The power of a good story

Before I start, I want to say that everything I will be talking about in this post is my own opinion. I have no research to back it up with. So you are free to agree or disagree with everything here as you see fit.

A good story can really change how we look at something. It can change the way we interpret a movie, it can change the way we play a game, it can change the way we feel about a person, it can change the way we think, it can even change the way we view the world.

The inspiration for this came not from a single event, rather it came from a culmination of several. A culmination of several stories I have either read, heard or seen.

Stories have a lot of weight where it matters. Don’t believe me? Well let’s take a few examples:

  1. Games: There are a lot of really old games out there that are nowadays considered to be classics, like Final Fantasy 6 and 7, Earthbound, Mother 3, Chrono Trigger, the legend of Zelda, Half Life, Legend of Mana, Portal, Resident Evil, Silent Hill and so on. While they were definitely revolutionary for their time, they have withstood the test of time and are now considered timeless, unlike some other games of that same period. Many people even compare them to the games of today, and despite the fact that some of them had annoying UI, primitive graphics (by today’s standards) and in some cases, horrendous difficulty, they are still remembered fondly. Why? How can old games be so good even if they have bad graphics, primitive UI and long loading screens? The answer is that the story they told had a big part to play in it, maybe not the only part but a big one all the same. The stories of these games were so compelling and so well told that we couldn’t help but continue playing just so we knew what happened. And that story they told, with their characters growing and the plot unfolding, is why we remember these games so much.
  2. Movies and TV Series: There’s no doubt that the overall visual quality of today’s movies and TV series have improved immensely when compared to those of yesteryears. Go back some years and visual effects were quite primitive, go back further and digital media didn’t exist, even further and movies were in black and white only, further still and movies didn’t even have sound. And yet, despite the visual improvements, there are a number of movies that are remembered as classics. The old Charlie Chaplin films, Lawrence of Arabia, The Godfather, Mission impossible, The man from U.N.C.L.E., Psycho, Singing in The Rain, Law & Order, 2001 Space Odyssey, Home Improvement, The Simpsons, The X Files, The Twilight Zone, Seven Samurai,  Ip Man, etc. And the reason for that is very simple, their stories. The way they were told, the plot twists, the way they made us sit on the edge of our seats, laugh our heads off, cry our eyes out or make us think afterwards; their stories captured us, enraptured us and stuck in our minds. The stories and the way they were told is what made them great.
  3. Books: This is an obvious one really. Granted there are many different types of books: fiction, nonfiction, religious, biographical, educational, etc. but the ones I’m talking about are the ones that tell a story. To all the book readers out there, I’m sure you have your own favourite stories, be it Harry potter, Cat in the Hat, Dune, The Dark tower, 1984, 19Q4, Neuromancer, Frankenstein, Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Martian, A song of ice and fire, The Alchemist etc. But I think the one thing everyone can agree on is that the reason you liked it is because it had a great story. Whether it was a particular character, how the story made you feel, how the characters changed, how everything came to a satisfying conclusion, or what have you, you liked it because of the story. It gripped you, sent you through a new world and left you feeling excited and/or satisfied.
  4. Real life: Even in our everyday lives, a good story can really affect us. A person you know acts like a jerk, but then you hear how they suffered in their lives and the trauma they faced, now you understand them better and feel differently. You thought your parents were superheroes who could do anything, but then you hear about what they did when they were younger, you become disillusioned and realise they are very much human. A politician who can tell you about how they understand your problems and how they plan to change things, tell you how their life, how their beliefs, are so similar to yours, can make you decide whether you like or hate them. Comedians who can tell funny stories that make you laugh, influence whether you will watch them again or not. The life story of a celebrity can change how you feel about them. A news story about an accident may get you more excited than a news story about the opening of a new mall, or maybe vice versa. All of these, while happening in real life, are stories in their own right, and affect you in one way or another.

A good story can do a lot of things, from entertaining you to changing who you are entirely. Regardless of what the story may be, you cannot deny the power a good story can have on you and everyone around you. So never underestimate a story, even if it didn’t do much for you, you have no idea what it did to or for someone else.

Well that’s about it for this post. I hope you liked it and I hope you have a good day ahead.

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