Why voicing your opinion is a tricky business

Ever since I was a kid i’ve been hearing mixed and oftentimes wrong opinions about video games. Some people consider these to be only for children, other consider them a foolish hobby and there are the ones who simply have no faith in anything that isn’t a “regular” job. By now, I have heard opinions that have no true facts to support them about several aspects of the industry from people I know and respect. Surprisingly, it was an article about Steven Spielberg and George Lucas that took me by surprise with how unfounded and misinformed they are.

I study at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts with brilliant colleagues that I’m sure will grow into key positions in different aspects of the Interactive Media and Gaming world. Our school receives a lot of support from George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, which is why their opinion was a bit, well… shocking. One would think that having students making games inside the buildings you’ve donated would imply that you’re very involved in it. Well, I was wrong. Emotions in videogames are one thing, but stating that these haven’t created stories that make gamers care about them is an entirely different territory.

One of the main things that has kept me so involved and motivated in working in the gaming industry is precisely the deep relationships I’ve built with several characters over the years. When you spend so many hours learning about them, helping them grow or develop the plot through your actions, they become more than just a vessel through which you have the experience. Sometimes, the story is so interesting you end up playing for more hours than the game was planned for. I’ve teared up to sad stories, felt anger and frustration when the characters suffer and have also laughed with them. These characters are more than just the elements of the story because some are so powerful they start feeling like friends.

For all these reasons and many more, I can’t understand why someone would think that there’s no story that makes people care about the characters. There are many things that video games need to work on improving, but I don’t believe that creating stories that make the player care about the character is one that needs to be created. This article did bring something positive with it: I will be sharing with you a series of posts related to games that have changed my life and why. This might help those less familiar with video games understand why I disagree so strongly with Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. Games have a lot of potential and I know many that have powerful stories that helped me bond and care about characters in a deeper level. I’m sure there will be many more, but make sure to look out for the series.

See you soon,

Chris Muriel