Originally Posted by Zooch
As far as I understand, the term "linear" in video games is describing the lack of deviance from the plot.
The more linear a game is, the less effect you as a player have on the overall storyline. It's not about the actual story progressing in order on a timeline.
Correct me if I'm wrong.
Linear, in my understanding, means a story that goes in one direction, and only one. Flashbacks and flashforwards are methods authors use to make their stories go in multiple directions. Having a player's actions affect the game would vary the possible directions the story could go in, so I guess you could argue it either way. No doubt there's more than one way to make a story nonlinear
*edit* I think what needs clarifying is the difference between plot flow and game flow.
A game that goes mission 1 --> mission 2 --> mission 3 with many flashbacks/flashforwards etc would have a nonlinear plot flow, but a very linear game flow.
Whereas games like the Godfather and (from my understanding) GTA that have a lot of mini missions in between each story mission that the player can choose whether or not to participate in would have a linear plot but a nonlinear game flow.
Games like Yugi-Oh! Falsebound Kingdom where the player must go story mission 1 --> story mission 2 have both a linear plot and linear game flow.
Another thing I thought of while driving. Many games these days are used to tell stories. So do books, films, plays, etc. But games are the only medium that allows for player input in their stories. So what if the amount of linear plots and game flows actually stems from the notion that games are used for story telling? If they are supposed to be fully interactive, wouldn't games do less storytelling
and more storylistening