So yes, I was among the many people avidly watching the “Lost” finale last night. I thought it was well done: good writing, pacing, additional character development, and summing things up in a way that was satisfying narratively and emotionally.
We’ve also been watching the series from the start (DVD and Hulu) and I’ve been impressed by how much of the story was in fact present from the very beginning: seeds of characterization, theme, and even plot points were carefully included from the first episode on. Also how layers of explanation worked to the show’s advantage: polar bears and a smoke monster on a tropical island seem equally improbable, but it turns out only the latter was actually mysterious. As the layers peeled away with time, we gained much more understanding of the island and of the main characters (who thankfully avoided becoming caricatures).
This six-year run of Lost with its successful conclusion brings me back to how such long story arcs are missing in games. Most games (especially online/MMO games) present static worlds or have a single arc often with an unsatisfying end. Can we learn from the success of “very long story forms” like Lost to increase the long-term world and narrative structure in online games? (more…)