awesome soundtrack and those sex scenes were so tastefully done. 10/10 Game of the Decade.
    /sarc/
     
  6. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Sep 17, 2016
    Does the joke still work when I don't list any of those?

    See what I mean?
     
  7. RangerBoo

    RangerBoo Foul mouth little lady

    Jun 15, 2015
    You list Fallout 3 as being better than Fallout 1 and 2 because "Muh 1st person exploration". You deserve this and also put a target on your back.
     
  8. TorontoReign

    TorontoReign Non Binary Pod Person Staff Member Moderator

    Apr 1, 2005
    Did that jab hit too close to home? It was blind. I have been practicing shadow boxing though.

    I agree with one of your choices. The first Red Dead (shut up graves) has a damn good story with good gameplay to boot. Picking that Deus Ex for story I cannot comment on since I could not stand playing it. The second I saw I could hardly pick anything up it no longer felt like Deus Ex.

    1. Planescape Torment. Not mentioning this is pretty absurd.
    2. Fallout or Arcanum...which I still need to beat Arcanum but it is easy to see it has better writing than half the shit today. PoE is boring crap.
    3. Sunless Sea. Granted the writing is piece meal but I really don't want to list some boring ass cinematic crap like TLoU or even Witcher 3.
     
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  9. RangerBoo

    RangerBoo Foul mouth little lady

    Jun 15, 2015
    Sunless Sea is such a good game. I was surprised with how much fun (is that the word) I had with it.

    Looking through my games on Steam I don't think I can really call them art, expect maybe the first Bioshock and Gris. Although I would argue that games are art but not in the sense of something like A Starry Night, The Last Supper or The Mona Lisa. Personally, I am not looking to indulge in some artistic or cinematic experience with the video games I play like I would venturing a museum. I would even argue that is a major problem with games (especially Sony games) now. Games today just want to shoehorn in that "cinematic experience" which results in a game having 20 hours of fucking cutscenes and 10 hours of gameplay. Devs and publishers desperately want games to been seen on par with the Oscars (even though the Oscars are a joke now). I just want to play a game and have fun. If a game provides a meaningful, intelligent and thoughtful discussion like Bioshock 1, Planescape Torment or New Vegas then that is a welcome.
     
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  10. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Sep 17, 2016
    I could explain why I like Fallout 3 but I don't think you'd listen so why bother.
     
  11. RangerBoo

    RangerBoo Foul mouth little lady

    Jun 15, 2015
    And it would all be bad and contradictory. You ranked it higher than Fallout 1 and 2 and told us to keep seething. You mark yourself there pal. Nothing wrong with liking and enjoying a bad game. Lord knows I do, but to say that Fallout 3 is better than 1 and 2 shows you have no understanding of this franchise.
     
  12. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Mojave Express Employee of the Month

    Mar 16, 2013
    Red Dead Redemption I agree with, and I'd throw in II there with it. Whilst gameplay wise and design wise II is very unremarkable, it does stick out to me as one of the best narratives in games.

    I would say though that when discussing video games as art, just asking "What has the best story" is missing the point since video games as a medium offer something else in terms of artistic engagement rather than just the story. If you only discuss that element games will be massively inferior to film and literature for basically forever. To me the best experiences of games as art are games that have utilized their medium in a way that is unique to them, and have done so well.

    For that, I'd point to Dark Souls, or Hotline Miami or even Fallout: New Vegas. Each of these games provides what I'd consider to be an artistic experience unique to games. A combination of story, gameplay, player interaction and themes.
     
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  13. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Sep 17, 2016
    Eh, the problem with that is that games are always going to be defined by technical limitations as part of the experience versus something that can basically be done universally. Final Fantasy VII the original version is one of the best written games even if it's not going to be up to the technical level of, say, the Witcher 3.

    So storytelling is the ultimate equalizer.
     
  14. RangerBoo

    RangerBoo Foul mouth little lady

    Jun 15, 2015
    Storytelling isn't everything in a game. Gris is able to tell a story through symbolism and gameplay. It depends on how you tell the story instead of the story itself.
     
  15. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Mojave Express Employee of the Month

    Mar 16, 2013
    I'd disagree. Technical limitation has some part to play in limiting that kind of unique experience but historically people have been able to work around it. Like I said, I think Hotline Miami is one of the best games of all time and it achieves a thematic experience that could only be done in video game format, despite it being a pixel-art indie game with what I'd assume was a tiny budget.
     
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  16. SilverStarApple/Epsilon7

    SilverStarApple/Epsilon7 Still Mildly Glowing

    236
    Oct 27, 2017
    Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.

    It's the story of a heroic and violent ex-child soldier turned Private Military security guy who must stop an evil group from harvesting child brains for child soldiers and destabilizing a region to continue the war economy. Oh, and he's a cyborg with a katana and an AI robot dog named Blade Wolf.

    The evil organization's leader, angry video game nerd lookalike Senator Armstrong, wants to use war as a business... To end war as a business. He wants to take over America so he can free it of The Patriots' control(they're all-controlling AIs), but his idea of a "Free" America is an AnCap hellhole where you're free to open fire on your neighbour with recreational nukes, a land where everyone is free to fight their own wars for their own reasons.

    Armstrong's idea of a perfect world is one where everyone is like Raiden, fighting with all they have for what they believe is right.

    And that's what makes him one of the best-written villains in videogame history. Raiden's eyes glow in the end because he validates Armstrong's beliefs and agrees with them, even as he opposes his methods. I don't care if Sephiroth was the first villain you ever liked as a kid, this one's the deepest and if you want me to say otherwise, you need to show me something better. The villain has the hero's worldview but up to 11. The villain wants to create a world free of Patriot control, but he is ultimately a product of The Patriot's control, and his vision of freedom is distorted by the war-torn world he lives in.

    Metal Gear Solid 4 was an orgy of jumped sharks jumping other sharks, and Platinum Games deserves respect for taking this clusterfuck of a setting and the clusterfuck of a character that is Raiden and turning him into a great protagonist in a great story.
     
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  17. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Sep 17, 2016
    Cool. I admit I didn't get that but I know a lot of people who HOTLINE: MIAMI is a really important game for.
     
  18. CerberusGate

    CerberusGate I should save my game in a whole new slot

    Jun 6, 2016
    For me personally, it would be:-
    1. Planescape: Torment;
    2. Disco Elysium (I am so glad this game is doing well);
    3. Arcanum (when even the game's manual is so engrossing in describing the setting, you know good setting writing is present), or KOTOR 2 (this game shaped my worldviews as a teenager, I stopped seeing things in extremes and began to comprehend how every act has consequences).
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2020
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  19. RangerBoo

    RangerBoo Foul mouth little lady

    Jun 15, 2015
    Bioshock 1: This is politics in video games done right. Instead of beating you over the head and telling you that you're wrong and the devs worldview is right it instead presents itself as a criqute and presents logical scenarios on how certain ideologies, like Objectivism, in its purest form wouldn't work. It also doesn't portray the believer of that ideology, Andrew Ryan, in a negative light but rather as a tragic villain who had the best of intentions but when pushed came to shove he become the very thing he hated most in the world, a tyrant.

    Fallout New Vegas: Despite being rushed by Bethesda, New Vegas is still able to hold on its own regardless. The writing, dialogue and characters are well written and engaging. This game also shaped my young adulthood too. I grew out of my homophobia (although I still love saying fag but I only use it in the same way my brother does in referring that word to annoying people) which was good as my youngest brother would come out to me a few years later.

    Gris: A beautiful game that feels like a watercolor painting. Gris is the story of a girl going through the 5 Stages of Grief and is able to tell that story with symbolism and its soundtrack. Perhaps this game resonates with me as someone who's family went through 3 losses in the span of 3 years.
     
  20. Aurelius Of Phoenix

    Aurelius Of Phoenix Psued.

    668
    Mar 9, 2018
    Silent Hill 1-4: Among the most creative of the survival horror genre for its time and arguably still is today, when others in the genre like Resident Evil dialed the b-movie schlock up as time went on Team Silent managed to keep the games both familiar and fresh with excellent music and cerebral stories.

     
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