Having recently completed Vanquish, the game got me thinking about the context behind any given video game. What I mean by context in this sense, is the context behind your actions within a game. For instance, the story of a Super Mario game might be paper thin, but the context for actions is clear: you’re trying to save Princess Peach. Oftentimes, people will use the word ‘story’ in place of ‘context’, but I think context is a better fitting word in this sense.
The context behind Vanquish is awful for a number of reasons, yet I really enjoyed playing that game strictly because I loved the gameplay mechanics that drove the experience. I simply chose to tune out the convoluted story, poor dialogue and bad voice acting.
Though I’ve sort of talked about this topic in the past, I wanted to open this up for discussion. Do you need context in your video games in order to enjoy them?
The correct answer to that question is, “It depends on the game.” None of us need to know why we’re dropping blocks down a well in Tetris. On the flip-side, none of us are looking for exciting gameplay mechanics when we play a text adventure game like Zork. Odds are, the answer will lie somewhere in between Tetris and Zork.
However, to generalize a bit, think about the games you like to play. Take a look at your collection. Do you generally prefer games with a lot of context, like Mass Effect or Heavy Rain? Or do you generally prefer games with little to no context, like Tetris or Plants vs. Zombies? Speak your mind in the comments!