Stimulation: Game Walkthroughs

[Nog has chosen Vic Fontaine’s holoprogram as place for his Rehab after a serve injury]
Ezri Dax: “At first, it struck me as a little … peculiar. But after I thought it over, I began to think that maybe this is a good sign after all.”
Quark: “How can hiding in one of Julian’s adolescent programs be a good sign?”
Dr. Julian Bashir: “Hey…”
Jake Sisko: “It could be worse. He could be hiding in the Alamo program.”
Leeta: “Or that ridiculous secret agent program.”
Dr. Julian Bashir: “Hey.”
Rom: “Or that stupid Viking program.”
Dr. Julian Bashir: “HEY!”
Star Trek DS9

As a kid I loved to play video games. A few years long I did almost nothing else in my spare time. But once I recognized that many games are too restrictive (e.g., compared to role-playing games with a human game master, where you can follow unconventional ways to solve a puzzle) and too pointless (e.g., competing against computer enemies who are programmed to be hard but beatable, depending on your own skill level), I stopped.

I do not miss playing the games, after all, they became a waste of time. But I miss the stories they tell, which are — on occasion — much better and more elaborate than anything you would ever seen on TV and often more detailed than a good book. Game designers have at least a few degrees of freedom more than movie directors and can put in much more additional information than authors — and some use this freedom to create exceptionally good story lines. BTW, this is not a question of money or size of the studio the game company has. One of the best story lines in a game I have ever seen was in a game by a single designer with open source tools: The Chzo Mythos by Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw (I played these games with a paper walkthrough because I could not find a video walkthrough on YouTube).

Given that I do not want to learn how to beat the computer or play with cheats, I have started to watch some game walkthroughs on YouTube. Essentially, you see another player play the game (screen only). Sounds pointless? Not at all — you can skip the walk-around parts and focus on the cutscenes that bring the story forward. And seeing the game played gives you the freedom to develop ideas for other stories what could happen (and you can always stop the movie to jot them down).

You can find walkthroughs on YouTube, search for the game name and “walkthrough” or “story walkthrough” — and make sure the person has uploaded a complete game walkthrough. BTW, there are usually at least one or two really good walkthroughs without the (often pointless and seriously distracting) comments of the player. The best walkthroughs I have seen is when a competent player plays the game (no dying and back to the last checkpoint), the video is recorded directly on the device (not with an external camera) and there is no “player commentary”.

Storylines I can recommend

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