Spam Spam Spam Humbug: Episode 38 – RPG Stories


This week’s topic is pretty much directly inspired by a recent episode of Axe of the Blood God, US Gamer’s RPG-focused podcast. That podcast is headed up by Kat Bailey, one of the writers at US Gamer, and she described her inspiration for the episode thusly:

I was inspired to explore RPG narrative by Undertale, which is an interesting deconstruction of the genre. I’ve expressed in the past that an RPG doesn’t need a good story to be successful, with Darkest Dungeon and Etrian Odyssey being key examples. However, in undertaking this exploration, I’ve realized that a high-quality narrative can mean more to an RPG than I realized.

Over the course of the episode, Steve and I explore the history of narrative in RPGs, talk about some of the different types of stories and the tools developers use to tell them, and share our favorite RPG stories. In the end, we ask the question, “Can an RPG succeed in spite of a bad story? And can a great story elevate otherwise middling mechanics?” I was honestly surprised by my answer.

It was a really good — if lengthy! — episode; Kat and her co-host Steve discussed a number of different RPGs and storytelling styles. If you have time (and it is a lengthy episode, so that’s not an idle opening statement), it’s well worth a listen.

But I thought it might be interesting to throw the same discussion topic out in front of the SSSH crew, and see what happens.

Listen to the Episode

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1 Response

  1. Wai KeNiao says:

    Skyrim is weak when it comes to romance, but that is not an essential element when it comes to any genre of game. The Mammoth tusk is a really bad example, because you could find one in a store if you looked hard enough and you could kill a mammoth if you wanted to at a very low level. It would take a lot of effort though. Also, something I think it is good for most RPGs to make anything possible, but not to make anything possible instantly.