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Will Video Games Become More Like Interactive Graphic Novels?

By Chip Rossetti

Today’s lead story discusses the first interactive, immersive graphic novel for the iPad, which combines elements of both video games (because the reader controls the pace of the story and can “peel back” the page to reveal historical documents and images as he or she goes) and graphic novels (because it walks the reader through an illustrated story.) Recently, Publishing Perspectives published an interview with Tom Bissell in which he talked about how “stupid” the storytelling is in most video games.

Is an interactive graphic novel like Operation Ajax —based on an actual historical event, and scripted in consultation with an author who’s done the research — the solution to bad video-game stories? Will we start seeing more sophisticated narratives in video games? Or do you think amalgams like this are more likely to be the future of graphic novels?

Tell us what you think!

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  1. Posted July 29, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    this is a tough one. I read books, I read comic books, I watch movies, and i’ve played video games (although not often, and not well). I think this is a case of comparing apples and oranges. Video games are video games. Books (comic or otherwise) are books. And movies are movies. And perhaps never the twain shall meet.

    We’ve seen various tries at combining two mediums, including cd-roms, vooks, and interactive comics (motion comics from Marvel. they’re on iTunes), but I don’t think we’ve seen a true melding of two formats that has taken root in a sense of replacing the old system.

    I suspect video games, which are leaps and bound ahead of where they were (was there a “story” to Space Invaders, Asteroids or Missile Command? If so, it was beyond basic.) will continue to change/progress and comic books (alright graphic novels) will improve, but they’ll never be consolidated completely.

    After wall, listening to the radio has never been anything more than audio. It’s just that listening is now no longer confined to the “old school” radio.


  2. Rin
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    I disagree, Gene. You’re right about one thing, though: Games such as Tetris, Space Invaders and Pac-Man were simplistic and lacked any storyline. Those video games served a different purpose. They were an effort to provide something light in times of war. After that war ended, it became a race to add something new to that. Then Star Wars came to theaters and everyone realized at once what exactly video games were missing.

    Movies, comics and video games are getting less and less different. Most games these days have very elaborately done cut scenes and intricate storylines. If you’ve ever played a visual novel, you know that even books are getting into the mix. Video games are quickly becoming an art form.

  3. Posted January 10, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    This is a very interesting topic. I personally beleive that we will see a melding of these different art forms into new experiences, because of technological advances like the tablet, and the new opportunities it introduces.

    Also, even though the older games were quite simplistic in terms of their story, interactive narrative can be quite compelling, depending on the game design mechanics.

    Check out this presentation from Extra Credits on Missile Command:


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