TBT 13: Storytelling in Video Games

In this episode of The Book Table, some of our gaming whisperers discuss elements of storytelling in some of their favourite video games.

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In this episode you heard from:
Ayesha
Dorothy | @bwp_dorothy
Louisa | @otterbewriting
Rich

The Book Table is a podcast from Backroom Whispering Productions. Our theme music is by Mark Wayne.

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Worldbuilding and Storytelling in Elder Scrolls and Dragon Age

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Akhi Pillalamarri
Web Content Contributor
Twitter | Website

Storytelling and world-building in games can be quite hit or miss for me. Therefore, in this post, I will examine two first-person role-playing fantasy games (RPGs) that I feel possess both good stories and well-developed lore: the Elder Scrolls and Dragon Age

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One-Winged Trainwreck

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Madeleine Cassier
Producer
Website | Twitter | GoodreadsBookTube

 

“I hope that this project may lead to something, since we woke up something that was sleeping.” (Tetsuo Nomura on Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children)

Full disclosure: I’m not a gamer.

The extent of my electronic gaming can be summed up by The Sims 2, Kingdom Hearts I & II, Assassin’s Creed II, and scattered Gameboy games that were mostly Mario-related. And even then, most of the non-Sims games were being played in conjunction with my younger brother, so I did very little actual playing. In the end, video games are just not my forte and I don’t necessarily enjoy playing them, so I leave it to those who do.

However, I will say that I do often enjoy the stories that are told in games, especially those in the Final Fantasy franchise from Square Enix — specifically, I find the entire urban-fantasy world of Final Fantasy VII incredibly interesting. But I didn’t come about it in the “traditional” sense, i.e. I didn’t, and still haven’t ever actually played the game. I haven’t even played its two major spinoffs, Crisis Core and Dirge of Cerberus. No, I came to Final Fantasy VII through its full-length computer-animated feature adaptation/sequel film, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children.

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In the Shadow of ‘The Ring’

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Madeleine Cassier
Producer
Website | Twitter | GoodreadsBookTube

A Companion to TBT Episode 07

Unpopular opinion alert: I’m not the biggest fan of Tolkien — specifically, of The Lord of the Rings.

516GyHY9p6LI know this is essentially heresy to admit to the teeming hordes of guys and gals who, like me, adore the fantasy genre. But, alas, ’tis true that I am not on the side of Mr. J.R.R. Despite this general dislike, I’m relatively fair-minded and can acknowledge that The Lord of the Rings is one of the most recognizable works of the fantasy genre — even with more modern series such as George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, The Lord of the Rings is the ultimate poster-child for marketing fantasy to a mainstream audience.

That being said: I don’t think that Tolkien “inventedmodern fantasy as we know it. This, I’m sure, is also going to rankle even more people, especially given that many people would argue that The Lord of the Rings “created ‘fantasy’ as a marketing category” (Yolen, After the King: Stories in Honour of J.R.R. Tolkien), despite the fact that fantasy existed long before Tolkien published his trilogy. 

But I don’t want to talk about the myriad of works previous to Tolkien…I actually just want to talk about one: Der Ring des Nibelungen, or The Ring of the Nibelung by Richard Wagner.

41Um5nZQuXL._SY355_For those of you unfamiliar with German opera: The Ring Cycle, as it’s frequently called, is a cycle of four opera seria (dramatic operas) written about a century before Tolkien, that’s loosely based on characters from Germanic and Norse mythological sagas, specifically the Volsunga saga and the Nibelungenlied. Its got giants, dwarves, gods, forbidden romances, action, adventure — basically everything you could ever want from an epic fantasy story, and all across four operas which, when performed, are staged over the course of several days.

Even with all of those elements, at the very centre of this massive tale is a magic ring fashioned from Rhine gold that allows its bearer to rule the world.

Sound familiar?

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