The most important part of storytelling is the way information –characters, setting, and plot—is conveyed to an audience. Games, perhaps unfortunately, have the double task of both giving audiences an understanding of mechanics and story all at once. For the most part, this happens in the introduction.
I am not a patient gamer. I like my introductions fast, to the point, and without any fluff. In other words, I want my game introductions to play like a Hemingway short story reads – unadorned, fast, and fulfilling. Unfortunately, a lot of games fail in this respect. A game can be hailed as having the most innovative mechanics or the most advanced graphics, but if I am not hooked within the first twenty minutes chances are I will probably not be back for a second session.
Yet, I often find myself forced to sit through what seems like hours of cut scenes and plot for what amounts to around ten minutes of actual game play. Am I the only one who is bothered by this? Authors do not write successful novels and start them with dozens of pages describing every freckle on the main character’s face—so why do games feel the need to delay the actual game? Let me get my feet wet first: fight a few battles, explore an area or two, and then start throwing all the flash and sparkle at me. Some games are able to mix all of these element together in a way that keeps players wanting to come back, but others fall short.
Pokémon, one of my favorite titles, has an ideal introduction. “This is a pokémon, this is what pokémon do, and now here is a little scene so you can get your own and start your adventures.” Recently, I played through the introduction to Disgaea 3. While I loved it for its sheer over-the-top qualities, it was very long, at times tedious and, again, I never managed to go back to it. It is, quite probably, a very worthwhile game—but the somewhat unwieldy introduction turned me away.
So, Lusipurr.com readers, have you had similar experiences? Have you encountered fantastic games with terrible introductions? Or games with introductions so unwieldy you could not possibly stomach more?
Does it get much more over the top than this?