Over the years narrative-driven games have become like amazing interactive movies. Some of the best stories and experiences are in titles like The Last of Us, God of War, The Witcher and Red Dead Redemption. Even games with weaker graphics can deliver great and gripping narratives, which often increases the level of immersion. However, even the older games had their dedicated fans, and many have very fond memories of these experiences. They were text-based adventures, and here we will talk about the trends these games have spawned and how they evolved over the years.
Text-Based Games and RNG
Some of the earliest games were interactive stories. Players had to read what was going on and type in how they reacted or what they are doing in that situation. Some outcomes were decided randomly so these text-based had replay value. Moreover, the randomness allowed a gamer to have a sense of agency as things didn’t play out the same way in the next playthrough.
RNG is nowadays usually associated with playing casino games. In fact, many casino tips or casino life hacks are suggestions on how to play around this RNG. Those who play casino games for real money need to be careful and aware that they can’t control the outcomes. They can control their spending and manage their bet size. They should also create an account on a legitimate website like Playzee. Here it’s safe to bet real cash or the Playzee bonus funds that they get upon sign-up. Even if all games revolve around RNG there are strategies that you can use in certain situations and improve your casino win rate.
Even if randomness is one of the iconic casino features it’s still a very important part of modern games, especially when it comes to monetization.
The first text-based adventure was released back in 1976. Around the same time, the tabletop role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons was published, and it started to become a trend. It was a more social experience that required teamwork and strategy. Once again was designed around RNG or roll of a die. Tabletop or pen-and-paper RPGs have inspired many video games that wanted to emulate this experience. The biggest hit in this category is without a doubt World of Warcraft.
For the first time, a massive number of players were able to enter a vast fictional world. They were completing tasks, fighting monsters, honing their professions and earning virtual gold. There were other MMO RPGs before World of Warcraft but none of them were such a global success. The first version of World of Warcraft included a lot of reading with no voice-over, the graphics were a far cry from what they are today, and players had to rely on third-party apps to voice chat. Still even with all of these challenges the game was incredibly immersive. Players felt connected to their characters, they were customizing them, interacting with other people, and progressing in the world of Azeroth.
With new consoles and more advanced hardware designers were able to create a more authentic virtual world. Face capture technology helped create characters that had genuine expressions and that looked more realistic. Almost all attempts to create virtual characters without face capture landed the design in the uncanny valley. So, in-game characters just look eerie and weird.
In addition to more authentic graphics, developers made sure that the games can utilize other elements of improved hardware. Joypads will vibrate when the character struggles or takes a hit. Also if the character is hearing voices or receiving a personal voice message the in-built joypad speaker will deliver that audio. These seem like minor details but really help boost the immersion.
Kinect and Wii
The VR games we have today heavily borrow from the ones designed for Nintendo Wii and Xbox Kinect.
- Wii or Kinect Sports
- Dragon Ball Z
- Just Dance
- Star Wars
- Harry Potter
The idea was to get players to stand up and move rather than rely on controllers. This was supposed to increase immersion as your in-game character was supposed to mimic your movement. However, the controls were limited and it often felt really clunky. Some games were fun, but more often than not these titles were repetitive, unresponsive and frustrating.
The early VR games also felt weird and clunky just like those for Wii, but development studios aren’t giving up on the concept. There are now a few successful VR experiences like Resident Evil and Beat Saber. As mentioned the navigation via VR controllers can feel clumsy at times but for some genres, this works. If you look at horror games they don’t necessarily empower the protagonist, they want the player to feel vulnerable. As a result, VR can actually magnify this feeling of powerlessness so it makes the game more immersive.
When a gamer needs to navigate a hazard and watch their step, these situations do feel more tense on VR. Also, you are cut off from your real surroundings, so you can’t just look away in a scary situation. It’s also worth pointing out that VR hardware is getting improvements, so it’s possible that more demanding mechanics will be ported at some point.
Apple recently announced its VR headset and it is quite pricy. The problem is the attitude of consumers. We must face the reality that many don’t want to interact with games or content through a whole headset. It’s just not as comfortable. Movies like Ready Player One make this look cool but the tech we have today isn’t there yet. Also, it’s hard to invest in a big title that requires pricy equipment. So, until there is a better infrastructure to support VR releases we won’t likely see big investment in VR game development.