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Tragedy is the Best Form of Video Game Storytelling

Tragedy is the Best Form of Video Game Storytelling

My first disclaimer is that my video game knowledge is limited, as compared to say a hardcore gamer. I’ve played my fair share of video games, but I only wish to speak on games that I’ve played in my lifetime.

The same goes with movies. I’ve seen a lot of movies, but I’m not clearing out the Redbox to see Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 4.

Anyways, there are movies that connect with you because the storytelling is so moving. One of my favorite all-time movies is “ Requiem for a Dream”. I would say that movie is a powerful modern day Shakespearean tragedy.

Shrek is my favorite animated film, because it’s a classic story with a twist, humility, and its hilarious.

Forrest Gump is a film I will readily admit brought me to tears by the end .

While storytelling is a driving force in film unless your name is Michael Bay, point is, more often you’ll find better storytelling in a film. There’s various genres of stories to tell, and the best directors, producers, and actors work together for the best result.

I’ll always remember my favorite film critic, the late great Roger Ebert saying, a video game could never be “art”. Despite his controversial standpoint of which I certainly don’t agree, I would wager to say its certainly a different “art” than cinema, novelists, poetry, and the like.

Video games are often a limited medium.They’re limited by time, money, corporate pressure, resources, talent. This is why finding games with great storytelling are so rare. Leonardo DiCaprio and Steven Spielberg won’t be acting and directing video game production anytime soon.

Another factor to consider is that great storytelling is a subjective opinion, but I would wager that those who are going to argue that Super Mario World and Call of Duty are “great stories”, are probably not worth listening to.

Because my gaming experience is limited, my choices are limited too. But below are my three examples of games where the story results in tragedy. All three games I consider to have superior storytelling to any game I’ve played. All three end in tragedy that I will delve into game by game.

Far Cry 3

I’m fresh off completing the story of Far Cry 3. I was sold on the game for fighting tigers, bears, and sharks, OH MY! And for being $5 on Steam.

Oh, and there’s that Vaas guy who’s considered a fantastic contemporary original villain. And I’m not trying to be down on Vaas impact, but he only exists for half the game before you inevitably murder him in the 4th dimension. Then there’s the ultimate evil villain that I don’t think gets enough credit, Hoyt, who is pretty ruthless and maniacal in his own rite.

A quick point I must make is that Hoyt is a better villain then he gets credit for. Most of the game you only know him by reputation. The guy you do not want to mess with. Hoyt may not be physically imposing, but his reputation and build precedes him. He’s not cunning with diatribes and vibrant personality, Hoyt’s more of a classic Bond villain. Cool, calm, collected, and will try to kill you at the poker table. But I get it, Vaas is more marketable and exciting. Moving on.

Far Cry 3 is not about Vaas or Hoyt. It’s a story about your atypical rich white kid turned college burnout, Jason Brody. After the opening scene where Jason’s brother is murdered, Jason, whom you play as in first person (more about this later), sets off to find his friends while reenacting his revenge on the pirates that captured him and Vaas who killed his brother.

This creates two conflicting emotions. Jason is at first fearful of killing another human being, but as he becomes a more skilled hunter, he lathers in the ensuing bloodbath he creates.

Jason realizes he must save his friends, but his attachment to the island and the island’s native tribe grows ever stronger. Jason is being bred into a warrior. Also, Jason was rescued by Rakyat tribe member, Dennis, so Jason becomes indebted to the Rakyat.

Jason’s college buddies, including his girlfriend, notice that Jason is changing. As the player, I did my best to immerse myself into the experience and ask myself, am I Jason Brody, or a full fledged tribal warrior? Do I care about saving my friends, or plotting revenge.

The game takes a few moments out of your violent island takeover to channel some emotional longing, before diving headfirst into more dead pirates.

By the time Jason has saved all of his friends and avenged the death of his brother by killing both Vaas and Hoyt, he has lost nearly all semblance of his former self.

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The ending of Far Cry 3 gives you two choices. You stay on the island by joining the tribal leader Citra, or save your friends and return home.

I chose to join Citra, which prompts Jason to kill his girlfriend and remove the final link to his past. I made the choice in respect to Jason’s transformation into becoming a tribal warrior. The final scene shows Citra and Jason having sex, where Citra stabs and kills Jason claiming their child will go on to become a great tribal leader.

The second option has Jason save his friends and leave the island. Citra begs Jason not to leave and says she loves Jason. Dennis sees this as an act of defiance and attempts to stab Jason. Citra blocks Dennis and instead Dennis accidentally stabs Citra. Jason narrates while on the ship that he has become a monster, but still pleads that there is some cognizance of his former self somewhere inside him.

The second ending would be perceived as the better result, despite Jason returning home with inevitable post traumatic stress. There’s more hope for Jason in the second ending (obviously since he doesn’t end up dead) and is less of a “tragedy”, but I would argue that the first ending is the more suitable ending due to the progression of the story. All in all, both endings serve their purpose and resolve the story. Brody’s tragedy in either ending is either physical, or mental.

The first ending is based off of primal human instinct, which the game grooms in Jason from the moment he makes his first kill. The lore of the island becomes consuming, and Jason becomes the heartbeat of it all. Jason kills his two adversaries with a knife, the most intimate way to kill someone. The game uses an all powerful knife as a symbol of power and dominance.

Far Cry 3 isn’t the most amazing story as compared to a later game I will discuss, but there’s some important factors to consider about its development.

Far Cry 3 at its base has a free roam island which as a selling point in Triple-A gaming is enough to get by. What I admire about Far Cry 3 is that it takes chances. Instead of battling Vaas and Hoyt traditionally, the game takes you to a different dimension to fight them knife to knife.

Sequences of the story are broken up by textual references to Alice in Wonderland, further emanating the message that Jason is further succumbing to the world of crazy.

Being a completely first person shooter puts you directly in the cockpit of Jason Brody. While he is the character we play, we become a direct extension of him. We pull the trigger, we use our knife. This is significant as compared to being 3rd person, which removes you from the character you are playing as.

Far Cry 3 takes chances, in its story, in its visuals, and as a game, which is commendable for a Triple-A game title. Neither of Far Cry 3’s ending leave you warm and fuzzy inside, but rather considering Jason Brody’s humanity, or lack thereof.

Far Cry 3

I’m fresh off completing the story of Far Cry 3. I was sold on the game for fighting tigers, bears, and sharks, OH MY! And for being $5 on Steam.

Oh, and there’s that Vaas guy who’s considered a fantastic contemporary original villain. And I’m not trying to be down on Vaas impact, but he only exists for half the game before you inevitably murder him in the 4th dimension. Then there’s the ultimate evil villain that I don’t think gets enough credit, Hoyt, who is pretty ruthless and maniacal in his own rite.

A quick point I must make is that Hoyt is a better villain then he gets credit for. Most of the game you only know him by reputation. The guy you do not want to mess with. Hoyt may not be physically imposing, but his reputation and build precedes him. He’s not cunning with diatribes and vibrant personality, Hoyt’s more of a classic Bond villain. Cool, calm, collected, and will try to kill you at the poker table. But I get it, Vaas is more marketable and exciting. Moving on.

Far Cry 3 is not about Vaas or Hoyt. It’s a story about your atypical rich white kid turned college burnout, Jason Brody. After the opening scene where Jason’s brother is murdered, Jason, whom you play as in first person (more about this later), sets off to find his friends while reenacting his revenge on the pirates that captured him and Vaas who killed his brother.

This creates two conflicting emotions. Jason is at first fearful of killing another human being, but as he becomes a more skilled hunter, he lathers in the ensuing bloodbath he creates.

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Jason realizes he must save his friends, but his attachment to the island and the island’s native tribe grows ever stronger. Jason is being bred into a warrior. Also, Jason was rescued by Rakyat tribe member, Dennis, so Jason becomes indebted to the Rakyat.

Jason’s college buddies, including his girlfriend, notice that Jason is changing. As the player, I did my best to immerse myself into the experience and ask myself, am I Jason Brody, or a full fledged tribal warrior? Do I care about saving my friends, or plotting revenge.

The game takes a few moments out of your violent island takeover to channel some emotional longing, before diving headfirst into more dead pirates.

By the time Jason has saved all of his friends and avenged the death of his brother by killing both Vaas and Hoyt, he has lost nearly all semblance of his former self.

The ending of Far Cry 3 gives you two choices. You stay on the island by joining the tribal leader Citra, or save your friends and return home.

I chose to join Citra, which prompts Jason to kill his girlfriend and remove the final link to his past. I made the choice in respect to Jason’s transformation into becoming a tribal warrior. The final scene shows Citra and Jason having sex, where Citra stabs and kills Jason claiming their child will go on to become a great tribal leader.

The second option has Jason save his friends and leave the island. Citra begs Jason not to leave and says she loves Jason. Dennis sees this as an act of defiance and attempts to stab Jason. Citra blocks Dennis and instead Dennis accidentally stabs Citra. Jason narrates while on the ship that he has become a monster, but still pleads that there is some cognizance of his former self somewhere inside him.

The second ending would be perceived as the better result, despite Jason returning home with inevitable post traumatic stress. There’s more hope for Jason in the second ending (obviously since he doesn’t end up dead) and is less of a “tragedy”, but I would argue that the first ending is the more suitable ending due to the progression of the story. All in all, both endings serve their purpose and resolve the story. Brody’s tragedy in either ending is either physical, or mental.

The first ending is based off of primal human instinct, which the game grooms in Jason from the moment he makes his first kill. The lore of the island becomes consuming, and Jason becomes the heartbeat of it all. Jason kills his two adversaries with a knife, the most intimate way to kill someone. The game uses an all powerful knife as a symbol of power and dominance.

Far Cry 3 isn’t the most amazing story as compared to a later game I will discuss, but there’s some important factors to consider about its development.

Far Cry 3 at its base has a free roam island which as a selling point in Triple-A gaming is enough to get by. What I admire about Far Cry 3 is that it takes chances. Instead of battling Vaas and Hoyt traditionally, the game takes you to a different dimension to fight them knife to knife.

Sequences of the story are broken up by textual references to Alice in Wonderland, further emanating the message that Jason is further succumbing to the world of crazy.

Being a completely first person shooter puts you directly in the cockpit of Jason Brody. While he is the character we play, we become a direct extension of him. We pull the trigger, we use our knife. This is significant as compared to being 3rd person, which removes you from the character you are playing as.

Far Cry 3 takes chances, in its story, in its visuals, and as a game, which is commendable for a Triple-A game title. Neither of Far Cry 3’s ending leave you warm and fuzzy inside, but rather considering Jason Brody’s humanity, or lack thereof.

Far Cry 3

I’m fresh off completing the story of Far Cry 3. I was sold on the game for fighting tigers, bears, and sharks, OH MY! And for being $5 on Steam.

Oh, and there’s that Vaas guy who’s considered a fantastic contemporary original villain. And I’m not trying to be down on Vaas impact, but he only exists for half the game before you inevitably murder him in the 4th dimension. Then there’s the ultimate evil villain that I don’t think gets enough credit, Hoyt, who is pretty ruthless and maniacal in his own rite.

A quick point I must make is that Hoyt is a better villain then he gets credit for. Most of the game you only know him by reputation. The guy you do not want to mess with. Hoyt may not be physically imposing, but his reputation and build precedes him. He’s not cunning with diatribes and vibrant personality, Hoyt’s more of a classic Bond villain. Cool, calm, collected, and will try to kill you at the poker table. But I get it, Vaas is more marketable and exciting. Moving on.

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Far Cry 3 is not about Vaas or Hoyt. It’s a story about your atypical rich white kid turned college burnout, Jason Brody. After the opening scene where Jason’s brother is murdered, Jason, whom you play as in first person (more about this later), sets off to find his friends while reenacting his revenge on the pirates that captured him and Vaas who killed his brother.

This creates two conflicting emotions. Jason is at first fearful of killing another human being, but as he becomes a more skilled hunter, he lathers in the ensuing bloodbath he creates.

Jason realizes he must save his friends, but his attachment to the island and the island’s native tribe grows ever stronger. Jason is being bred into a warrior. Also, Jason was rescued by Rakyat tribe member, Dennis, so Jason becomes indebted to the Rakyat.

Jason’s college buddies, including his girlfriend, notice that Jason is changing. As the player, I did my best to immerse myself into the experience and ask myself, am I Jason Brody, or a full fledged tribal warrior? Do I care about saving my friends, or plotting revenge.

The game takes a few moments out of your violent island takeover to channel some emotional longing, before diving headfirst into more dead pirates.

By the time Jason has saved all of his friends and avenged the death of his brother by killing both Vaas and Hoyt, he has lost nearly all semblance of his former self.

The ending of Far Cry 3 gives you two choices. You stay on the island by joining the tribal leader Citra, or save your friends and return home.

I chose to join Citra, which prompts Jason to kill his girlfriend and remove the final link to his past. I made the choice in respect to Jason’s transformation into becoming a tribal warrior. The final scene shows Citra and Jason having sex, where Citra stabs and kills Jason claiming their child will go on to become a great tribal leader.

The second option has Jason save his friends and leave the island. Citra begs Jason not to leave and says she loves Jason. Dennis sees this as an act of defiance and attempts to stab Jason. Citra blocks Dennis and instead Dennis accidentally stabs Citra. Jason narrates while on the ship that he has become a monster, but still pleads that there is some cognizance of his former self somewhere inside him.

The second ending would be perceived as the better result, despite Jason returning home with inevitable post traumatic stress. There’s more hope for Jason in the second ending (obviously since he doesn’t end up dead) and is less of a “tragedy”, but I would argue that the first ending is the more suitable ending due to the progression of the story. All in all, both endings serve their purpose and resolve the story. Brody’s tragedy in either ending is either physical, or mental.

The first ending is based off of primal human instinct, which the game grooms in Jason from the moment he makes his first kill. The lore of the island becomes consuming, and Jason becomes the heartbeat of it all. Jason kills his two adversaries with a knife, the most intimate way to kill someone. The game uses an all powerful knife as a symbol of power and dominance.

Far Cry 3 isn’t the most amazing story as compared to a later game I will discuss, but there’s some important factors to consider about its development.

Far Cry 3 at its base has a free roam island which as a selling point in Triple-A gaming is enough to get by. What I admire about Far Cry 3 is that it takes chances. Instead of battling Vaas and Hoyt traditionally, the game takes you to a different dimension to fight them knife to knife.

Sequences of the story are broken up by textual references to Alice in Wonderland, further emanating the message that Jason is further succumbing to the world of crazy.

Being a completely first person shooter puts you directly in the cockpit of Jason Brody. While he is the character we play, we become a direct extension of him. We pull the trigger, we use our knife. This is significant as compared to being 3rd person, which removes you from the character you are playing as.

Far Cry 3 takes chances, in its story, in its visuals, and as a game, which is commendable for a Triple-A game title. Neither of Far Cry 3’s ending leave you warm and fuzzy inside, but rather considering Jason Brody’s humanity, or lack thereof.

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