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Old 12-08-2006, 11:55 AM   #1
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Default Tired of Adventure Game’s old Themes?

Have you noticed that the new adventure game developers use the same themes over and over again for their games? I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty bored by games themes dealing with: conspiracies, Atlantis (or other mystic ancient civilization), templar and aliens (and in many cases, all put together in one senseless story).
Don’t get me wrong, I have played and enjoyed new games with stories on those same lines, but I would really like to have the variety of games in the past. Like Sierra or Lucas Arts Games, and many others that had their own very original very interesting storylines.
Some great storylines that I remember are:
-guy trapped in a mental asylum with no memory of why he is there
-pirate wannabe trying to be a pirate and meet the love of her life
-renegade biker trying to clear his name
-dog and rabbit detectives trying to solve a circus crime
-man gets trapped in a book in a fantastic world that he wrote himself
-man destined to be a shadow hunter turns into werewolf and finds a forgotten Wagner Opera.
-newlywed couple lives in a house with a dark past that turns the husband into an evil murderer
-Girl travels between two parallel worlds of science and magic and discovers her true destiny
-A boy in a robe gets vanished from its tribe and when they are turned into swans he is the only one who can save them.

And so on… I really miss original stories…
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Old 12-08-2006, 01:11 PM   #2
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I agree with your general point, but a lot of the examples of "very original very interesting" stories aren't that original either. The amnesia/asylum storyline is an old favorite. The newlywed couple story is just The Amityville Horror or The Shining. The girl travelling between worlds owes a lot to Lewis, Pullman, and Gaiman. And so on...
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Old 12-08-2006, 01:15 PM   #3
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There is no "old" theme. There is bad story, bad gameplay, etc.
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Old 12-08-2006, 03:05 PM   #4
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I read somewhere there were actually only 51 story plots, with a multitude of variants. Seems like too few, but they could be compressed down to that number. Might be fun naming them.

My submission:

Mixup - our hero is set to marry but mistakes someone else for his bride. (I suppose this culd be a subset of "Marriage Gone Wrong")

Transformation - a spell /a potion/a machine transforms our hero into a dog/a shrinking man/a cockroach

For some reason a lot of Shakespeare's plays come to mind. He must have covered quite a few.
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Old 12-08-2006, 04:30 PM   #5
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I'm not really sure I care about originality so much as I do about variety.
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Old 12-08-2006, 05:05 PM   #6
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I agree that fresh stories are harder to come by. Its a byproduct of the corporate culture pervading mainstream gaming. They have to go with whats worked and if you're lucky, they'll put a twist on it.

Maybe try more indie games? Go to the Underground section of this website and try some of the games there. You'll definitely find some original stories there.
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Old 12-08-2006, 05:27 PM   #7
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Old 12-09-2006, 12:35 AM   #8
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Quote:
The girl travelling between worlds owes a lot to Lewis, Pullman, and Gaiman.
The Longest Journey (which is what AlejandroSV was talking about) came out a few years before Coraline, which is Gaiman's only major work dealing with the girl traveling between worlds theme.

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man gets trapped in a book in a fantastic world that he wrote himself
Which game is this? It sounds interesting.
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Old 12-09-2006, 02:18 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NemelChelovek View Post
man gets trapped in a book in a fantastic world that he wrote himself


Which game is this? It sounds interesting.
Myst.

But to stay on topic: I don't care about 'old' stories, as long as the story is told in an interesting and compelling way. I think the way the story is told is more important than the story itself.
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Old 12-09-2006, 02:37 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NemelChelovek View Post
Which game is this? It sounds interesting.
Toonstruck. He didn't write the fantasy world though, he drew it.
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Old 12-09-2006, 02:49 AM   #11
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I heard that What Linus Bruckman Sees When His Eyes Are Closed has a pretty unique story premise. In fact, I heard it had two of them.

*runs away into the shadows*
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Old 12-09-2006, 04:22 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NemelChelovek View Post
The Longest Journey (which is what AlejandroSV was talking about) came out a few years before Coraline, which is Gaiman's only major work dealing with the girl traveling between worlds theme.
I don't know what you consider Gaiman's major works, but it's bloody well obvious that Ragnar Tørnquist read the Sandman comics. TLJ shares many similarities with the A Game of You storyline which was published around 1991-92.
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Old 12-09-2006, 08:28 AM   #13
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The plot of The Longest Journey is straight from Michael Ende's novel The Neverending Story. Many would prefer to gloss over this because The Longest Journey was a good adventure game. This is sweeping things under the carpet.

Authors frequently copy plots of other authors. That's their choice. It would still be courteous to at least give a nod to their source of inspiration (let's say), especially if they're consistently congratulated on the supposed originality of their work.
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Last edited by Simo Sakari Aaltonen; 12-09-2006 at 12:54 PM. Reason: Because my tone was harsher than I intended.
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Old 12-09-2006, 09:28 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vivasawadee View Post
Maybe try more indie games? Go to the Underground section of this website and try some of the games there. You'll definitely find some original stories there.
Insactly, most of good stories travel around underground...


...but i can't say that there are few unoriginal stories.
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Old 12-09-2006, 10:32 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by GarageGothic View Post
I don't know what you consider Gaiman's major works, but it's bloody well obvious that Ragnar Tørnquist read the Sandman comics. TLJ shares many similarities with the A Game of You storyline which was published around 1991-92.
Yes. And many parts of the story aside from just the Stark/Arkadia part. April is a very Gaimanian protagonist, for instance. And Ragnar has named Sandman as one of his big influences, so there's nothing underhanded about that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simo Sakari Aaltonen View Post
The plot of The Longest Journey is straight from Michael Ende's novel The Neverending Story. Many would prefer to gloss over this because The Longest Journey was a good adventure game. This is sweeping things under the carpet.

Authors frequently copy the plots of other authors. That is their choice. They should still have the basic decency to acknowledge their source. Especially when they are consistently congratulated on the supposed originality of their work.

Assuming honesty matters to them.
The Neverending Story is another good example of the "two worlds" idea. It is a very common idea, though, so I don't think it's fair to say that Ragnar "copied" the story and didn't acknowledge the source. TLJ is as close to Narnia as it is to Ende's book.
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Old 12-09-2006, 01:08 PM   #16
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To each their own interpretation... Still, I encourage any admirer of TLJ to read The Neverending Story, whether they care about the similarities or not. It's a magnificent book and delves deeper into the themes than TLJ. There's no Buffytalk either.
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Old 12-09-2006, 06:48 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GarageGothic View Post
I don't know what you consider Gaiman's major works, but it's bloody well obvious that Ragnar Tørnquist read the Sandman comics. TLJ shares many similarities with the A Game of You storyline which was published around 1991-92.
Oh dear, I do look the ass. I always forget about the Sandman when I think of Gaiman; in my mind, I think of him as a novelist, so I always forget that he's done more work in graphic novels than in printed ones. I can't believe I didn't remember those even existed...wow. Forget what I said.

Quote:
The plot of The Longest Journey is straight from Michael Ende's novel The Neverending Story. Many would prefer to gloss over this because The Longest Journey was a good adventure game. This is sweeping things under the carpet.
Now, this one I've read, so I feel safe enough disagreeing with you. I've read Ende's novel, and I really don't understand where you're coming from with this one. It does involve someone traveling between worlds, but that's where the major similarities end, as far as I can see.
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Old 12-09-2006, 08:45 PM   #18
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Here is a site that has all 36 of Georges Polti's dramatic situations that were discussed earlier in this thread. Back in 1868, he stated that every tale fits into one of these dramatic situations. So HERE THEY ARE, laid out in detail. It is quite interesting if you can wade through it all.

Think of a movie or an adventure game plot and I bet you can fit it into one of these categories.

Cheers,
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Old 12-09-2006, 08:52 PM   #19
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There are numerous similarities, but the major ones that come to mind right now include:

The title. The Neverending Story. The Longest Journey. They couldn't call it neverending, so they called it really long instead, and a journey rather than story (it is a quest game).

The twin worlds of Fantasia/Arcadia and harsh reality or science (called Stark in TLJ). What's happening to them and why. The big nothing or chaos (this really nails it for me) eating up the world of imagination.

The troubled father-child relationship. Dragons. The stories-within-stories theme.

It's the whole premise, not just the twin-worlds setting. But I'm okay with anyone disagreeing with me on this, so I won't press the point further. I would have no problem with any of this except that TLJ seems to have nothing to add on the subject.

Taking a brilliant concept (and this applies to the topic in general) in order to develop it that much further would be perfectly fine (standing on the shoulders of giants as they say), but just taking the concept and doing less with it than the original, well, strikes me as pointless.

It's as if Mr Tørnquist wanted to tell a story that had already been told and couldn't escape the original's orbit. (In case there is any doubt, I enjoy many aspects of TLJ.)

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Old 12-09-2006, 09:53 PM   #20
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I'm not a big fan of The Neverending Story (I loved Momo and Jim Knopf as a kid, but always found TNS to be a bit forced, as if the author wasn't quite able to believe in his creation), so I have a hard time seeing it as a dazzlingly original masterpiece.

It occurs to me that the original "two worlds" story is of course Lewis Caroll's "Through the Looking Glass". It may not have been the first, but it exerted tremendous influence on everything that followed.

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There are numerous similarities, but the major ones that come to mind right now include:

The title. The Neverending Story. The Longest Journey. They couldn't call it neverending, so they called it really long instead, and a journey rather than story (it is a quest game).
Or Ursula Le Guin's "The Farthest Shore". Arkadia is arguably more similar to Earthsea than to Fantasia, especially in Dreamfall.

Quote:
The twin worlds of Fantasia/Arcadia and harsh reality or science (called Stark in TLJ). What's happening to them and why. The big nothing or chaos (this really nails it for me) eating up the world of imagination.
I don't remember much of that from TLJ. Are you talking about Dreamfall as well? There doesn't seem to be a close parallel to The Balance in TNS.

Quote:
The troubled father-child relationship. Dragons.
Dragons? Seriously?

Quote:
The stories-within-stories theme.
Again, maybe in Dreamfall, but not really a huge factor in TLJ (which uses only a simple framing device).

Quote:
It's the whole premise, not just the twin-worlds setting. But I'm okay with anyone disagreeing with me on this, so I won't press the point further. I would have no problem with any of this except that TLJ seems to have nothing to add on the subject.

Taking a brilliant concept (and this applies to the topic in general) in order to develop it that much further would be perfectly fine (standing on the shoulders of giants as they say), but just taking the concept and doing less with it than the original, well, strikes me as pointless.

It's as if Mr Tørnquist wanted to tell a story that had already been told and couldn't escape the original's orbit. (In case there is any doubt, I enjoy many aspects of TLJ.)
Well, I think his decision to move the "regular world" part into the future and science fiction was quite clever (not that combining science fiction with fantasy is a radically new idea). And the idea (in Dreamfall) that we are controlled by how we dream strikes me as a pretty strong metaphor in the age of FOX News.

The concept is so well-used that it seems unlikely there would be much to add to it. Ragnar Tørnquist isn't so much standing on the shoulders of giants as on a heap of writers that came before him. Ende among them, but maybe not at the very top.
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