History Main / SlidingScaleOfGameplayAndStoryIntegration

18th May '16 12:40:00 PM res20stupid
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* In the PSP version of ''Anime/DigimonAdventure'' the game introduces RelationshipValues between the human party members which gives extra power to their {{Mons}} based on how well they get along, which often reflects on their own personal issues (Yamato can raise his rank with Sora by stating that he cooks at home instead of his mother, [[ParentalAbandonment which reflects her own perceived issues with her own mother]]) or just being nice with each other (Jou can easily raise his rank with the others during an early episode). Everyone starts at Rank 1, except Yamato and Takeru who start at Rank 3 due to being brothers.
2nd May '16 10:11:04 PM Koveras
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* ''VisualNovel/HerTearsWereMyLight'' does this with RenPy's basic visual novel mechanics. You would normally only use the rewind button in other visual novels to re-read some text that you missed, but in this game, the character Time explicitly has the power to rewind. Going back and progressing through the same conversation again with new information can lead to a different outcome. The same goes for reloading from a save point or even restarting the game from the beginning.

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* ''VisualNovel/HerTearsWereMyLight'' does this with RenPy's UsefulNotes/RenPy's basic visual novel mechanics. You would normally only use the rewind button in other visual novels to re-read some text that you missed, but in this game, the character Time explicitly has the power to rewind. Going back and progressing through the same conversation again with new information can lead to a different outcome. The same goes for reloading from a save point or even restarting the game from the beginning.
2nd May '16 8:31:54 PM NilSpace
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* ''VisualNovel/HerTearsWereMyLight'' does this with RenPy's basic visual novel mechanics. You would normally only use the rewind button in other visual novels to re-read some text that you missed, but in this game, the character Time explicitly has the power to rewind. Going back and progressing through the same conversation again with new information can lead to a different outcome. The same goes for reloading from a save point or even restarting the game from the beginning.
2nd May '16 9:56:49 AM Koveras
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** A gameplay and plot point is that the descendents of dragons (namely you) can use dragon veins. If you fight a Nohr or Hoshido royal, they can ''also'' use the vein against you as well.
*** This also carries over to the second generation - naturally, children of royal figures will have the ability to access Dragon Veins. This includes children of commoner fathers who married royalty.
** Gunter is your bodyguard figure, and his personal skill buffs him whenever he is fighting alongside the avatar.
*** Personal skills in ''general'' are either tied to a unit's class and/or their character. For example, Ryoma the samurai has "Bushido" as his personal skill, whereas a former criminal Niles has "Kidnap" as his own skill.
** When one fights the royal siblings in ''Conquest'' or ''Birthright'', their behaviour and even their stats sometimes reflect their feelings towards the avatar. Such as [[spoiler: The eldest being reluctant to attack during the DuelBoss - Xander does so because he is committing SuicideByCop, whereas Ryoma is fighting with honour and flat out ''allows'' you to make the first move.]] Or Sakura intentionally not getting in the player characters' way and being a SkippableBoss.

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** A gameplay and plot point is that the descendents of dragons (namely you) can use dragon veins. If you fight a Nohr or Hoshido royal, they can ''also'' use the vein against you as well. \n*** This also carries over to the second generation - naturally, children of royal figures will have the ability to access Dragon Veins. This includes children of commoner fathers who married royalty.
** Gunter is your bodyguard figure, and his personal skill buffs him whenever he is fighting alongside the avatar.
***
Personal skills in ''general'' are either tied to a unit's class and/or their character. For example, Ryoma the samurai has "Bushido" as his personal skill, whereas a former criminal Niles has "Kidnap" as his own skill. \n Gunter is your bodyguard figure, and his personal skill buffs him whenever he is fighting alongside the avatar.
** When one fights the royal siblings in ''Conquest'' or ''Birthright'', their behaviour and even their stats sometimes reflect their feelings towards the avatar. Such as [[spoiler: The [[spoiler:the eldest being reluctant to attack during the DuelBoss - Xander does so because he is committing SuicideByCop, whereas Ryoma is fighting with honour and flat out ''allows'' you to make the first move.]] Or Sakura intentionally not getting in the player characters' way and being a SkippableBoss.
2nd May '16 12:22:50 AM Nicoaln
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*** This also carries over to the second generation - naturally, children of royal figures will have the ability to access Dragon Veins. This includes children of commoner fathers who married royalty.


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*** Personal skills in ''general'' are either tied to a unit's class and/or their character. For example, Ryoma the samurai has "Bushido" as his personal skill, whereas a former criminal Niles has "Kidnap" as his own skill.
** When one fights the royal siblings in ''Conquest'' or ''Birthright'', their behaviour and even their stats sometimes reflect their feelings towards the avatar. Such as [[spoiler: The eldest being reluctant to attack during the DuelBoss - Xander does so because he is committing SuicideByCop, whereas Ryoma is fighting with honour and flat out ''allows'' you to make the first move.]] Or Sakura intentionally not getting in the player characters' way and being a SkippableBoss.
15th Apr '16 11:18:30 PM Koveras
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Video games (and games in general) are a unique storytelling medium in that they demand active participation by the audience (read: the player) in order to advance the narrative. Historically, however, the massive age gap between traditional, non-interactive storytelling and the rapidly evolving interactive medium gave rise to a dichotomy of pure gameplay vs. storytelling, which can be defined as follows:

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Video games (and games in general) are a unique storytelling medium in that they demand active participation by the audience (read: the player) in order to advance the narrative. Historically, however, the massive age gap between traditional, non-interactive storytelling and the rapidly evolving interactive medium gave rise to a dichotomy of pure gameplay vs. storytelling, which can be for the purpose of this article are defined as follows:
15th Apr '16 1:15:52 PM polymath
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* '''Gameplay''' is the type of interaction between the players and the video game where the players input commands to overcome ''challenges'' the game throws at them. Historically, most common type of gameplay is combat, but it also includes puzzle-solving, {{stealth|BasedGame}}, CharacterCustomization, etc., etc.
* '''Story''' is the type of interaction between player and video game where the game ''narrates'' a story[[note]]Not just the main plot, but also character arcs, themes, and setting exposition.[[/note]] to the player, and typically provides narrative context for various elements of the game. Traditionally, video games narrate via cutscenes and dialogues (even though [[DialogueTree interactive dialogue]] overlaps with gameplay).

Another definition would be that the gameplay ultimately revolves around numbers and is governed by mathematical rules, while the story revolves around words and symbols and is governed by the rules of emotional narrative. Either way, it is highly rare for a video game [[NoPlotNoProblem not to have any story whatsoever]] (think ''VideoGame/{{Pong}}'' level of storylessness) and, even more so, to not have any gameplay (though this depends on whether you count {{Kinetic Novel}}s as games), and these two aspects are usually integrated at least a little--after all, you can hardly put pony-breeding gameplay against the backdrop of a galaxy-spanning war story. Similarly, it is often impossible to extricate the "gameplay" part from the "story" part for some game elements: e.g. level design serves a practical function for gameplay, but also conveys information about the game's setting to the player - even setting one's gameplay in an environment comprised entirely of featureless white cubes would tell the player something about the game's setting, for example. Additionally, while it is virtually impossible for a game to have ''no'' story at all, story is not the only aspect that evokes an emotional reaction in the players, and "raw" gameplay can have the same effect in its own right, independent of the context it is placed in.

In any case, the gap between gameplay and story exists, and despite the medium's relative youth, video games have already developed a rather standardized set of general and genre-specific [[VideoGameTropes gameplay-only conventions]]. While definitely not as old as storytelling conventions, [[TropesAreTools they are not fundamentally different and game designers borrow from them]] without considering how they fit InUniverse. Indeed, very few players [[FridgeLogic stop to ponder why]] the PlayerCharacter's well-being seems to be [[HitPoints divided into numbered chunks]] but [[CriticalExistenceFailure the only one that matters is the last]], because it's an established gameplay convention and most developers no longer feel the need to {{justif|iedTrope}}y it. This becomes even more obvious when the game's gameplay rules are adapted from an external source, such as TabletopGames.

This leads to situations where gameplay rules blatantly contradict the story rules--and such instances are usually easily identifiable and are listed on GameplayAndStorySegregation page. But again, a few games segregate their gameplay from the story completely, and there is usually an overlap at least on the contextual or thematic level. Likewise, there are practically no video games where the gameplay and the story are integrated so tightly that they become indistinguishable, simply because the technology for procedurally generated narratives does not yet exist. It is thus more accurate to speak of individual ''instances'' of gameplay and story integration/segregation, as a single game can provide examples of both--therefore, "gameplay and story integration" is less of a dichotomy and more of a continuum, wherein games can be sorted depending on whether integration instances outnumber segregation ones or vice versa.

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* '''Gameplay''' is the type of interaction between the players and the video game where the players input commands to overcome ''challenges'' the game throws at them. Historically, the most common type of gameplay is combat, but it also includes puzzle-solving, {{stealth|BasedGame}}, CharacterCustomization, etc., etc.
* '''Story''' is the type of interaction between the player and the video game where the game ''narrates'' a story[[note]]Not just the main plot, but also character arcs, themes, and setting exposition.[[/note]] to the player, and which typically provides narrative context for various elements of the game. Traditionally, video games narrate via cutscenes and dialogues (even though [[DialogueTree interactive dialogue]] overlaps with gameplay).

Another definition would be that the gameplay ultimately revolves around numbers and is governed by mathematical rules, while the story revolves around words and symbols and is governed by the rules of emotional narrative. Either way, it is highly rare for a video game [[NoPlotNoProblem not to have any story whatsoever]] (think ''VideoGame/{{Pong}}'' level of storylessness) and, even more so, to not have any gameplay (though this depends on whether you count {{Kinetic Novel}}s as games), and these two aspects are usually integrated at least a little--after little -- after all, you can hardly put pony-breeding gameplay against the backdrop of a galaxy-spanning war story. Similarly, it is often impossible to extricate the "gameplay" part from the "story" part for some game elements: e.g. for example, level design serves a practical function for gameplay, but also conveys information about the game's setting to the player - even -- and attempting to avoid this by setting one's gameplay in an environment comprised entirely of featureless white cubes would still tell the player something ''something'' about the game's setting, for example.setting. Additionally, while it is virtually impossible for a game to have ''no'' story at all, story is not the only aspect that evokes an emotional reaction in the players, and "raw" gameplay can have the same effect in its own right, independent of the context it is placed in.

In any case, the Since a gap between gameplay and story exists, and despite the medium's relative youth, video games have already developed a rather standardized set of general and genre-specific [[VideoGameTropes gameplay-only conventions]]. While definitely not as old as storytelling conventions, [[TropesAreTools they are not fundamentally different and game designers borrow from them]] without considering how they fit InUniverse. Indeed, very few players [[FridgeLogic stop to ponder why]] the PlayerCharacter's well-being seems to be [[HitPoints divided into numbered chunks]] but [[CriticalExistenceFailure the only one that matters is the last]], because it's an established gameplay convention and most developers no longer feel the need to {{justif|iedTrope}}y it. This becomes even more obvious when the game's gameplay rules are adapted from an external source, such as TabletopGames.

TabletopGames.

This leads to situations where gameplay rules blatantly contradict the story rules--and rules -- and such instances cases are usually easily identifiable and are listed on GameplayAndStorySegregation page. But again, a few games segregate their gameplay from the story completely, ''completely'', and there is usually an overlap at least on the contextual or thematic level. Likewise, there are practically no video games where the gameplay and the story are integrated so tightly that they become indistinguishable, simply if only because the technology for procedurally generated narratives does not yet exist. It is thus Therefore, it's more accurate to speak of individual ''instances'' of gameplay and story integration/segregation, as a single game can provide examples of both--therefore, both; ultimately, "gameplay and story integration" is less of a dichotomy and more of a continuum, wherein and games can be sorted depending based on whether integration instances outnumber segregation ones or vice versa.



* '''Deliberate Integration''': Here, the developers take a critical look at both the gameplay and narrative conventions, then employ one to reinforce the other. Ironically, the more formulaic the genre-specific gameplay is, the easier its formula is to adapt to a story. See below for a list of common tricks to get a game up here.
* '''Natural Integration''': The vast majority of games falls in the bloated middle of the scale, where the gameplay and the story draw from separate convention pools but there is enough conceptual overlap for the player to [[WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief just ignore small internal inconsistencies]]. Because it is so common, a list of games in this category would be way too long to be of any use.

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* '''Deliberate Integration''': Here, the The developers take a critical look at both the gameplay and narrative conventions, then employ one to reinforce the other. Ironically, the more formulaic the genre-specific gameplay is, the easier its formula is to adapt to a story. See below for a list of common tricks to get a game up here.
here. There ''are'' cases of deliberate integration done well, even in innovative ways, but greater awareness and diversity in games and game genres has led to integration being forced to inflate perceptions of a game's "depth." Games within the Deliberate Integration category could just as easily be placed on their own continuum, but [[RuleOfCautiousEditingJudgment this scale simply sorts games by integration of gameplay and story without delving into questions of art and quality]].
* '''Natural Integration''': The vast majority of games falls in the bloated middle of the scale, where the gameplay and the story draw from separate convention pools but there is enough conceptual overlap for the player to [[WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief just ignore small internal inconsistencies]]. Because Since it is so common, a list of games in this category would be way far too long to be of any use.use.



** Individual enemy AI can be tweaked to reflect their personal agendas: e.g. an enemy may concentrate on a party member they consider their ArchEnemy and ignore everyone else, or, conversely, never directly attack a particular party member at all.

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** Individual enemy AI can be tweaked to reflect their personal agendas: e.g. for example, an enemy may concentrate on a party member they consider their ArchEnemy and ignore everyone else, or, conversely, never directly attack a particular party member at all.



* Using the GameSystem as canvas, i.e. defining plot elements in terms of the underlying gameplay rules:
** Accurately reflecting characters' story characterization in their gameplay stats and, conversely, the stats in their story-relevant abilities. While it is trivial that a melee fighter would have a high Strength score, it is much less common for him to use that strength for [[StatisticallySpeaking anything except bashing skulls]] (e.g. for lifting a fallen tree to free someone trapped under it). Particularly common is the use of the LuckStat to reflect a character BornLucky or [[BornUnlucky Unlucky]], since the latter tropes can be exploited for a number of subplots or simple {{Running Gag}}s.

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* Using the GameSystem as canvas, i.e. canvas -- that is, defining plot elements in terms of the underlying gameplay rules:
** Accurately reflecting characters' story characterization in their gameplay stats and, conversely, the stats in their story-relevant abilities. While it is trivial that a melee fighter would have a high Strength score, it is much less common for him to use that strength for [[StatisticallySpeaking anything except bashing skulls]] (e.g. , for lifting a fallen tree to free someone trapped under it). Particularly common is the use of the LuckStat to reflect a character BornLucky or [[BornUnlucky Unlucky]], since the latter tropes can be exploited for a number of subplots or simple {{Running Gag}}s.



** Having characters use the same abilities in cutscenes as they would in actual gameplay--better yet, have them [[NoCutsceneInventoryInertia only use said abilities to the extent that they have developed them in gameplay terms]] up to that point.

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** Having characters use the same abilities in cutscenes as they would in actual gameplay--better gameplay -- better yet, have them [[NoCutsceneInventoryInertia only use said abilities to the extent that they have developed them in gameplay terms]] up to that point.



** Being badly wounded or suffering from certain status effects
** Approaching [[GunsInChurch a friendly NPC with weapons drawn]] or an enemy, with weapons sheathed
** Wearing or not wearing certain pieces of functional equipment (often body armor), or not wearing anything at all
** Having high {{Skill Score}}s that have no impact on normal dialogue
* Introducing a PlotCouponThatDoesSomething, i.e. an item that not only moves the plot along but also comes with interesting additional gameplay mechanics.
* Having cumulative StatMeters (e.g. KarmaMeter or SanityMeter) affect both gameplay (e.g. in the abilities that the player can use) and story (e.g. in the endings the player receives).
* Basing StoryBranching not only on explicit decisions but also on how the player solves challenges, e.g. on whether they prefer stealth or combat, weapons or magic, whether they kill enemies or take them down non-lethally, etc.

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** Being badly wounded or suffering from certain status effects
effects.
** Approaching [[GunsInChurch a friendly NPC with weapons drawn]] or an enemy, with weapons sheathed
sheathed.
** Wearing or not wearing certain pieces of functional equipment (often body armor), or not wearing anything at all
all.
** Having high {{Skill Score}}s that have no impact on normal dialogue
dialogue.
* Introducing a PlotCouponThatDoesSomething, i.e. an item that not only moves the plot along but also comes with interesting additional gameplay mechanics.
* Having cumulative StatMeters (e.g. , KarmaMeter or SanityMeter) affect both gameplay (e.g. in (in the abilities that the player can use) and story (e.g. in (in the endings the player receives).
* Basing StoryBranching not only on explicit decisions but also on how the player solves challenges, e.g. on such as whether they prefer stealth or combat, weapons or magic, whether they kill enemies or take them down non-lethally, etc.



* Themes and narratives which reflect the gameplay; e.g. VideoGamesAndFate, in which the strict linearity of the gameplay is a plot and thematic element as well as a gameplay contrivance.

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* Themes and narratives which reflect the gameplay; e.g. gameplay, essentially playing with the concept of VideoGamesAndFate, in which the strict linearity of the gameplay is a plot and thematic element as well as a gameplay contrivance.
26th Mar '16 10:50:01 AM res20stupid
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* In the ''VideoGame/InFAMOUS'' games Cole and Delsin's EXP is divided as both Hero, Neutral and Infamous and earning either Hero or Infamous EXP will tip the KarmaMeter into the direction of which is higher. This also determines how your powers emerge. But this applies to all Conduits and not just the player characters, with evil characters such as Sasha and [[spoiler: [[VideoGame/InFAMOUS2 Bertrand]]]] having their Conduit powers express themselves in Lovecraftian ways.
8th Mar '16 10:14:21 PM poi99
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* Depending on how one defines story, [[SimulationGame the life sim and management sim genres]] could be a rare example of the "perfect integration" ideal, [[NoPlotNoProblem the complete opposite,]] or something in between. On one hand, there are rarely any specific characters that the player does not themselves create or story arcs that the player does not themselves set in motion via the play mechanics, but on the other hand...that's sort of the appeal of those genres: ''you'' shape most of the events in the game. The game doesn't dictate anything narrative-related to you except the mechanics. The traditional delineation between the mechanics of the game and the themes of the story simply isn't there because the gameplay essentially ''is'' the story, and its mechanics are the themes (e.g. what it takes to successfully manage a [[VideoGame/SimCity city]] or [[VideoGame/{{Civilization}} nation,]] [[VideoGame/TheSims what makes people happy and successful and what it takes to achieve those things]], etc.).

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* Depending on how one defines story, [[SimulationGame the life sim and management sim genres]] could be a rare example of the "perfect integration" ideal, [[NoPlotNoProblem the complete opposite,]] or something in between. On one hand, there are Such games rarely any specific characters that the player does not themselves create or story arcs that the player does not themselves set in motion via the play mechanics, but on the other hand...that's sort of the appeal of those genres: ''you'' shape most of the events in the game. The game doesn't dictate anything narrative-related to you except the mechanics. The include traditional delineation between the mechanics of the game and the story or narrative themes of the story simply isn't there because the gameplay essentially ''is'' the story, and its mechanics are the themes (e.g. what it takes to successfully manage a [[VideoGame/SimCity city]] or [[VideoGame/{{Civilization}} nation,]] [[VideoGame/TheSims what makes people happy and successful and what it takes to achieve those things]], etc.).
7th Mar '16 9:42:42 PM ReyKenobi
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** An inversion with this happens in ''Fates'', similar to ''VideoGame/Persona4''. Arthur's RunningGag is that he has ''terrible'' luck. If you look at his stats, you'll notice that his luck stat is only one, and that his growth rate is only either 5-10%. His personal skill also ''reduces'' his chance to avoid critical hits by five.


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* In ''VideoGame/FireEmblemAwakening'':
** Chrom uses the titular Fire Emblem as a shield when he is promoted to Master Lord. Promote him before he gets it in the story and he won't have it on his model. Later on when it is stolen, Chrom won't actually have it on his model.
* ''VideoGame/FireEmblemFates'':
** One part in the story features Elise or Takumi being stricken with a plot related illness. In the next map, you can't use them.
** A gameplay and plot point is that the descendents of dragons (namely you) can use dragon veins. If you fight a Nohr or Hoshido royal, they can ''also'' use the vein against you as well.
** Gunter is your bodyguard figure, and his personal skill buffs him whenever he is fighting alongside the avatar.
** In the "my castle" feature, if you try to Arena-abuse to get around the limited experience in ''Conquest'', it actually won't give you any experience points. You can still Arena-abuse for food and gems though. Meanwhile in Birthright, you ''can'' arena-abuse for experience.
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