Video-game developers continue to search for the golden ratio of game play to storytelling.
My first video-gaming memories are clouded by Amnesia. That game, which comprised nothing more than white text on a black background, haunted me for years. My father bought it for the PC because he saw it on sale at Sears, brought it home, installed it via the command prompt, and then abandoned it. My brother had no use for it, either. They both played Microsoft’s Flight Simulator 3.0, for which we had purchased a joystick, and Tetris, which appeared on the home computer long before its popularity exploded on Nintendo’s handheld Game Boy.
Tetris and Flight Simulator were “real” games, you see. Push the buttons in a skillful way and you would win. You could trump your high score or perfect your landing at Meigs Field. But Amnesia was just a story, a playable story, and from a game-play standpoint it wasn’t even a particularly good one. Like most text-based games, it relied on commands like “eat pizza” (always a favorite of mine) to advance the plot, and like most poor text-based games, it didn’t recognize many of the commands that the player typed. Read More