Story Driven Video Games: My New Love

Hey everyone, IrishPride here talking a bit about video games that provide a deep engaging story and how they have revolutionized my overall gaming experience.  After beating Dragon Age: Origins the other week and recently playing the crap out of Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2, I decided to do a quick write-up about video games that are story driven and how I completely fell in love with them.

I've always been a gamer that likes to pick up and play, anything and everything.  I like all video games from the FPS to racing games.  However, it was never common for me to put more than twenty hours into a video game.  I would play it until I got bored and something else caught my eye, or it would be a game that I could beat in under twenty hours.  But I am here today to announce my love for video games that have deep engaging stories that make me feel apart of it.

I'm not going to lie, I bought Mass Effect for my XBOX 360 when it first came out.  I was all geeked up for it, but when I booted it up I couldn't get into it for whatever reason.  It then sat on my shelf and collected dust, right next to my copy of Test Drive Unlimited (the first MMO racing game my ass).  Then a couple of months ago, Steam had Mass Effect on sale for $2.00 or something and felt that I should give it another go, plus the PC version is far superior than the XBOX version.  Same thing happened.  I played it for an hour or so and just could not get into it.  I didn't want to play a game where it was all talking and no action.  I tried multiple times to dive into the story, but to no avail. 

However, for some strange reason, I wanted to play an epic RPG and decided to give Dragon Age: Origins a go.   I bought Dragon Age months ago on Steam, but only got a few hours into it and stopped (sounds like a consistent theme I have going).  I re-downloaded the game and kept my mind open, I was determined to give it a real go.  Being in the RPG mindset, I fell in love with Dragon Age.  I was totally immersed in the story and felt strong connections with the characters.  I would go to bed thinking about the story wondering what would happen next.  I would be sitting at work thinking how I would woo a female companion.  The story could not escape me, no matter how hard I tried.  I continued to play, tried to find every single side mission and even downloaded some DLC, I simply did not want the story to end.  When the story did come to an end, I felt joy and sorrow at the same time.  I was ecstatic to see how the story unfolded, but was sad to see my journey end.  No game had ever given me this impression before. 

Eighty-nine hours later, I completed everything in Dragon Age: Origins.  I could not believe it, I almost sank ninety hours into one video game.  Not only did I get my money's worth, I essentially got to participate in a movie where I helped control the outcome of the ending.  I then decided it was time to give Mass Effect the respect it deserved.  Since both Dragon Age and Mass Effect were produced by BioWare and are both similar in story mechanics, I had no trouble getting into it, finally.

Mass Effect had the same grasp on me.  I could not stop thinking of the story and what I would do to help progress it.  I put in over thirty hours in Mass Effect and tried to complete it as fast as possible, because I really wanted to dive into the sequel.  What's great about Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 is that you can transfer your character from the first one into the sequel.  So every tough decision you made in the first game effected different story plots in the second game.  Not only was I making decisions in the first game that impacted my character immediately, I had to look at the bigger picture and try to figure out how these decisions could effect my character in the next game and beyond. 

I've already put nearly forty hours into Mass Effect 2 and have not beat it yet.  I am taking my time, exploring every part of the universe and taking it all in.  I am constantly talking with my teammates, learning about them and fully engrossing myself in the entire story.  I never would have believed that playing these games would be like taking part in an interactive fantasy novel. 

Thank you BioWare for opening my eyes and showing me that video games can tell great stories and that I should invest my time in them.  My gaming sessions will never be the same because of these games and that is a good thing.  Now if you'll excuse me, I have to recruit another member of my team in Mass Effect 2...