A girl called Lara sets out on a quest to find a lost kingdom. In the middle of her voyage across the sea, her ship sinks and she ends up shipwrecked on an island, separated from her ship’s crew. On the island, she is captured by a stranger who then dies in a cave. Lara has to find her way out of the cave and find the crew she has lost. It won’t be easy.
It’s a good story, isn’t it?
This is the story the video game Tomb Raider is based on. A gripping story of adventure and mystery.
People live by stories. Stories make up our reality. They help us to form our own ideas about the world and the societies we live in.
And on the basis of this, video games use narrative to create a fully immersive experience for the player. To help the player work out what they need to do next. To tell a story.
A video game’s narrative is important because it helps the player feel more involved and more immersed in the game. It gives everything in the game meaning and helps the player understand what they need to do. The advantage of video games is that, unlike with other types of narrative, the player is part of the story. The player lives the entire experience, and shares the successes and setbacks of the main character.
In video games, stories are usually told in two ways: through videos and through animations. The stories are supported by the dialogue and the player’s actions. It is all of these elements that make up the narrative in video games.
And, like any good story, the narrative in video games includes both main and minor characters.
But, do all video games use narrative?
Although we may not think so, the vast majority do. However, narrative is most obvious in the following types of games:
In this type of video game, the story is the main focal point. Players have to solve mysteries and progress as the story evolves. Games such as The Legend of Zelda or Fallout integrate the narrative and the gameplay brilliantly.
This type of game gives the player much more freedom to explore. There are one or more main storylines, but the player has the freedom to create their own “mini stories”. These are normally stories in which the player has to solve puzzles or complete challenges to progress. At Wibbu, we decided that the adventure story was the most engaging and immersive option to take players on our educational journey. And so we created Ruby Rei, our language learning video game, full of fun, excitement, and of course, adventure!
In this type of game, the narrative isn’t so obvious. There is a story and an objective to reach or mission to complete, but there’s a much greater emphasis on the skill of the player to progress through the game. In many games, such as Super Mario Bros or Mario 64, the character and their personality are the main elements of the narrative.
Just like films, books, songs and comics, video games are a way of telling stories.
But for us here at Wibbu, as well as telling stories, video games are also a way of learning languages. Learning about different cultures. Communicating values. And, ultimately, becoming better people.
By Jonay Suárez, Head of Marketing at Wibbu.