Are Video Games an Effective Vehicle for Storytelling? Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast #35 Featuring Don Marshall

Do you play video games for the plot? Giv­en that most peo­ple don’t actu­al­ly fin­ish most games, it would be unex­pect­ed if sto­ry­telling were the most impor­tant ele­ment. On this episode of Pret­ty Much Pop: A Cul­ture Pod­cast, your hosts Mark Lin­sen­may­er, Eri­ca Spyres, and Bri­an Hirt are joined by for­mer video game pro­fes­sion­al (and cur­rent TV devel­op­ment exec­u­tive) Don­ald E. Mar­shall to talk through types of plots (lin­ear, “string-of-pearls,” and branch­ing), ways of weav­ing sto­ry into a game, bal­anc­ing game­play and nar­ra­tive, and more.

We touch on Death Strand­ing, Over­watch, The Last of Us, Skyrim, Fall­out, Life Is Strange, Until Dawn, Eri­ca, Bioshock, Tell­tale Games, Jour­ney, Ban­der­snatch, Days Gone, Por­tal, and more. (That casu­al game Mark jokes about is Simon’s Cat Pop Time.)

Some arti­cles and oth­er sources:

You can also read some lists of games that sup­pos­ed­ly have the best plots at Games­Radar, Ranker, and The Gamer.

Don is also a pod­cast­er, hav­ing pre­vi­ous­ly been a host of Geek­sOn and now on The Big Fat Gay Pod­cast. Here’s info about the Wheel of Time TV show. One rel­e­vant Geek­sOn episode is #102.  Here’s info about the Wheel of Time TV show.

This episode includes bonus dis­cus­sion that you can only hear by sup­port­ing the pod­cast at This pod­cast is part of the Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life pod­cast net­work.

Pret­ty Much Pop: A Cul­ture Pod­cast is the first pod­cast curat­ed by Open Cul­ture. Browse all Pret­ty Much Pop posts or start with the first episode.


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