Well, just like with most New Year’s resolutions, we failed. And we didn’t just fail a little, we failed spectacularly. But as Marge Simpson once said, “Whoop-dee-doo! Who gives a bibble. Gabba-gabba hey.” It’s in the past now, nothing we can do to change it because we don’t have a time machine. And even if we had one and changed the past, who knows what sort of crazy changes and wacky hijinks that would cause! But anyway, on to the subject at hand!
Nerd Alert! I’m very excited for this week because the Electronics Entertainment Expo (or E3 as super cool insiders such as myself call it) is happening! It’s where all the big name video game developers, distributors and console makers show new gadgets, games and hardware they’ve been working on that will be released in the coming months and years. It’s basically a way to get consumers hyped about upcoming games and products. And boy does it work. I’ve been trying to think of why it works so well and see if there is any knowledge to take away from it.
I would be remiss if I didn’t say part of the reason it works is because I’m interested in video games. Obviously if I didn’t know the difference between a Playstation 4 and an Xbox One, then I probably wouldn’t care about E3. But I do and I do. However, for me personally, the reason I care about video games isn’t because I get to lead police on a crazy car chase, catch the game-winning pass in the Super Bowl or shoot bad guys in the face. Well, it’s not just about that. For me, the game has to have a good story or characters.
And that’s a huge part of what gets me excited about games shown at E3. I get a chance to look at upcoming games that have interesting stories or characters. Like a good movie, if a game doesn’t give me a reason to care about the characters or story, I quickly lose interest and the game becomes really repetitive, because lets face it, games are basically the same action repeated ad nauseam. And that was fine years and years ago when video games were short and a novelty. But now they aren’t. An argument could be made (and I’d be more than willing to make it) that some games are art in the same way that movies can be. Of course just like movies, you have your big, dumb action games, and then you have others that actually take time to craft a story and characters that are quite impactful.
That’s where the take away is for me; the example of how powerful story can be. It keeps me involved with something I might not otherwise be interested in. I’ve played games with boring or even terrible gameplay, but I love them and keep playing them because the story is great. The mechanics of the first Mass Effect game are horrible, yet I’ve played the game more times than I can count because the story and characters are engaging.
And if your story is told well, it can do the same for your company or organization. No, I’m not saying your organization is horrible. What I’m saying is, if a well-told story can make repeating the same action hundreds of times interesting, imagine what your story could do for you. When your story is told in a clear and engaging manner, it will capture people’s attention, get them interested and invested in you and make them loyal to you. And the opposite is true. If your story is told poorly, people will tune out your message and move on to the next thing. People are becoming more and more aware of the importance of story and messaging. If people have a choice between a company/organization with a clear, well-told story and messaging, why would they bother with one that doesn’t have those? That’s why I stopped playing Assassin’s Creed games. And Call of Duty. And Battlefield. And Metro 2033. And Mad Max. And Halo. And any Nintendo game. And etc. etc. They have boring or poorly told stories and two-dimensional characters. Sometimes literally.