EL405: "Story deserves better treatment than that."
It's as if we are requiring the player to solve a crossword puzzle in order to turn the page to get more of the novel.
By and large, people don't play games because of the stories. The stories that wrap the games are usually side dishes for the brain. For one thing, it's damn rare to see a game story written by an actual writer. As a result, they are usually around the high-school level of literary sophistication at best.
... my background is as a writer, so this actually pisses me off. Story deserves better treatment than that. (Raph Koster, A Theory of Fun for Game Design)
I guess I'm an oddball, because I'm one of those people who plays games for the stories.
I'm a huge fan of roleplaying games, especially console RPGs like the Final Fantasy series, the Grandia series, the Star Ocean series, etc. I was surprised by Koster's suggestion that games require players to solve puzzles to "turn the page," because that's actually exactly how I feel when I play one of these types of games. Whenever I run into a difficult section in a roleplaying game--a rare occasion for me now, since I've "chunked" roleplaying games so much (to the point of "grokking," I suppose)--I can't stand to put the controller down, and I get really frustrated because I want to see what happens next in the story, but I have to complete the task to earn that.
I can agree that most game stories are pretty "juvenile," as Koster says, but I have encountered a few exceptions. Final Fantasy X, for instance, has an absolutely incredible story that has a theme, just like any novel. It's a game about a gang of close-knit friends trying to defeat a creature called Sin (ah, irony), a beast that terrorizes the entire planet. However, as the player progresses through the game, he slowly starts to unravel a tapestry of deception that cloaks the game world, one as intricate as any plot from a popular mystery novel.
Still, most games can only dream of achieving that level of depth. It's a shame, too, because games with excellent stories like FFX provide players with most of the benefits of reading a great book and playing a great game at the same time.