- Wired News' Kris Cohler points to an Annalee Newitz post on 'No Language for Video Games?' at Underwire, another site in the voluminously labyrinthine Wired.com blog network of doom. And, y'know, it might be a little bit 'why can't games do X'? for some GSW readers, but let's excerpt anyhow:

"Video game designers have hit a brick wall where storytelling elements seem unable to evolve as pleasingly as graphics do. Last week I interviewed game designer and firsttime novelist Austin Grossman about this... and we talked about how videogames still can't beat old-fashioned novels when it comes to compelling stories. As a longtime fan of the novel, and only a sporadic player of video games, I have always thought that I would get into video games more if they could just do whatever it is that novels do for me."

Newitz claims: "The problem is that we're still coming up with accurate ways to describe video game "stories." This sounds a little nuts until you consider that it wasn't until the 1940s – roughly 45 years after the first films were shown publicly – that critics and filmmakers fully realized the potentials of this new medium. A French film magazine, Cahiers du Cinema, brought to 1950s audiences a whole new vocabulary for talking about film, including the idea of a mise en scene, which refers to the design composition of a particular shot."

Well, I personally think this is funny because a VP here at CMP has tried comparing Game Developer (or a possible further direction for the magazine) to Cahiers du Cinema for a few years now - whether rightly or wrongly. I think I somewhat disagree with Newitz - I'm not sure it's nomenclature or cohesive criticism that is the problem. It's just that stories are sometimes not what makes gameplay fun, and actually, a lot of compelling games don't need stories - which isn't really true for novels, right?

(Or maybe gamers are missing the point entirely by assuming that, and the right story will make a vital difference to the medium. You can go round and round on this whole subject for a while.)