I have always had an admiration for "smaller" stories. The scenario feels more real and personal and almost relatable even because as much as the story may be set up in a certain small area or within a small list of characters, they feel quite real and human and relatable but also as though the "space" of the scale or the closeness gives the impression that you are just as included in the story once you empathise and relate with the characters.
I am going to elaborate this in the context of the Rambo films.
By now, Rambo has been deeply embedded in pop culture – chiselled body, shirtless shooting, explosive ammo, guerilla warfare, and countless epic battles with the countless body count.
The Rambo films are a guilty pleasure of glorification of the stereotypical badass who feels like he can overpower entire armies or even the armies of the world, as though one man can change, perhaps quite literally as Rambo films often take place in settings where the villains have control in many areas of the world or maybe an entire country.
Many action films take this approach, as though in order to make the stake as high as possible, they have to add a scale that is as epic and grand that you cannot imagine, think that the entire country is at stake, or the world or maybe the universe; and one person or a group of people can do this to set things right.
But not the first Rambo film. In this film, Rambo is quite capable in guerilla warfare and brutal survival but he is just as vulnerable and scared. He was able to take down large groups of semi-corrupt police officers (without killing them, mind you) through his sheer persistence of possibly years of training, and clever strategy and patience instead of the usual epic level of badassery and shootouts that appear in the other films.
But what is most appealing is that this takes place in a small remote town (plus a forest that feels like a jungle which Rambo is much more familiar with) and the story feels very personal.
First, Rambo goes to find his friend but finds out that he died of cancer, and then he is being chased by a semi-corrupt police force who kinda abuse their power (only one officer is really "evil" in the film that is the only death in the film which Rambo killed only by accident) and also because they are suspicious of Rambo because of how he looks.
What is more important is that not only this is a different kind of story from the context of scale, but also in the context of how it portrays the themes of the story and its characters.
Like I said before, Rambo is more than capable to take down these police officers but chooses not to and even repeatedly said to them "did not do anything wrong" and was acting out of survival.
He still showed feelings of fear, anxiety, and even pain when we saw the flashbacks of the torture scenes and when he got injured.
This is a story about the consequences of warfare, even in the context of the Vietnam war as we learn in the beginning that his friend died of cancer because of Agent Orange that was used during that time. What is most important that Rambo initially was not hostile. Sure, he felt out of place especially considering that he probably spent his whole life familiar with war and survival, but he started acting fight-or-flight when he started experiencing flashbacks which is a symptom of PTSD.
Rambo does not win the fight in the end, he surrenders. And also, he cries in the end. He cries because he feels like the war is never over for him. He still feels as though he cannot switch off the survival/warrior mode that he had honed for many years.
This kind of small and deeply personal type of story is what really appeals to me because it makes the story easier to track and much easier to relate with the characters and explore their depth even though the story may take place in a smaller scale compared to other stories, especially those that involve action or thrills. It makes the characters, especially the protagonists who may or may not need to save the day in the end, feel more human and therefore, more relatable.
Now let's go to video games.
Most video games and/or video game characters are portrayed in ways where the characters made feel like they can do all these things that the developers design them to do. Sometimes, they have to make the story as though the stakes are incredibly high, even if the character is meant to be a human being with strengths and weaknesses.
And you will feel this a lot in video games where the content is dense like large open-world maps, side-quest, a large list of characters, lists of backstories and so on.
It would be amazing that the main character, if this is set in real life, will be able to keep up with all of this.
But when you have a game that is set up in a more tight-knit space, things feel a lot different.
One example that comes to mind is the Deus Ex series.
The worlds are small but quite dense with their own content and if you look very closely, you will notice every detail behind every story and in the end, this makes the world feel as quite real and even the characters more real. It is ironic that this is set in the future and your character is meant to be an augmented being but because of how the games' design is set up with this kind of atmosphere, it makes the characters, especially the main character feel more real and relatable.
In these kinds of stories, I truly did feel like I was a part of that world or as though my character felt like he was actually integrated with the world instead of feeling like a speck in a large dense universe, or a speck that is somehow able to keep up with so much of what is going on in that large world or can do so many things like the main character in Skyrim or Fallout or GTA or Assassin's Creed.
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© Post "As video game stories can often tend to be denser with content and other stuff to do like side-quests and a large inter-connected world, having video games that are set up in a smaller scale is also a good way to tell a good and personal story, especially in the context of action-based stories." for game Gaming News.
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