In my gamer experience, I usually don’t know or, to be honest, cared about a storyline or narrative in games. My motivation to play a game was because of the game play, or in other words, game mechanics. To my knowledge, there is no story to Tetris. It’s a great puzzle game, that by 2016 sold 495 million copies and ranked number one in sales (Tassi, 2016), and is rated number one in the 50 Best Video Games of All Time by TIME (Peckham, et al., 2016). Minecraft is another game that has no story, but has sold over 106 million copies and is ranked number two in sales (Tassi, 2016), and is rated number 6 in the 50 Best Video Games of All Time by TIME (Peckham, et al., 2016). These are quite amazing feats for having no story or narrative built into the games.
In his blog, Gabe Zichermann shares that one of the main stumbling blocks for game developers working in gamification is the story, and it can be frustrating. (2012) He relates that there is no need to have a story when the key story is the user’s own progression to mastery through game play. Veteran Nintendo designer Shigeru Miyamoto, who helped create Paper Mario series, asked for story elements to be left out of their new game soon to be developed and released because he believed that the gameplay elements were what players really wanted. (Rose, 2012) According to a survey done in Club Nintendo over the Super Paper Mario game, it was revealed that not even 1% said the story was interesting.
This begs the question, do games really need stories? When researching how to gamify a class, John McCarthy describes how gamification can boost student engagement and provide powerful differentiation opportunities to support achievement so all can learn. (2016) There is no mention of developing a story or narrative to begin gamification in the class. I believe that it is not a necessity to incorporate a story or narrative in gamification, and that game elements and mechanics will be engaging enough for students.
In this regard, I believe that our gamification rubric should not include a story/narrative category.
McCarthy, John. (2016) Gamifying Your Class to Meet the Needs of All Learners. Edutopia. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/article/gamifying-your-class-john-mccarthy
Peckham, Matt; Eadicicco, Lisa; Fitzpatrick, Alex; Vella, Matt; Pullen, John P.; Raab, Josh; Grossman, Lev. (2016) The 50 Best Video Games of All Time. TIME. Retrieved from http://time.com/4458554/best-video-games-all-time/
Rose, Mike. (2012) Miyamoto wonders: Is story really necessary when gameplay will do? Gamasutra. Retrieved from http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/182672/Is_story_really_necessary_when_gameplay_will_do_questions_Miyamoto.php#.ULjPYqVYMeM
Tassi, Paul. (2016). Here Are The Five Best-Selling Video Games Of All Time. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2016/07/08/here-are-the-five-best-selling-video-games-of-all-time/#5fef11292dee
Zichermann, Gabe. (2012). How Important is Story in Gamification? Retrieved from http://www.gamification.co/2012/11/30/how-important-is-story-in-gamification/