Difference between revisions of "Story Writing Basics"

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'''Video Game Examples:'''  
'''Video Game Examples:'''  
: '''[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollow_Knight Hollow Knight]:''' The whole plot is full of nonsense.
: '''[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Final_Fantasy_X Final Fantasy X]:''' The whole thing is about a ruined world.

Revision as of 16:59, 14 July 2019

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Depending on certain games, story may or may not be the most important thing. In RPG's, story tends to be an (extremely) important aspect of them. But even the smallest games with the simplest gameplay will still have a story to them. There's protagonists and antagonists, heroes and villains, resolution and conflict. The following is a list of things to take into consideration when writing a story.

The Seven Basic Plots

There's an infinite amount of possible stories you can write for a game. But among them are seven categories that story plots tend to fall under. Stories can follow one or multiple of these at a time. Understanding them, what they are, and what they can do for your game will help build an understanding on how you want to write your story.

Overcoming the Monster

Wikipedia Definition: The protagonist sets out to defeat an antagonistic force (often evil) which threatens the protagonist and/or protagonist's homeland.

In Games: In games, this has now transformed into something more like "Overcoming the Antagonist". The "monster" doesn't have to be an actual monster but an antagonist and/or source of conflict. This can be the villain or baddie that the hero and his/her party has been chasing since the start of the game or a giant evil and/or disaster that they must prevent or halt.

Video Game Examples:

Chrono Trigger: Crono and co. versus Lavos.
Final Fantasy VII: Cloud and co. fighting against Sephiroth.
Kingdom Hearts: Sorta and co. fighting against Ansem.

Rags to Riches

Wikipedia Definition: The poor protagonist acquires power, wealth, and/or a mate, loses it all and gains it back, growing as a person as a result.

In Games: This is often the main goal for shop sims, farming sims, management sims, you see the pattern, but it can also apply to certain characters, too, whose sole goal is to get away from their currently unfavorable life state to obtain a better one.

Video Game Examples:

Chrono Trigger: Starting with a run-down farm and building it back up.
Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale: Running a shop to break free out of debt and learning the trade of being a merchant.
Moonlighter: A shopkeeper in the middle of a nowhere town trying to make a living.

The Quest

Wikipedia Definition: The protagonist and companions set out to acquire an important object or to get to a location. They face temptations and other obstacles along the way.

In Games: In games, this doesn't change much from the usual story definition. From seeking the four crystals to finding a legendary artifact or whatever, you see these stories all the time in games, and especially in RPG's. An objective is given to the player by the game and that object needs to be cleared. That's as simple as it gets for a quest, or "the quest".

Video Game Examples:

Final Fantasy V: Collect the four crystals, the legendary weapons, etc.

Voyage and Return

Wikipedia Definition: The protagonist goes to a strange land and, after overcoming the threats it poses to them, they return with experience.

In Games: In some games, this could be about exploration and the adventures the protagonists goes through. In others, it could be about survival and making it through until the protagonist is capable of escaping. In traditional RPG's, this tends to be a supporting plot as some of them tend to have world-wide traversal.

Video Game Examples:


Wikipedia Definition: Light and humorous character with a happy or cheerful ending; a dramatic work in which the central motif is the triumph over adverse circumstance, resulting in a successful or happy conclusion. Booker stresses that comedy is more than humor. It refers to a pattern where the conflict becomes more and more confusing, but is at last made plain in a single clarifying event. The majority of romance films fall into this category.

In Games: In games, you see these as misadventures, possibly happening with joke characters, or with a joke plot in general due to how ridiculous it is (but makes sense in-universe).

Video Game Examples:

Disgaea: The whole plot is full of nonsense.
Hyperdimension Neptunia: The series is about anthropomorphic video game consoles reliving the console wars.
Disgaea: The story is super light-hearted and funny in so many ways.


Wikipedia Definition: The protagonist's character flaw or great mistake which is their undoing. Their unfortunate end evokes pity at their folly and the fall of a fundamentally good character.

In Games: Happens in game stories as they would in regular stories. Though the tragedy does not have to be a character flaw, but rather, something that happens to the character(s). This could range from a character's death to the destruction of a hero's hometown, what have you.

Video Game Examples:

Final Fantasy X: The whole thing is about a ruined world.


Wikipedia Definition: An event forces the main character to change their ways and often become a better person.

In Games: Just like the last few story plots, rebirth is another one where it can happen in games as they would in regular stories. In recent trends, this is often seen in an antagonist more than a protagonist, but it can very well happen to the protagonist, too.

Video Game Examples: