Max Daniels is a twenty-one year old writer and author of The Manipulant which is available on Amazon UK and US. He is currently in the process of completing his second novel entitled The Follies of Being.
Something like Telltale’s The Walking Dead games are a gripping narrative that forces the player to decide major events that craft the rest of the plot. Whatever you do – good, bad or the very common grey – will forever change the story and the characters you interact with. When I first played the game I was on the verge of tears by the final episode and felt a supreme loss similar to when finishing a fantastic novel.
Video games are able to create these intense feelings partly due to the levels of interaction the player has. We are in the story and even when the plot is linear, our own personal approach provides a level of immersion that films and TV cannot. Oddly, the video game has more in common with the novel because of this interaction. When we read a book we have no pictures, no visual guide to tell us what things are. We place ourselves in the story. We interact with the text and make it real. In a different way, the video game visualises the environment for us, but places the ‘reader’ in control of the narrative. In the most extreme cases we have direct ownership on who we are and how the plot changes: like in the Mass Effect games. In lesser ways we are placed behind the eyes of the protagonist and are forced to live through their hardships and adventures such as in the superb Bioshock games.