(Goddamn I need to work on titles)
As we've seen the proverbial rise and fall of the underwear stain known as Star Wars: The Clone Wars
in theaters, I looked forward to the Spill Crew's unkind damnations toward the film. While I did enjoy the crews' rants against the piece of garbage, Leon (being the agitator of most of my misery in this world, obviously), revealed that he was surprised that the story with potential, the video game The Force Unleashed
, was more promising than The Clone Wars
movie and suggested that they should have flipped the mediums.
Now I'm offended, not because Leon suggested that the younger video-game oriented nerds (the sons of the comic book nerds) get shafted with the feces deposit Lucas was more than happy to squeeze out, but that Leon's words inferred that video games aren't suppose to have better stories than movies, or at least aren't as deserving to tell a story as movies are. It's interesting to observe that Hollywood is delving more and more into video games to create movies (most of the video-game turned movie stories weren't good compared to a standard of either medium to begin with, though). And while perhaps the founding Spill crew members are excluded from the rich resources of plot that video games can offer, I hope that I will able to fill the void within your empty lives with knowledge. So with that I present the *Deep breath* The Top five video game stories that can rival the best movies. I really gotta find better titles...
5. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
Pushing the boundaries of storytelling with the first Metal Gear Solid game, creator Hideo Kojima crafts a world of conspiracy, war, and desperation as the legendary soldier Solid Snake goes into battle for one last time. Let's get the bad out of the way: this series needs a script editor like Michael Moore needs a treadmill (lots of repetition of information, really unnecessary dialogue). If you haven't been keeping up with the 20+ years of story, you're shit out of luck if you're going into this as a noob hoping to understand everything. The characters are imaginative and the plot is nothing short of epic, and there are a couple of tear-jerking moments within the story. Oh yeah, and for those of you with an I.Q. of 8 there are a series of jokes based around defecation in there, too.
4. God of War
It has been a challenge for any medium to adapt tales from Greek mythology since many of the stories can be so violent and disgusting they might alienate curious minds. God of War
is odd as it does not try to sugarcoat the ferocity or shock that Greek stories hold - in fact, it embraces it. Using Greek mythology as a background, players are introduced to Kratos, a barbarian soldier with a tragic past who has become a servant to the Gods. Kratos, demanding to be released from his tormenting nightmares, agrees to kill Ares, the God of War. Even as the game ends, the suffering of Kratos appears to be an indefinite part of his being for the rest of his existence.
Imagine if Tim Burton designed video games, then imagine he wasn't so emo-obsessed; you get this game. Psychonauts is perhaps the funniest video game to ever grace gamers (And no, Conker's Bad Fur Day
is not a comedy, it's a bunch of frat boy jokes turned into a piss-poor game). From the mind of Tim Schafer, Psychonauts brings out a game that not only has heart, but the pure joy of intelligent humor as well. The story begins with Raz, a runaway from the circus, fleeing to a summer camp for psychics to become a 'Psychonaut'. It's only later that Raz discovers an evil plot that involves everyone at the camp, leaving it to him to save the day. Even a cynical man like myself couldn't help but fall in love with the characters and plot twists as the insanity and hilarity always coincided with each other (Conspiracy plots against the dairy industry, a summer councilor with a violent hatred for tacky lamps, etc.). Imagine the zaniness of an episode of Freakazoid
with the humor of Curb Your Enthusiasm
or Arrested Development
then mix them together, this game would be the delicious fruit smoothie of goodness that would be created.
2. Grand Theft Auto IV
While its predecessors had stories that were usually more tongue-and-cheek in seriousness, this game really makes the series turn on the corner of plot (in a good way). This is HBO quality storytelling; immigrant Niko Bellic arrives in America only to discover the promises of wealth and happiness the American dream offers is merely an illusion and must live on the payroll of crime to survive. What's really intriguing about this series is that Niko does have a conscious even though he has excepted his life as a gangster and is in fact regretful for his past transgressions against innocent people. At one point, Niko admits that his past actions make him a soulless monster beyond deserving forgiveness. Along with the sharp satire and witty dialogue, Grand Theft Auto IV
teaches that one's past always follows them and there is no such thing as a second chance. I would say that the story is on par with some of the best crime films that the movie business has offered (Goodfellas
, The Godfather
, American Gangster
This is gaming's 1984
. This is gaming's Citizen Kane
. This is gaming's Watchmen
. When people question the ability for storytelling video games can offer, the gaming industry shows them this game. Bioshock takes themes emanating from Atlas Shrugged
with a main adversary with the psychology, intelligence and appearance of Orson Welles (face it guys, it IS Orson Welles). The player takes the role of Jack who, after finding shelter after a plane crash, finds his way down into the once utopian society of Rapture, only to discover that the citizens have descended into madness and despair. The game deals with heavy subjects that plague our society today, including stem cell research, morality, the role of government and the economy, religion, free will, and so many others. The story is presented heavily in audio recordings that document the decline in the once prominent society. If you thought Fight Club
or The Prestige
had great plot twists, wait until you play the story.