There’s a moment in What Remains of Edith Finch — one moment among many, really — where I had to pause while playing.
“You have to experience this,” I said to my partner, passing over the controller, as it thrummed softly, rhythmic and steady. The controller’s haptic feedback played a key role in how the story was being told in that particular moment. I won’t spell out what happened — it’s a pretty big spoiler. So let me just say that it involves a heartbeat.
Where an Edith Finch book would tell or a movie would show, the game can force players to feel its most intimate stories. My experience playing Edith Finch habitually transcended passive digestion. Holding the controller meant more than reading the words on the screen or hearing Edith’s voice through the speakers.
Writing for the Atlantic
in April, Ian Bogost argued that video games are better without stories
because movies and books “tell them better.” But the reductive
reasoning peppered throughout Bogost’s article fails to take into
account a vital interactive imperative. Some stories need the
interaction only video games can offer to achieve their powerful,
climactic sequences. It’s something that other, more traditional mediums
simply can’t match. Read more (Opinion)