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Is writing superior to reading?

jpnzjpnz SydneyPosts: 3,529Member

One of the more common argument line on this forum is that a story the player created through his / her action is superior / desirable than the story a game will tell the player.

This logic is a bit weird as I can't write to save my life and I sure as hell aren't going to claim the garbage I wrote is superior to any book at the library.

Handing someone a paper and pen and claiming that 'you have more options than than the entire Kindle Library!' fails to address the 'entertainment' part for me. I'd rather have the Kindle Library thanks!  I read / play video games for entertainment. Writing isn't entertainment for me and I'm the majority in this.

So why do people spout that line?

It is not superior or desirable by the majority; therefore it isn't superior or desirable by the MMO industry.

The whole argument just fails at basic logic; there are more readers in this world than writers.

Gdemami -
Informing people about your thoughts and impressions is not a review, it's a blog.

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Comments

  • DamonVileDamonVile Vancouver, BCPosts: 4,818Member

    I don't think that's the ""story" people are talking about ?

    In a sandbox game there is no story or yellow brick road to follow, you set your own path and find your own adventures in the world. The day to day activites is what I always assumed people mean by writing your own story.

    I'd never want to read the garbage most people would write for RPing their characters :P

  • AeliousAelious Portland, ORPosts: 2,854Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by jpnz

    One of the more common argument line on this forum is that a story the player created through his / her action is superior / desirable than the story a game will tell the player.

    This logic is a bit weird as I can't write to save my life and I sure as hell aren't going to claim the garbage I wrote is superior to any book at the library.

    Handing someone a paper and pen and claiming that 'you have more options than than the entire Kindle Library!' fails to address the 'entertainment' part for me. I'd rather have the Kindle Library thanks!  I read / play video games for entertainment. Writing isn't entertainment for me and I'm the majority in this.

    So why do people spout that line?

    It is not superior or desirable by the majority; therefore it isn't superior or desirable by the MMO industry.

    The whole argument just fails at basic logic; there are more readers in this world than writers.

     

    I don't think this is in reference to actually writing a story but rather experiencing your own story than the same one everyone else does when in the same area.  The reason it's said so often is that there aren't many titles that allow you to do this, right now.  For the most part MMOs are developed with static placement of NPCs and mobs as to create kill/gather/deliver quests.  Most people do like this as it guides them through a storyarc or zone, showing them where to go.  I'd be interested to know how many people that want quest driven stories actually read the text that's there however.

  • DibdabsDibdabs FelvershamPosts: 2,604Member Uncommon
    You think that when gamers use the term "story" it means they are all actually writing things down?  /boggle
  • jdlamson75jdlamson75 Jacksonville, FLPosts: 985Member Uncommon
    OP, when people "spout" out that line, they're using it in a metaphorical sense.  What they're trying to convey is that imagination and creativity are the tools a sandbox type game allows us to use.  Your logic, saying that most prefer the story vs the writing, is telling us that the vast majority is devoid of both creativity and imagination.
  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member


    Originally posted by jpnz
    One of the more common argument line on this forum is that a story the player created through his / her action is superior / desirable than the story a game will tell the player.This logic is a bit weird as I can't write to save my life and I sure as hell aren't going to claim the garbage I wrote is superior to any book at the library.Handing someone a paper and pen and claiming that 'you have more options than than the entire Kindle Library!' fails to address the 'entertainment' part for me. I'd rather have the Kindle Library thanks!  I read / play video games for entertainment. Writing isn't entertainment for me and I'm the majority in this.So why do people spout that line?It is not superior or desirable by the majority; therefore it isn't superior or desirable by the MMO industry.The whole argument just fails at basic logic; there are more readers in this world than writers.

    I'm not generally a fan of metaphors, because most of the time they just don't work. In this particular case, I think the problem is that the metaphor of writing a story is more equivalent to things like Cryptic's Foundry, Minecraft's mod community or even Valve's player facing development tools. However, bad metaphors and ignorance have never stopped me before. Not from posting anyway. :-)

    That there are more 'readers' than 'writers' I think is supportable by the types of games that are available, and how well they sell.

    I think this is an interesting way to look at things. I believe most people assume that other people are like them, so when someone mentions that it's better to write a story than read one, they think other people would write similar stories, full of honor and adventure. Judging by the self published and free books available on the Kindle and Nook stores though, what most people write is literary pornography. Judging by the games that really do allow players to write their own story within the context of the game, what we mostly see is murder and theft. It's not just that there are more readers than writers, there are far more very poor writers than there are good writers.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • immodiumimmodium ManchesterPosts: 1,579Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by DamonVile

    I don't think that's the ""story" people are talking about ?

    In a sandbox game there is no story or yellow brick road to follow, you set your own path and find your own adventures in the world. The day to day activites is what I always assumed people mean by writing your own story.

    I'd never want to read the garbage most people would write for RPing their characters :P

    I agree, that what my understanding of writing your own story meant. However, IMO the vast majority of those stories are really dull.

    Most gamers aren't Asimovs or Arthur C Clarkes. :)

    image
  • maplestonemaplestone Ottawa, ONPosts: 3,099Member

    I'm trying to decipher whether there is honest confusion on this issue or whether the OP is just trolling.   But I guess there are games with level-editors and RP grounps who write their own story-like canon, so it's possible for someone to genuinely not understand the concept of a sandbox.

    *puts on Morphius glasses*

    I'm not telling you that you will get to write the story,  I'm telling you that when you're in a living sandbox, you won't need one.

  • ScotScot UKPosts: 5,769Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by jpnz

    One of the more common argument line on this forum is that a story the player created through his / her action is superior / desirable than the story a game will tell the player.

    This logic is a bit weird as I can't write to save my life and I sure as hell aren't going to claim the garbage I wrote is superior to any book at the library.

    Handing someone a paper and pen and claiming that 'you have more options than than the entire Kindle Library!' fails to address the 'entertainment' part for me. I'd rather have the Kindle Library thanks!  I read / play video games for entertainment. Writing isn't entertainment for me and I'm the majority in this.

    So why do people spout that line?

    It is not superior or desirable by the majority; therefore it isn't superior or desirable by the MMO industry.

    The whole argument just fails at basic logic; there are more readers in this world than writers.

    A fair point, but then that argument was always misguided. Sandbox and themepark content are different beasts. Its like saying that PvE is better than PvP, just because you can do both in a MMO does not mean one is better than the other.

    The two types of "content", quests say for themepark and modding tools for sandbox have different aims of gameplay. In an ideal MMO we could have both equally and everyone would be happy. Realistically it has been one or the other, but I hold out in the hope that one day the MMO sandbox square will be circled with a quest system.

  • HelleriHelleri Felton, CAPosts: 927Member Uncommon

    For me an MMO is letting craft my own story when there is a strong illusion of choice built up around me.

     

    Here is an example of sorts:

     

    I may have to rescue Character from an uncertain fate. But, it's nice if at some point, an aiding NPC lets me choose (through simply asking me) what my relation to that Character is. Is it my good friend; a total stranger; a parent or sibling?

    Maybe another NPC wants to know my exact motivation and my answer determines how they will help me. Am In it for fame; fortune; just being a good person; revenge?

    Perhaps the character I am meant to rescue is destined to die.  But, do I sacrifice them to save myself; or do they give up their life despite my protests to save me?

    I might have to escort an NPC to safer place at some point during this quest in order for them to help me. But, I could have to choose a route to take. They might die on the way. Maybe I decided to kill the NPC. However, looting the corpse and bringing news of their death to someone at the destination may get me the same reward as I would have gotten were I to bring them there safely.

     

    ...The point here being that, the start point, way points along the path, and destination can be unchanging. How I get there is what matters. That I feel that I have free agency to take another way. For my concerns, that is letting me write my own story. It doesn't have to be something I had a choice about. It just has to feel like I did.

    image

  • aspekxaspekx Brandon, FLPosts: 2,167Member
    Originally posted by maplestone

    I'm trying to decipher whether there is honest confusion on this issue or whether the OP is just trolling.   But I guess there are games with level-editors and RP ground that write their own story-like canon, so it's possible for someone to genuinely not understand the concept of a sandbox.

    *puts on Morphius glasses*

    I'm not telling you that you will get to write the story,  I'm telling you that when you're in a living sandbox, you won't need one.

    i suppose with all the possible gamers out there, someone had to take it too literally, just statistically speaking. but ya i'm pretty sure that the OP is taking the analogy too far.

    "There are at least two kinds of games.
    One could be called finite, the other infinite.
    A finite game is played for the purpose of winning,
    an infinite game for the purpose of continuing play."
    Finite and Infinite Games, James Carse

  • SovrathSovrath Boston Area, MAPosts: 18,462Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by jpnz

    One of the more common argument line on this forum is that a story the player created through his / her action is superior / desirable than the story a game will tell the player.

     

    Nah, what they are talking about isn't really "full blown story" with story arcs, a climax, character development, etc, but more about anecdotes during their time playing the game.

    Unless one is a role player and actually writing out a framework where others can hang their own "story" It's really not the same thing.

  • GrumpyMel2GrumpyMel2 Catskills, NYPosts: 1,832Member

    Firstly, OP, I've found that anyone who claims to speak "for the majority" is almost certainly misrepresenting themselves. You speak with any authority only for yourself....unless someone has actualy appointed you proxy for them. Just as I speak only for myself. So lets please drop the line about claiming to speak for others, ok.

    Secondly, the thing I would like to impress upon you is that reading and writing are inherently different activities. It's not a binary choice, you can actualy enjoy both. Just as a person can enjoy both chocolate and vanilla ice cream. Even if one favors one over the other, it does not mean that one has no appetite for the other. "Writing" is an active activity where one gets the opportunity to excersize ones imagination and creativity, while "reading" is a more passive activity where one gets the opportunity to enjoy the creativity of others.

    Personaly, I enjoy both. However, I don't often look to computer games and especialy MMORPG's for my reading, as I find the narratives by and large vastly inferior to what I usualy get from novels and movies. There are exceptions, mind you, but I generaly find game developers to not be very talented at narrative...and to be honest, many MMO's simply don't expend much energy or focus in that area, anyway. Computer games are an interesting outlet for me to express my own creativity and imagination and share it with fellow players. I've done that for years in table-top roleplaying games with freinds and still do. I've also done that in MUDS and enjoyed that experience as well. I do look forward to being able to do that in sandbox style MMO's as well......and oddly in FPS games, where you aren't role-playing but the players actions and abilities very much shape the course of events within the game...a very active form of entertainment.

    That is not to say that I want more passive, Themepark style games to go away....even linear ones. I think you may misunderstand that. I have and will continue to enjoy that when the mood strikes me, if they are well done. However, I very much do NOT want it to be virtualy the ONLY choice on the MMORPG menu...as it has been for quite some time.

     

     

     

  • jpnzjpnz SydneyPosts: 3,529Member
    Originally posted by GrumpyMel2

    Firstly, OP, I've found that anyone who claims to speak "for the majority" is almost certainly misrepresenting themselves. You speak with any authority only for yourself....unless someone has actualy appointed you proxy for them. Just as I speak only for myself. So lets please drop the line about claiming to speak for others, ok.

    /snip

    This is one of the few occasions I know I'm the majority because there are far more READERS than WRITERS in this world.

    Gdemami -
    Informing people about your thoughts and impressions is not a review, it's a blog.

  • LittleBootLittleBoot roystonPosts: 326Member
    Originally posted by jpnz
    Originally posted by GrumpyMel2

    Firstly, OP, I've found that anyone who claims to speak "for the majority" is almost certainly misrepresenting themselves. You speak with any authority only for yourself....unless someone has actualy appointed you proxy for them. Just as I speak only for myself. So lets please drop the line about claiming to speak for others, ok.

    /snip

    This is one of the few occasions I know I'm the majority because there are far more READERS than WRITERS in this world.

    There are also far more walkers than drivers- that doesn't mean I'm speaking for the majority when I say we should bulldoze all roads.  

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member


    Originally posted by LittleBoot
    Originally posted by jpnz Originally posted by GrumpyMel2 Firstly, OP, I've found that anyone who claims to speak "for the majority" is almost certainly misrepresenting themselves. You speak with any authority only for yourself....unless someone has actualy appointed you proxy for them. Just as I speak only for myself. So lets please drop the line about claiming to speak for others, ok. /snip
    This is one of the few occasions I know I'm the majority because there are far more READERS than WRITERS in this world.
    There are also far more walkers than drivers- that doesn't mean I'm speaking for the majority when I say we should bulldoze all roads.  


    I think it would be fairer to say that there are far more poor drivers than good drivers. Society would benefit by most drivers not driving, and riding instead.

    Same idea applies to the advice that players should "write their own stories". For that to work the players need to want to write their own story rather than 'read' a story, and the players need to be capable of writing a story worth reading.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • DamonVileDamonVile Vancouver, BCPosts: 4,818Member
    Originally posted by lizardbones

     


    Originally posted by LittleBoot

    Originally posted by jpnz

    Originally posted by GrumpyMel2 Firstly, OP, I've found that anyone who claims to speak "for the majority" is almost certainly misrepresenting themselves. You speak with any authority only for yourself....unless someone has actualy appointed you proxy for them. Just as I speak only for myself. So lets please drop the line about claiming to speak for others, ok. /snip
    This is one of the few occasions I know I'm the majority because there are far more READERS than WRITERS in this world.
    There are also far more walkers than drivers- that doesn't mean I'm speaking for the majority when I say we should bulldoze all roads.  

    I think it would be fairer to say that there are far more poor drivers than good drivers. Society would benefit by most drivers not driving, and riding instead.

    Same idea applies to the advice that players should "write their own stories". For that to work the players need to want to write their own story rather than 'read' a story, and the players need to be capable of writing a story worth reading.

     

    And how would the devs hand out crayons to people over the internet ? :)

  • DistopiaDistopia Baltimore, MDPosts: 16,915Member Uncommon

    I'm all for sandbox gameplay, yet what I don't like to see any longer is a game devoid of any real dev created content. Even Koster feels one of their biggest blunders with SWG was not having anything tangible in that respect. What i took away from what he was saying was, the game would have been better off, if it actually told some real stories.

    Games without the above typically feel like empty shells to me. It's one thing to offer open ended gameplay, it's entirely something else, to expect players to make their own game inside an empty box. Which is all a sandbox without story infused is. Yet people wonder why this type of game usually devolves into nothing but a PVP gank fest.

    The only two saving graces for SWG was that it already had rich back story to draw on in roleplay, and that it wasn't an open PVP FFA gank fest.

    For every minute you are angry , you lose 60 seconds of happiness."-Emerson

    It is a sign of a defeated man, to attack at ones character in the face of logic and reason- Me

  • RefMinorRefMinor MyTownPosts: 3,452Member
    Originally posted by lizardbones

     


    Originally posted by LittleBoot

    Originally posted by jpnz

    Originally posted by GrumpyMel2 Firstly, OP, I've found that anyone who claims to speak "for the majority" is almost certainly misrepresenting themselves. You speak with any authority only for yourself....unless someone has actualy appointed you proxy for them. Just as I speak only for myself. So lets please drop the line about claiming to speak for others, ok. /snip
    This is one of the few occasions I know I'm the majority because there are far more READERS than WRITERS in this world.
    There are also far more walkers than drivers- that doesn't mean I'm speaking for the majority when I say we should bulldoze all roads.  

    I think it would be fairer to say that there are far more poor drivers than good drivers. Society would benefit by most drivers not driving, and riding instead.

    Same idea applies to the advice that players should "write their own stories". For that to work the players need to want to write their own story rather than 'read' a story, and the players need to be capable of writing a story worth reading.

     

    The actions of individual players add up to the narrative, maybe the turning point of a battle was the defence of fort whilst waiting for reinforcements and you were there, someone may write that story and you would know in the description of the battle that you played your individual part of history rather than every single player single handedly killing the same "unique" villain to single handedly save the world.

  • LawlmonsterLawlmonster Dallas, TXPosts: 954Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Dibdabs
    You think that when gamers use the term "story" it means they are all actually writing things down?  /boggle

    When I refer to a story in the single life of a character in a sandbox game (what I call "emergent story"), say DayZ, I'm certainly not implying that I'm always writing literature for the events and actions that occur, but it is something I enjoy doing on a regular basis. I recognize that I'm not in the majority.

    "This is life! We suffer and slave and expire. That's it!" -Bernard Black (Dylan Moran)

  • DamonVileDamonVile Vancouver, BCPosts: 4,818Member
    Originally posted by Distopia

    I'm all for sandbox gameplay, yet what I don't like to see any longer is a game devoid of any real dev created content. Even Koster feels one of their biggest blunders with SWG was not having anything tangible in that respect. What i took away from what he was saying was, the game would have been better off, if it actually told some real stories.

    Games without the above typically feel like empty shells to me. It's one thing to offer open ended gameplay, it's entirely something else, to expect players to make their own game inside an empty box. Which is all a sandbox without story infused is. Yet people wonder why this type of game usually devolves into nothing but a PVP gank fest.

    agreed.

    Even though people ask for sandbox games, I think what most people really want is a sandpark.  A story to follow when you want it to be there but some freedom to do what you want when you're not in the mood to follow someone else's story.

    Like always, people want choices. All themepark and people feel like they're being led around by the hand, all sandbox and people feel like they have no direction or goal.

  • XAPKenXAPKen Northwest, INPosts: 4,936Member Uncommon

    My character is its own story.  The world is just a stage.

     


    Ken Fisher - Semi retired old fart Network Administrator, now turned Amateur Game Developer.  I don't Forum PVP.  If you feel I've attacked you, it was probably by accident.  Realm Lords 2 on MMORPG.com
  • DistopiaDistopia Baltimore, MDPosts: 16,915Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by DamonVile
    Originally posted by Distopia

    I'm all for sandbox gameplay, yet what I don't like to see any longer is a game devoid of any real dev created content. Even Koster feels one of their biggest blunders with SWG was not having anything tangible in that respect. What i took away from what he was saying was, the game would have been better off, if it actually told some real stories.

    Games without the above typically feel like empty shells to me. It's one thing to offer open ended gameplay, it's entirely something else, to expect players to make their own game inside an empty box. Which is all a sandbox without story infused is. Yet people wonder why this type of game usually devolves into nothing but a PVP gank fest.

    agreed.

    Even though people ask for sandbox games, I think what most people really want is a sandpark.  A story to follow when you want it to be there but some freedom to do what you want when you're not in the mood to follow someone else's story.

    Like always, people want choices. All themepark and people feel like they're being led around by the hand, all sandbox and people feel like they have no direction or goal.

    Well put Damon, I agree completely.

    For every minute you are angry , you lose 60 seconds of happiness."-Emerson

    It is a sign of a defeated man, to attack at ones character in the face of logic and reason- Me

  • LittleBootLittleBoot roystonPosts: 326Member
    Originally posted by Distopia
    Originally posted by DamonVile
    Originally posted by Distopia

    I'm all for sandbox gameplay, yet what I don't like to see any longer is a game devoid of any real dev created content. Even Koster feels one of their biggest blunders with SWG was not having anything tangible in that respect. What i took away from what he was saying was, the game would have been better off, if it actually told some real stories.

    Games without the above typically feel like empty shells to me. It's one thing to offer open ended gameplay, it's entirely something else, to expect players to make their own game inside an empty box. Which is all a sandbox without story infused is. Yet people wonder why this type of game usually devolves into nothing but a PVP gank fest.

    agreed.

    Even though people ask for sandbox games, I think what most people really want is a sandpark.  A story to follow when you want it to be there but some freedom to do what you want when you're not in the mood to follow someone else's story.

    Like always, people want choices. All themepark and people feel like they're being led around by the hand, all sandbox and people feel like they have no direction or goal.

    Well put Damon, I agree completely.

    Or at least not the linear hand holding you get in themepark mmo's- something a little more in the vein of Skyrim.  

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member


    Originally posted by RefMinor

    Originally posted by lizardbones  

    Originally posted by LittleBoot

    Originally posted by jpnz

    Originally posted by GrumpyMel2 Firstly, OP, I've found that anyone who claims to speak "for the majority" is almost certainly misrepresenting themselves. You speak with any authority only for yourself....unless someone has actualy appointed you proxy for them. Just as I speak only for myself. So lets please drop the line about claiming to speak for others, ok. /snip
    This is one of the few occasions I know I'm the majority because there are far more READERS than WRITERS in this world.
    There are also far more walkers than drivers- that doesn't mean I'm speaking for the majority when I say we should bulldoze all roads.  
    I think it would be fairer to say that there are far more poor drivers than good drivers. Society would benefit by most drivers not driving, and riding instead. Same idea applies to the advice that players should "write their own stories". For that to work the players need to want to write their own story rather than 'read' a story, and the players need to be capable of writing a story worth reading.  
    The actions of individual players add up to the narrative, maybe the turning point of a battle was the defence of fort whilst waiting for reinforcements and you were there, someone may write that story and you would know in the description of the battle that you played your individual part of history rather than every single player single handedly killing the same "unique" villain to single handedly save the world.

    It still comes down to the only story most people being able to come up with is "kill that guy". Many people don't even come up with a story. It's too daunting to load into a world with a blank script, or they really just don't want a blank script.

    Again, I'm not a fan of analogies and such, but most people being "readers" rather than "authors" seems apt. The people willing to take a blank script and run with it is small compared to the number of people who want a script that's already written, and the number of people who will take that blank script and turn it into something interesting is even smaller still. "Write your own story" doesn't seem like very good general advice, except as a way to filter out the people who shouldn't be writing their own stories from the people who should.

    **

    Trying to get people to become better "readers" seems like it would yield better results.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • sunandshadowsunandshadow Pittsburgh, PAPosts: 1,056Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by DamonVile

    Even though people ask for sandbox games, I think what most people really want is a sandpark.  A story to follow when you want it to be there but some freedom to do what you want when you're not in the mood to follow someone else's story.

    Like always, people want choices. All themepark and people feel like they're being led around by the hand, all sandbox and people feel like they have no direction or goal.

    I love this post.  "Sandpark" is a great term for the kind of MMO I want to design; that's a much less awkward term than the phrase I've been using, which is "interactive story core, sandbox peripherals".  It's also great to hear enthusiasm for this type of MMO.

    I want to help design and develop a PvE-focused, solo-friendly, sandpark MMO which combines crafting, monster hunting, and story.  So PM me if you are starting one.
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