The Power of Stories

My ex girlfriend had a huge passion for story telling through games. I didn’t really understand it. I mean, I get that stories can be told through a game. But I didn’t really get it. Until I played and finished The Last of Us. It started off as an innocent thing. It was on sale. People raved about it. I was bored. And so I bought it.

When I started the game, I appreciated the graphics, the environment that I was able to explore, how real people looked in the game. But that was about it. Sneaking around and shooting people was like most other games. Take your time and you’ll do relatively well.

But as the game progressed, the events got a little scarier, the characters got a little closer, and I got a little more focused on exploring the whole map. The next thing I knew, I started reading a walkthrough to make sure I wasn’t missing anything before I continued with the main story. I got too focused on optimizing my weapons.

It worked. When I decided to run into a scene with my guns blazing, I survived. It sped up the game quite significantly as opposed to sneaking around everyone.

But as I got further and further into the game, I realized that I really liked the way the characters had developed. The struggles they were going through. The different types of people they met along the way.

And the next thing I knew, I was sucked into the game. I was running through the zombies with them. I was hiding behind desks to avoid the crazies. I wanted to us make it to our goal.

And that’s when I realized that I did myself a disservice. I never should’ve open that walkthrough. Not only did I have an idea of what was coming up, but I was stopping myself from being immersed into the game.

I finished the last 20% without using the walkthrough. I stopped caring about completing the game 100%. I stopped caring about optimizing my weapons (that I barely used anyway). Instead, I just allowed myself to live in the game. To run with them. To hold my breath for them. To see them through this painful journey.

When I finally finished it, I realized just how powerful a well crafted story and meaningful character development was. I finally realized what my ex was looking for when she watched playthroughs. Now I have a newfound perspective when reading, watching or playing any sort of story.

And who knows. Maybe I will find a way to incorporate all these new perspectives in the way I communicate.