The Love of Sport, Strategy, and Story: One More Ode to the Sports Game

This is a malleable, organic play experience that is essentially your own sports fan fiction with cooperation from the game engine that you think about and talk about in terms of a single narrative. This is something that games like Dwarf Fortress do, and it’s one of the single most powerful things a video games can do. Oddly enough, many triple-A games are too busy trying to be movies to tell stories this way. But sports games — the titles that people accuse of being lazy and uninspired — actually do this well.

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Psychotropic Self-Reflection and Hotline Miami

Each level forces you to accelerate to top speed, and move from target to target with rapid precision. Your thought process is largely reduced down to the instinct to survive. You are as easy to kill as most of the generic enemies in the game, and if this is a challenging level, you’ve likely already died about ten times at least. You can only focus on the immediate vicinity – whom can I attack next and how do I keep from being slaughtered?

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Sober Pirate Fantasies of Assassin’s Creed IV

But AC IV’s sobering pirate story is repeatedly interrupted by the need to be an AC game. AC falls firmly into the camp of modern triple-A games that want to make players feel powerful and awesome in a historical fiction type of narrative. Because pirate games are made so few and far between (or perhaps because they are made at all) it seems obligatory that developers need to include traditional pirate fiction tropes such as buried treasure, challenging the biggest ships on the water, and infiltrating forts at will. As a consequence, though, the story told within the game’s many cut scenes and the story told by the gameplay separate like two strips of Velcro.

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