How important do you think a narrator is?



  • edited May 2012
    I'd say, 'extra bits of fluff' type text, like looking at lanterns or rocks, etc. Is there for color, and its optional. A player who doesn't like it, isn't forced to look at it if they don't want to...

    If you were to look at say Tolkien for instance, he offered similar kind of descriptive bits in his books describing the scenery, the history behind the scenery, the travel time betwen landmarks, etc!

    Where as that stuff is harder to skip in a book, in a literary style adventure game, you aren't forced to look at the 'fluff' if you don't want to.
    A narrator in a KQ game has to be detached from the actual story, only recounting the events that take place in the game without being involved in the story itself.

    However, that's not to say that the narrator won't include easter eggs in their descriptions. That 'break the fourth wall' so to speak... As was the case in some of the early KQ1-3 and somewhat 4, were the narrator would sometimes address the player, and make nods to Mr. Ed, Half Dome, the Colonel, the Sierra development team, etc. Keeping in mind in those games the narrator tended to present the narration as if he was talking to "you", the player, "you", also being the character played in the game, be that Graham or Gwydion. The narrator would give 'your' thoughts on a situation (but they were actually Grahams or Gwydion's thoughts, etc... I think they refer to this style as 2nd-person narrative.

    Even in KQ6, you have the reference to Talking Bear in California. The couple of examples where Alexander notes the player, if you intentionally fall of the lower parts of the Cliff of Logic, or addresses the narrator in the tutorial option. In KQ4-5 the narrative primarily switched to a 3rd-person narrative style.

    But in most cases in KQ, the narrator is detached, and neither acknowledge each other.

    KQ7 and KQ8 utilized more 1st-person narrative in places (when a player comments on some element in his surroundings), but to say they have actual narrative is misleading.
  • edited May 2012
    There was a slow and fitful transition from the text adventure to the modern graphic adventure -- in text adventures, the player was usually referred to as "you" or the game presented itself as "I" with the player puppeteering. But both of these were essentially first-person experiences -- the player was told what he/she was seeing and experiencing. The early graphic adventures were similar -- locations were illustrated but the player was usually not directly depicted.

    King's Quest introduced a different perspective -- the player's character was now visible onscreen, and the player was a bit detached; for example, we could see the character die beyond the point where awareness would have ceased, and we could sometimes see things in an inaccessible area that the character might not be able to see.

    It took a while for the ramifications of this perspective shift to get worked out -- the "you" and first-person narration in general gradually gave way to a more cinematic mode where the characters are being manipulated by the player, sometimes with a certain amount of awareness and fourth-wall breaking. ("I don't think that's a good idea"-type phrasing, for example, seems to be directed at the player by the character, or perhaps the character's own mind as driven by the player.)

    I think it's a natural offshoot of this to put the "narration" description into the characters' mouths instead, and use traditional narration to set the stage as is done in the first Bone game.
  • edited May 2012
    I don't find anything "natural" about making a King's Quest game gutted of so much of what gave the originals charm and distinction. We don't need another generic, standardized adventure game like we've been getting for years. We've lost so much variety -- in look and feel, storytelling and gameplay style -- since the Golden Age of the 1990s. And it's become clear to me from this very forum that adventure players have brought it on themselves, wanting every game hammered down to look like all the others. Suggesting Bone as a model for the revival of the original graphic adventure franchise? It's no wonder the genre is in the state it's in.
  • edited May 2012
    Yep. In "fixing" (by pruning) all the mechanics that made people pull their hair out we've destroyed what these games actually meant to us without even knowing it. Were they all ever smart design decisions to begin with? Maybe some of them weren't, but it doesn't matter. What ended up being became the meat and potatoes of the best of the adventure games back then.
  • edited May 2012
    LOL, using Bone, the game unfinished game series as an example... Eh, I don't think they'll ever finish it...
  • edited May 2012
    I was just referring to the use of standard narration to set the stage in the Director's Cut version of Bone: Out From Boneville, not suggesting it as a model for the KQ revival. I don't think any other Telltale games use a narrator in that kind of traditional mold; the Voodoo Lady in TOMI is more presentational in her approach, and is seen onscreen.
  • edited May 2012
    I think Telltale's KQ's game could be greatly enhanced by a narrator. There are long gaps between episodes and a narrator could really help keep the player up to speed in the later episodes. Also, a good narrator can really set the tone for this type of game.
  • edited May 2012
    We know that the narrator:
    1) a woman (because she is married to a man, and this is 1890)
    2) probably middle class (“mere ordinary people”)
    3) has a husband named John. All of this is actually pretty aggressively anonymous: the narrator has no name and is married to a guy who might as well have no name, since “John” doesn’t really give us any clues about who he is or where he might be from.
  • edited May 2012

    I suppose the narrator in KQ4 was Roberta Williams, at least partially. When you close down it shows her picture, asking if you want to continue to play or not.

    KQ5 and 6 are clearly male.
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