I previously introduced a game called 428: Shibuya Scramble. It had a very emotional story, and after thinking about it for a while, I felt like it could have actually been made into a movie instead.
In that’s the case, then can those feelings you get from a game be replaced by what you get from movies, comics, and other form of media?
Well, since I’m writing this post, the answer is obviously no. Games have their own unique way of storytelling called narrative game mechanics. It refers to making the player feel what the game character is feeling through various forms of interaction, in order to increase the player’s understanding and empathy towards the character.
I’ll be going over two good examples of this below.
1. The Liar Princess and Blind Prince
Setting: The player takes the role of a wolf who accidentally blinded the prince. She felt very guilty about it, so she exchanged her singing voice for the ability to transform. After that, she took human form and proclaimed herself to be a princess and hid the fact that she’s a monster.
Narrative Gameplay Mechanic: When the player takes the role of the wolf, they are not allowed to touch the prince, and must prevent the prince from finding out that she’s the monster who blinded him. However, the player can transform into the princess at any time, and the princess can hold the prince’s hand and lead him. When she is a wolf, she is invincible and can instantly kill the enemies, but she can’t stay with the prince. However, when she is the princess, she can stick together with the prince, but that isn’t true self.
As the princess leading the prince.
As the wolf protecting the prince.
The mechanics creates a situation that allows the player to experience the wolf’s hard decision first hand. Even if the player doesn’t read and merely plays the game, they will realize that the princess is happiest when she’s the princess (when she’s lying), and her gaze never leaves the prince.
What they will eventually feel is that “She’s a very self-depreciating wolf, she doesn’t accept herself for who she truly is”.
So why is it so moving?
Various events happened at the game of the game (I’m not going to spoil it for you), which made the prince to accepting the princess as a wolf, and led to her accepting herself as a wolf as well. If we call narrative gameplay mechanics rules, then it means that this form of acceptance is something that surpasses the rules, which puts a heavy emphasis on it and truly makes the players feel for the characters.
2. Time Travelers (by Level-5)
Setting: There are 5 time travelers in the game. When they are in danger, they will instinctively use their powers and reset the current timeline to avoid danger. The actual time travelers don’t actually know about this power of theirs. The entire game happens within one day, where the time travelers will influence each other, and when one survives, it may cause another to die. The player must find out how to save all 5 time travelers.
Narrative Gameplay Mechanic: In the game, the player is like a god who can decide the decisions each time traveler makes in different scenarios, which then influences how the story roles out. After playing after 5 hours, a player would have gotten used having a character die, getting the timeline reset, then making a different choice to prevent the character’s death.
And when the player finally enters the final chapter without any of the 5 time travelers dying, a shocking thing occurs!
What makes it so moving?
No matter what choice the player makes in the final chapter, one of the characters will die. But, there is a single character who will not reset the timeline when he dies.
Why? Because he dies for the future of his loved one. His wish surpassed his desire to live, which is why he doesn’t instinctively use his powers.
The game is able to show the player a situation when love is so great that it even surpasses one’s own life.
Narrative gameplay mechanics are often part of the actually setting of the game, and also reveals what the point that the developers want to deliver, something perfection shown in Time Travelers.
The one who dreams of being a hero finally breaks free of the game’s rules and becomes a true hero.
I believe I mentioned it in the post “Using Games to Tell a Story“, I don’t intend to devalue other forms of media. Games cannot hope to compare to the beauty writing from novels, but games do have their own uniqueness that other forms of media cannot measure up to.
The beauty of narrative gameplay mechanics is that it breaks the limit of languages, meaning the player is no longer a bystander.
I’m someone who places a heavy emphasis on this as well. You can download our latest game and try it for yourself! (Remember to add the game to your wish list as well!)
本作雖然有繁中版，但由於 Sega 繁中區幾乎在香港零宣傳，因此它是香港接近零人氣的作品。
本作只有英語和日語，因此同樣香港零人氣。它在日本 Fami 通登上了白金殿堂 (36/40)。
世界觀背景：本作有 5 位時光旅行者，當他們遇到危險時，會下意識使用能力，重置掉當下的時空，以此避開危險，而這一點本人並不知道。遊戲發生在一天內，5 位時光旅行者會互相影響，當其中一人生還，可能又會導致另一位時光旅行者死亡，玩家要在眾多可能性之中憑著推理去選出可以拯救 5 位時光旅行者的時空。
就這樣 5 位時光旅行者以不死身之姿步入了最終章，驚人的事情發生了！
其實我在 遊戲敘事的優勢 一文中，都大概說過，我並不是要眨低遊戲以外的媒體，正如小說裡面文字的優美和空間也是遊戲所無法攀比的，而遊戲亦有其他媒體無法比擬的魅力。