Essay Video Games: A New Experience?

Essay Video Games: A New Experience?

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In 1972, the famous video game Pong was released and quickly became the first popular arcade game. A simple game based on ping-pong with archaic graphic design and controls. Thirty-nine years later we have gone from Pong to elaborate Hollywood style games that are based around narrative like Call of Duty or Metal Gear Solid. Video games have come from simply being games to becoming what some argue is a new medium for narrative that can tell a story uniquely and completely unlike film and literature.
Now Pong included no narrative, but other early video games did. Mario Bros. tells the story of an Italian plumber who must travel through a magical kingdom to defeat a dragon-like turtle who has captured his love, the princess. A very shallow fairy tell that is only used as a back-drop for the icon of video games. The classic game Space Invaders tells its narrative by the title and game play alone. There are invaders from space that must be stopped, and that is exactly the game. The narrative simply gives you setting for the game. (Juul n.pag.) This was the basic use for narrative within a video game.
Current games like the Final Fantasy and The Legend of Zelda series prioritize and even sell around their stories. The Final Fantasy series play as turn-based role-playing games with a huge focus on story and character. Playing and completion is encouraged through engaging in and reaching the end of the narrative. The Legend of Zelda games stray from linear story-telling and use a more open-world game. That roughly means the player is able to explore many things at their own leisure and continue on with the story when they wish.
Since it is now established that video games past and present tell at least some form of a story, what...

... middle of paper ...

...jectives, player choice, engagement, involved narrative, exploratory worlds, and entertaining game play are the lifeline of a new narrative. In the very end, a game needs to be fun and engage in the player to live out and explore this new narrative medium.

Works Cited

Bissell, Thomas. Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter. New York: Pantheon Books, 2010. Print.
Kent, Steven. The Ultimate History of Video Games: From Pong to Pokemon--The Story Behind the Craze That Touched Our Lives and Changed the World. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2001. Print.
Ebert, Roger. "Video Games Can Never Be Art." Chicago Sun-Times. 16 Apr. 2010. Web. 18 Feb 2011. <>
Juul, Jesper. "A Brief Note on Games and Narratives. " GameStudies. 1 July, 2001. Web. 18 Feb. 2011.

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