Over at Armchair Empire, there’s a post about story in games. We’ve talked about that before, in Tell Me A Story and When Story Matters in RPGs.

The author, Jeff Nash, built his piece on Wizardry: Proving Grounds Of The Mad Overlord. His contention is that, while the game had no real story in itself, the player had total freedom to create the story mentally.

Maybe so, but I don’t quite agree. When I played Wizardry, my main concern was just staying alive, sweating every inch of the way. No story was building up in my mind.

It is certainly true that your typical hack-and-slash product has a thin plot at best, and the player can fill in details if so inclined. But how many really do that?

From previous comments here, I know that at least some do. But to me, doing a dungeon crawl is just that, and it’s not worthwhile to make something up as I go along. It simply isn’t satisfactory.

On the other hand, it’s also true that having a real story, such as in Neverwinter Nights and similar, puts the player in something of a straitjacket. The tale is already written, and your choices - if any - are already set.

This is the problem with CRPGs, as we’ve noted before. They aren’t flexible, and there is no true way for the player to go outside pre-defined limits.

Read the article and see what you think.

Storytelling in RPGs on Armchair Empire