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Immersion: Plot and gamer segregation

Discussion in 'General Pokémon Discussion' started by Pasque, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. Pasque

    Pasque Well-Known Member

    Firstly I’d like to apologies for the vague title to this thread, I seriously have no idea how to express what I mean better =/

    Essentially I’d like to know your opinions on the role the storyline and plot plays in your immersion and enjoyment of the main Pokemon games.
    I’m sure if you’ve played the various Gens you’ve noticed that there is an increasing amount of plot and character led stories in each of the games.

    Gen I infamously has little to no storyline. Aside from defeating Team Rocket the character isn’t really called upon on doing anything. The legendary mons don’t even play a role in what little plot there is at all! Catching them is completely optional, and they are treated as nothing more than super rare critters.
    Gold/Silver was similar, although Team Rocket were more prominent and the legendaries became more mythical/deity-like.

    Then Crystal came along, where Suicune played an important role in a subplot, it was more than a side quest. And from this game onwards each Gen has featured legendary Pokemon that play a big role in a story line that involves a Team of villains/extremists that are linked to said legendary Pokemon, and it is your fate to deal with them, whether you want to or not. Added to this is the increasing role Champions and Gym Leaders play in the many plot/subplots and side quests, and how much personality they display.

    What I’d like to know is whether you like this trend or not? How does it affect your enjoyment of the games? Are you interested in discovering more about the legendaries? Do you look forward to finding out what the region’s evil Team is up to? Can you immerse yourself in the story?

    For me:
    It’s hit and miss for me. Although Kanto is pretty bland as a region, with little to no history, with the characters that live there having little personality or not much of a role in the grand scheme of things; it really helps me immerse myself more. In this and G/S I felt I simply played the role of your average run-of-the-mill trainer, like any other, going about his Poke-business. The avatar is me and I’m a part of that world.

    In the later Gens, for some reason I become “the chosen one”. Have to beat the ‘evil’ Team, catch (or at least fight) some big legendary, have to save the world… why does it all have to be so epic? I no longer feel the story is about me but about whoever the trainer avatar is. Then there are the looooong dialogues, with Gen V being the worst offender (Platinum was pretty bad too). Essentially there’s a lot of But Thou Must going on. I find it hard to immerse myself that way.

    But in having said that, I do like the legends and mythos that surround the newer regions, the characterisation of Gym Leaders, Champions and secondary characters (i.e rivals, NPCs, professors, etc). It does add more depth to the regions themselves, not to mention the Pokemon Verse as a whole.

    Anywho, that’s my two cents, sorry for the wall of text (ooh irony!)
    What about you guys? =]

    PS: But Thou Must refers to this: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ButThouMust
     
  2. Endolise

    Endolise TengenToppaBoogaloo

    But you aren't the "chosen one." You're just some Trainer who happens upon the evil team's plot and chooses to oppose it. Nobody forces it on you; in fact, several characters like Alder and Lance ask how you feel about being involved in it. You aren't fated to defeat the evil team; your actions as a Trainer (i.e. going around the region, becoming stronger, meeting various key characters that members of the evil team are likely to come across as well) put you in a position where you are able to do something about them.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013
  3. Meowtastic

    Meowtastic Well-Known Member

    I don't care too much for the plots, tbh. Although I really did like black and white's storyline, as N had a very good point about how he felt pokemon were being used as slaves, so it didn't seem like they were completely evil as much as it seemed like 2 clashing views. I'm pretty excited to see how they'll top that in the new games.

    What I’d like to know is whether you like this trend or not?
    I would rather the story revolve more around the main character's life, instead of every game being centered around defeating an evil team and having so much emphasis on legendaries.

    How does it affect your enjoyment of the games?
    It does get a little annoying after a while.

    Are you interested in discovering more about the legendaries?
    I'm not too interesting in the legendaries, most of the time.

    Do you look forward to finding out what the region’s evil Team is up to?
    Not really

    Can you immerse yourself in the story?
    Not really
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013
  4. SimH8

    SimH8 Well-Known Member

    I really like the deeper stories, but I'd like to see one that doesn't involve legendary pokemon.
     
  5. Atratus

    Atratus Antimatter Trainer

    I think the plot is very important, for pokemon and any other game. It makes it more immersive for me, and when legendary pokemon are involved it is much better, because it makes the world seem important. I do, however, have an issue with how the pokemon games have been handling it. Yes, Kanto was very dull in terms of happenings, but while playing Platinum, I found that being a 10 year-old that saves the very fabric of reality from collapsing was an alienating experience, because it was too much.
     
  6. Ditto B1tch

    Ditto B1tch Well-Known Member

    While it seems weird a 10 years old boy (or girl) saving an entire region, this is a standard GF will not step back. Legendaries are more related to the plot since Hoenn, and it worked well. Certain things became predictable, and when you can predict scenes, it's starts to get a little stale. For example, you always encounter the mascot legendary between seventh and eighth gym. Plus, in this first encounter you generally have opportunity to catch it with Master Ball, as you always obtain it previously. And the game has also become too linear because the plot, then you cannot collect some badges out of order like in Kanto and Johto.
     
  7. Pasque

    Pasque Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the replies everyone =]
    Well you are the 'chosen one' even if you're not explicitly referred to as such. You're the only one to fight the region's resident Team to the very end and to involve yourself with all the legendaries.
    But I like the perspective you have, the idea of being an average trainer who gets caught up in the crazy happenings during your adventure. It seems very immersive!

    Personally I like the main character being a blank sheet because that way it's an avatar for myself, but I do find the direction GF took in Gen V with the rivals interesting. Making them childhood best friends added an interesting dimension to the main character through their relationship and interactions, and they played more of a role in the overall storyline.
    How would like a character centric plot to play out?

    I think you both make good points. I'm not against storytelling as a whole, but I do think GF havn't been handling it too well. It would be nice to see a little more flexibility and a less predictable and linear plot that really affects the progression of the game or the freedom you have.
    And like Atratus, I find the story a little alienating and too much sometimes. But that's just a personal taste and it's something I can live with =]

    What really affected my enjoyment was the endless dialogue and cutscenes which made playing Gen V really tedious and boring at times. It's something I hope they avoid doing in Gen VI

    I think GF have done a good job with keeping the 'evil Team' and legendaries diverse and interesting, maybe they just need a new way to change the formula because they always seem to follow the same M.O regardless of ideologies. i.e. capture/control a legendary (or more!) through whatever means possible to achieve that goal.
     
  8. voicerocker

    voicerocker Platinum Master

    My view is this: these player characters aren't meant to be us. Each of the characters has an official name (like Red). We simply play through the games as that character. That's probably one of the reasons why character customization hasn't been added yet. In every generation, there's a story to be told, but that story isn't about us. It's about the character we control. Yes, we can name the character after ourselves, but you can also change Link's name in the Legend of Zelda games. But he's still universally known as Link.

    I think that's the same thing that happens in Pokemon games.
     
  9. Pasque

    Pasque Well-Known Member

    I don't know about that, it's been stated before that the main reason the player character has no dialogue is to make us (the player) feel like we're the character and it's our adventure.

    I sadly can't find the interview that confirmed this for Gen II (which is where I remember reading about it), but I found one for BW2 that confirms the same thing for all Gens: here.
    I think it's probably why the protagonists have little to no background.
    But I don't know about the names =/

    Regardless, it does bring up an interesting point. Some people prefer to live the adventure (i.e. you're the hero of the story) or to follow the adventures of another (using Zelda games as an example: you allow Link to move and interact, but you are aware that you're not Link, you're simply enabling him).

    Which do you prefer for the Pokemon games when you play them? =]
     
  10. Raguna

    Raguna Magikarp. The best.

    Immersion is way more complicated than just imagining yourself as the main character. I mean, look at Final Fantasy VII. It is an immersive game, but you still can't say that "you" are any of those characters. Movies (the good ones, at least...) are also immersive, but you are not anyone on the screen. I don't think a cahracter devoid of any purpose is the way to make immersion better. Having an actual lore for the game helps you being a part of the world, in my opinion. I mean, you know the story of your country/the world, don't you? It is kinda like that in Pokémon too. Knowing the story of the world makes it seem like you really are a part of it. Even generation I had a little bit of backstory, and it also had a good story aside from the "Team Rocket" ark. The story was about the rivalry between you and Green. That's what the whole game builds up to! that's why Gary is the champion, and no Giovanni. The story only became centered on the team on Gen II. And, about the backstory, pokémon mansion was a huge backstory for Mewtwo.

    And also, the plot is not an excuse for the linearity. A LOT of story driven games let you do stuff in the order you desire. They probably just didn't want to worry too much with the gym leaders levels.
     
  11. Starsurfer

    Starsurfer Pokemon Idol

    I see your point. I personally like the depth of the story lines and I don't feel like I'm some "Chosen One" when I play. But I have noticed that as the generations continue to advance in plot, they have slowly become more and more scripted/linear. (Gen V being the biggest offender in this thus far) This in turn, does kinda kill the ability to become completely immersed in the game. I would appreciate it if the games had a bit more of an open world feel. Not extremely so, as it's hard to do that with something like Pokemon. But maybe create some more interesting side-quests, or make a point in the games where you can kinda choose which gyms you want to face at what time. I know in Gen I and II, there were a couple points when you could fight a gym leader that was technically "too strong" for you. I kinda liked that.

    But overall, I like where the game is going as far as plot goes. And even if they're slowly becoming more linear, I'm willing to trade that for the epic stories.
     
  12. blackarcanine123

    blackarcanine123 Well-Known Member

    Well said. That is the reason I'm against character customization.

    I like plot but more on the level of Dppt to be honest I find it a chore to have listen to a lot of that dialogue crap in B2W2. Maybe we can have more on the other characters though like rivals and evil bosses. The legendary thing is way to predictable.
     
  13. jupitol

    jupitol Hybrid pokemon! ^`_^

    Actually, Gen V (BW at any rate) is the first one in which you literally cannot change up the gymleader order at all (which goes against everything I've done since I first got my Diamond, in every game I've played after that (almost all of them (although I always swapped up gen II anyway))
    Gen I, badges 3-6 were open choice for which order you got them in,
    Gen II was free choice for 5-7,
    Gen III you could get the Heat badge before the Knuckle, the Feather as your eighth,
    Gen IV you could switch up Cobble and Fen, at least.

    Like this trend or not?
    I'm fine with plot as long as it doesn't stop me wandering at least relatively freely. I don't see why they can't have story triggering events after an open choice set (as II's seven badges-triggers-Radio Tower phonecall)
    How does it affect your enjoyment of the games?
    I would much prefer to be able to take at least one gym out of order. I really don't like being so blatantly railroaded through a whole game and given no real option to wander ahead.
    Are you interested in discovering more about the legendaries?
    They tend to put effort into them (I really like some of the stories from the library in gen IV), so yes (The mythos is interesting. I like mythos)
    Do you look forward to finding out what the region’s evil Team is up to?
    I don't know, but I suppose? I'm really curious about B2W2, for instance (also, avoiding spoilers is really tricky, and I'd like to not have to anymore)(But I'm finishing my Black first, before I play my W2.)
    Can you immerse yourself in the story?
    I pretty much can, yes, but that's just the way I work. My brain runs off on all sorts of bizarre tangents of what might be if I could treat the game as the real world. Like having my team trample Ghetsis, which is always amusing. Unfortunately, as much as immersing me this also dislocates me from it, I suppse, so. Eh.
     
  14. Pasque

    Pasque Well-Known Member

    My last post was admittedly rather character centric, but thats because I believe "the silent protagonist" is a core concept of the game designed specifically for players to be able to imagine themselves as the hero (which is pretty common for an RPG). But I agree with all you just said and it's why I have also mentioned the importance of storytelling, the role other characters play, the mythos behind the Pokemon world, etc. There's a multitude of factors at play.

    I especially agree with backstory in regards to the Pokemon world itself and how it enriches the experience of playing the game. It makes it seem more, for lack of a better word, "real".

    I have mixed feelings about the linearity of the games. I know it's not just because of the plot, but when you compare the older games to the newer ones you can see there is definitely more of a narrative, and I think the GF haven't yet found the right balance between that and wanting to keep the protagonists as simple to relate to (or become) possible, and freedom within the game.

    Yeah, the scripted story and dialogue has become quite intrusive to the gameplay. I also enjoy expanding on an overall plot and characters but not to the extent where it affects your options of what to do next.
    I guess the best way to describe it is 'guided'. You're guided to your next destination or adventure, and it's been like this in all the Gens, but B/W definitely brought it to a new level of intrusiveness.

    Also noticed how much the W/B Gym Leaders play a role outside of their gyms? I'm struggling to remember which ones you meet for the first time are in their gyms and not runnin' around lol.
    It gives them a lot of personality, but I am disliking how they tend to be the ones who "railroad" (as you put it) you into what to do next.
     
  15. Bananarama

    Bananarama Another trophy

    I'd honestly enjoy a ranger-esque plot of helping NPC's, without the evil team drama.
     
  16. Excitable Boy

    Excitable Boy is a metaphor

    The only thing railroading you in BW/2 is the region design. The Gym Leaders do not send you away from the next Gym to tackle a sidequest; on the contrary, they send you toward the next Gym.

    but

    the main plot of Ranger games IS evil team drama

    seriously, have you actually played one through
     
  17. Raguna

    Raguna Magikarp. The best.

    Yes, they still don't handle the story thing 100%, but think about it. Black/White was their first game that was story oriented. They already improved in a lot of aspects in B/W2, but there's not much they could do, since Unova's design is made to make it a linear region. And, in my opinion, having a better narrative is a progress, counting that Pokémon is an RPG. And, about the silent protagonist, for me they were more to not influence the player's view on the world around him, in general. I mean, a lot of the silent protagonists have a major role, usually being "The chosen one" "The hero of legend" or whatever. So, yeah, if you can't identify with the "chosen one", most silent protagonists already won't do the job of making you feel like you're "in" the game. But, like I was saying, the thing they are there for is making the player see the world by the eyes of someone who won't put their own opinions out there. And, silent characters in Pokémon never really were the conventional main characters. I mean, when have you ever made a major decision in Pokémon that affected the world around you? The only "game changing" decision in the games is which starter to get. And even that only changes the game barely. So, in short, silent protagonists have a whole bunch of purposes. In the case of Pokémon, I'd say it is for you to experience the game for yourself, without any "input" from the main character. It is easier to relate with a character that doesn't talk. That way, he can never annoy you, and it makes it easier for you to interact with the world. Because, annoying main characters can REALLY break a game.
     
  18. Arlo

    Arlo ...and so on...

    For me, the plot just needs to be a basic set-up to provide some context for the actual points of the game - going out and exploring a region and discovering, catching, training, evolving and battling pokemon. I don't mind the basic premise of standing against some villainous opposition, but I do agree that the "chosen one" notion can be a bit problematic, and I don't want to see that taken too far.

    The thing that concerns me about it is the false sense of urgency to it. To me, it actually undermines the story. There's this notion that "OMIGOD YOU HAVE TO GO THERE NOW AND DO THAT NOW BECAUSE THE WORLD'S GOING TO END!!" except that it's not. You don't really have to go anywhere now and do anything now. If you want to turn around and go back somewhere and spend the next six months catching and grinding and evolving and whatever, that's fine. Whoever's standing further up the route, waiting for you because OMIGOD ETC. will just keep standing there, and the world won't end. And that, to me, just means that that whole sense of profound urgency shouldn't be there in the first place, since the only other feasible options are to make that urgency real - to really cause harm if you don't deal with whatever-it-is immediately, or worse yet to have the game take over and force you to progress to deal with it, and I really don't want to see either one of those. So just in the interest of keeping it so that you can go where you want when you want without having it conflict so obviously with the false urgency of the game, so that whatever story there is actually remains believeable, I'd like to see the whole earth-shaking importance thing turned down a few notches.

    And on a related note, I NEVER want to have a Legendary forced on me again. That was the one thing I really hated about BW - I don't care if there's some sort of ages-old conflict between Reshiram and Zekrom and some dude in green hair has drug me into it - I went out of my way to train a team to take to the E4 because I wanted THAT TEAM, and suddenly I have to either boot one of my loyal and dependable friends off the team just to make way from some busybody dragon I didn't ask for, or keep it off my team and undermine the whole concept of the rivalry. Two bad options, IMO, and you should never be limited to two bad options.
     
  19. Raguna

    Raguna Magikarp. The best.

    Pokémon really doesn't need the "chosen one" notion, that's why it never had that. I mean, when have you ever heard someone saying you had a "destiny" to fulfill in Pokémon games? That's more for Zelda. In Pokémon you are just a talented trainer who always get caught up in some weird stuff. Basically, you're an unlucky trainer. Wrong place at the wrong time. At B/W2 you had a more personal reason, by helping your friend. But you still get dragged on some more serious stuff.

    False sense of urgency has been around as long as videogames. Mario and Sonic are some rare exceptions, but in RPG's, in general, you can't make the endgame feel really "urgent". I mean, the end is always kind of the "climax", where the villain makes his last stand and the heroes goes to stop him. He is going to destroy the world, but still, now is the best time to do the last sidequests! It is a silly concept, but one every gamer has grown to be familiar with. It is the Story-Gameplay segregation, which means that what is happening in the story doesn't always have to apply to the gameplay. Even though the villain is powerful enough to destroy the world, if your characters are all lvl 100, you are going to beat him no problem. Does that make it a bad game? No, it, technically, was you who ruined the suspense of the game by being overleveled. It is the same if you wait in the "urgent" moment. And That's good. I mean, would you REALLY want to be forced to go take on the final boss, even though you haven't taken care of something you just remembered? That is just a game design choice. If you actually put a timer on the player, he will probably get annoyed. Specially in an RPG, and at the endgame, for that matter. So, yeah, I don't think Pokémon really needs all that "suspense" either, but if the story justifies it, it's fine by me.

    And having the Dragon be TOO integral to the story, although cool, was kinda incovenient at the last battle. But, then again, you can't complain about that too much. They DID fix it in B/W2, so they probably realized that caused a bit of awkwardness in the story if the player decides to send the legendary into the PC. But I guess that's one of the risks of making a game with a fully customizable party...
     
  20. Bananarama

    Bananarama Another trophy

    YES, I honestly have played the game through. What I MEANT was the after-game missions, where you help an NPC with something,like clearing logs out of the path.

    Seriously, have you actually read a post clearly?
     

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