Reflection: Stories in Gaming and Gabriel Knight

So, in light of a certain upcoming event, I’m going to be doing a bit of a different post this time. If you follow me on Twitter or read my about page, it’s no secret that I’m a pretty serious gamer.

I love gaming because it’s a unique way to experience a story.  Pretty much every story I’ve ever written has been heavily influenced by my gaming experiences.

I’m a bit disappointed that there are still some people out there who fail to see that video games have good stories too.  I can see why one might say that; I’ve seen my share of games that have plots that pretty much amount to “he’s a bad guy, kill him”.  There are many games with great stories, but there is one that really stands out to me: Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers. Gabriel Knight was released long ago, in 1993.  I first played it much more recently, though, like 2010 (so this reflection is not biased by nostalgia).  Now, I had pretty modest expectations when I first played this game.  I was completely blown away.

The story of Gabriel Knight is a mystery, and I enjoy mystery stories, involving the “voodoo murders”.  The police believe the murders to be simply a serial killer who leaves voodoo paraphernalia at the crime scenes to throw them off, but there’s actually real voodoo involved – they are “cabrit sans cor”.  The writer, Jane Jensen, clearly did a lot of research for the story.

Plus, the mystery had some really shocking twists, including one particular suicide late in the game that really shocked me.  Plus, I enjoyed all the witty banter between the three main characters.

I especially love the idea of mystery games, where, as the player, I try to actually solve the mystery rather than simply read about or watch a detective trying to solve the mystery.  It makes me think harder about the clues, and forces me to actually try to solve it myself, so I’m not allowed to give up and wait for the detective to do it for me.

On top of that, the protagonist is a writer, and I can certainly relate to that! Now why am I writing about this now?  Well, a remake is being released in just a few days.  Having backed the Kickstarter, I’ve already got my copy, but I figure I should do what I can to spread the word.  Honestly, I’m a little skeptic about the remake – the original set the bar very high.  But it’s being made by Phoenix Online Studios, a company who knows what they’re doing, and hasn’t disappointed me yet.

Anyway, even if you’re not much of a gamer, I figured it would be nice to tell you about one of the stories that influenced me.  Gabriel Knight is what really got me into the supernatural mystery genre, which helped me with some of my later Swogprille and Evaira stories, and a couple ideas I’m still playing with.  Anyway, White Rakogis is signing off.

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