Story and content vs. Gameplay

Posted: April 17, 2015 in Uncategorized

It’s been a long time since I really did anything again, but I decided to check up on the SA3 page recently and saw their latest post and comments that came along with it, and noticed many people going against what was posted:

They’ve posted a chart from this article about what influences decisions on buying video games, and it’s amazing to see that storytelling is the highest on there, with the closest factor being the price. What I noticed though, long before this post but this was happening in the comments towards this post, were a few people still claiming gameplay is more important, at least in Sonic’s case, and some even trying to disprove the point. In response to this, I’m gonna break this down into 3 subjects I want bring up.

1. Content(Which story is apart of), is more important to gameplay.

First off, the fact that people bash or praise Sonic games based on content alone pretty much proves how little gameplay matter no matter how much they scream it isn’t. Look at the fact that many people who hate on the stories for most of the adventure era and saying the story doesn’t matter, somehow always take a liking to the stories we’ve been getting since Sonic colors, or will defend it while keeping quite over the Adventure debates, despite the fact that the stories since Colors did get a lot worse for obvious reasons. Whether you think story is important in Sonic games or not, a good amount of people sure seem to have a case to make about them, whether positive or negative.

But aside from Sonic, look at the rest of gaming. Sure, Mario(at certain times) and Minecraft do well, but most of the top selling and popular console games are action and story oriented, while most games light on plot and content are hardly recognized or sell well, despite their gameplay quality. Again, you got Mario and Minecraft, but how many other less story and action driven games with light hearted content, like them, get their recognition? Does anyone reading this even know how good these games are?

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I’m pretty sure someone could tell me…. if it weren’t for the fact that you guys just aren’t playing them, or seeking out other games like them aside from Mario and Minecraft(And I’m not even sure if MC is being played by a good amount of Nintendo fans anyway, since it’s mostly them making this claim, but mainly for Nintendo titles). I know the people who more action and story out of their games may not be playing them due to them either being pretty kiddie or not like the AAA titles, but at the same time, why aren’t the people who openly express that gameplay matters the most and not story playing them, or at least ignoring them and not showing any interest in them at all? I’m pretty sure if Mario was slapped onto any of these games(CN Punch time is basically a smash bros clone so it wouldn’t be any different), there would be a hell of a lot more interest shown. It’s that fact that leaves me to believe that you need more then gameplay to get you interested in these games, especially when we still have people talking about Sonic 06 when it’s gameplay is bad but still shown more interest in then the games shown above. There are these other games I would include on the list but they are based on more well known franchises, so I don’t know how interested people are in them, but if someone can, feel free to let me know. I do know Skylanders catch hell, though it’s only because it basically replaced the Spyro series, but I have one of these games myself and it’s not bad.

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2. Having good stories does not sacrifice gameplay quality.

Not much I need to add to this, because the main thing is that people seem to hang on to this notion that gameplay needs to be sacrificed in order to have some focus on the story, except there are many games(even before this and last generation) that still play well with focus on story.

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And you better believe there are more games I can call out. Though, another thing to is that people assume when one cares about story, especially Sonic’s case when talking to a gameplay gamer(totally made that up), they usually use very extreme examples, like Last of Us, or simply wanting to watch a movie rather then play a game. However, in Sonic’s case to, this isn’t what someone who wants more, or better, story out of their games, it just means they want to see more of what the plot is about, or maybe even a reason to be interested in a game outside of it’s gameplay, given that, as proven by the pie chart show in the link, that most gamers look for in a game. The games I posted here are clear examples of what someone who wants more story in their games are talking about, especially with Sonic.

3. The motive of those who push their opinion for gameplay.

Just a bit of detective work here. Now, notice this topic started with a post from the Sonic Adventure page here. As you know, they want better story and content in Sonic games, hence the topics and arguments on the page itself. Then you have the people against better story and content, and want to focus on gameplay, or think Sonic is only about gameplay. The thing we have here is that the Adventure fans actually stand to lose something if the games don’t have what they asked for, so of course, they have to keep making this case and ask for it in hopes of getting it. Here’s the thing, what do the gameplay gamers stand to lose? They want more focus on gameplay and think Sonic is just about gameplay. Ok, it’s another argument, but here’s the thing: No matter what happens, they will get gameplay. Even if Sega were to make some new Sonic adventure game, the gameplay is still going to be there, and on top of that, there will most likely be a handheld or mobile game they can play that will still give them the gameplay they crave. No matter what the situation is, they will get what they want regardless, the gameplay quality itself will only be effected by the developers doing, as you can see, Colors, Lost World, and Boom have more story in their games then Sonic Heroes, but still has just as much gameplay as well.

Look at the classic games, I want to refer back to this pic here:

Sonic 2 itself has about 8 zone with 2 acts each, that’s 16 stages altogether, plus the last 3, Sky Chase, Flying Fortress, and Death Egg, though it’s only 2 boss battles, but still gameplay, so 19 stages in all. Sonic 3 has 13 zones, 2 acts each, with Doomsday, so that’s 27 levels in all, unless you count the multiplayer levels. Sonic Heroes, had 7 zone and 2 acts each, following the final boss(though you have to beat the game 4 times to get to it), so it’s at 14 levels. Then Sonic Adventure, if my memory on everyone’s number of levels is right, there is, I think just over 30 levels, I can’t remember who between Amy and Big had 3 or 4 levels. Adventure 2, 30 level total, I remember because it was split even with 5 levels per character, only with Sonic having 6 and Shadow having 4. Shadow’s own game, 22 levels. I don’t care enough about the modern titles to count their levels but I’m guessing it’s not too far from the numbers I have here.

The point I make is this, when does focusing on the story become a problem for gameplay? Would the classic games have less gameplay if you were to just add cutscenes, and would 3D games have more gamplay if they take out them out? Cause it seems both still deliver a good amount of gameplay, with or without the scenes. Not only with Sonic either, much like the last few games I mentioned when it came to good games that focused on story, again, are they going to be better somehow if they take out the cut scenes? Either way it goes, you’re going to get gameplay no matter what, and if you want less story in your games, simply go on Steam, find you some 2D games, and have it, or stick to fighting games. Either way, there’s no point in having the argument when what you want is heavily present in more games then they tend to lead on. Matter of fact, here’s a list of 2D Steam games:
Boom, all kinds of 2D games for you, 414 in total. This also goes for the people who actually complain about video game graphics to. I also wanna bring up to, we’ve had games in the glory days of games, that were a lot worse then your average game today. It wasn’t all Sonic, Mario, Megaman, Pac-Man, etc, and the majority of them had less focus on story to, as people make about Sonic and Mario, so there’s that to.

4. Sonic is not just about gameplay.

The mistake people make, or making it out that gameplay is the most important thing for games, despite that it’s not even what gets people interested in games enough to by them, it’s the fact that their interactive, have certain content that people want. Gameplay quality is only a problem when it actually is a problem, even then, Mortal Kombat was still popular and it’s gameplay was hardly as good as most other fighting games, but it’s content, mainly the graphics and fatalities, is what got people interested, whether that interest was positive or negative. Sonic himself though, was and is not just about gameplay, that’s a Nintendo way of looking at him. Sonic was about being cool and appealing to a wide range of demographics, not just kids, which actually repels them, especially if they’re already used to playing mature games, which we did have in the past, even if it were something like Contra or Castlevania or the majority of beat’em ups like Streets of Rage Final Fight. Even if Sonic was colorful, that doesn’t mean he was kiddy or fully light hearted, especially when in Sonic 1, most of the stages were not as light as Green Hill, maybe in color, but the tone was still darker, Marble zone is the first clue right there, while Springyard was balanced, which is what Sonic was good at, balance, but the content could still get dark, but never get light hearted to the point of Sonic Colors. Because of this, people should want Sonic to be taken more seriously, or be badass, he was suppose to be in the first place. If people are going to get worked up over taking sonic seriously, then why do they still defend when he’s not taken seriously? There’s still a story being told there. Too afraid of the games ending up like 06 and Shadow? Hell, they appeal to a lot more gamers, and kids for that matter, then Colors and Lost World. Even at that point, that’s not what most people are asking for in the first place. Plus, going into the comedy aspect, I’ve seen people say that the classics were about comedy to, which is straight up false, and just a means to try and push the light hearted comedy opinion for the modern games, or even trying ti justify it.

In the end, the biggest problem here is the amount of people confuse their own logic as truth, who go out and fight wars that don’t even need to be fought, especially when story is still being told through gameplay and other contents anyway, unless you want to remove all the graphics from your average Mario game, and replace everything with grey blocks, which I’m sure many people wont want because the content will no longer appeal to them. Proven by how popular the Mario Galaxy story is with people, who bash storytelling in Sonic games, or serious storytelling specifically. This is showing all too well how much Nintendo influence is in the Sonic fanbase, and making them worse for everyone who actually are fans of who and what Sonic truly is. If True fans don’t exist, there certainly are fake or stealth fans.


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