In a good story, 1+1=3.

“All story is manipulation.” — Ken Burns

In the video above, the acclaimed documentarian Ken Burns goes ahead and admits that even his documentaries manipulate the audience in order for them to be moving. Only this is his advice to all storytellers.

So perhaps we should consider that the thing that sets apart videogames from regular games is the director, the creator, designer, the auteur, the storyteller. We don’t even have an accurate name for this authority yet, but if we indeed want our the stories of our games to live up to the power of mediums that came before, perhaps we should be more willing to let someone else do the manipulation, to submit to unquantifiable “three.”

“The things that matter most to us—some people call it love, some people call it god, some people call it reason—is that other thing, where the whole is greater than the some of its parts. And that’s the three.”

Of course there are a handful of serious storytellers in games, but most never get enough power to wield over the AAA titles that so many audiences consume.