Entertainment, across all it’s mediums and forms, is the pursuit of stories. There are games, video and sports, books, film, and interactive experiences among other things. In any and all conceivable form of entertainment, we are trying to find a compelling story that we can engage with.
This metaphor is applied simply to conventional forms of entertainment. There are the prototypical five-act-structure or heroes-journey stories in live performances, film, TV, and books. In many ways, they are a natural evolution of the stories our ancestors told around the hearth. Stories around a fire turned into books, books turned into visual media propped up by the visual wizardry of modern technology.
Storytelling found an element of interactivity with video games. No longer was a story static, the person “playing” through the story invests their own something into the overall experience. There is no guarantee the story will be the same or even similar. Take something as massive as Call of Duty and their online multiplier platform. The story foretold by the developers is that the player is one of many fighting for justice in a fictional military operation. That, however, is contradictory to the story many players are running with, that is they are the underdog and are striving to bolster their prestige and reputation in relation to other active players in the game. That narrative is why most people keep coming back, very few actually care about the details offered by the developers.
Sports is another form of entertainment where the search for story takes centre stage. If you pull the latest headlines from any major sport, the narratives and stories coming out will largely be the same. There is the underdog team that no-one expects anything out of looking ahead to the next season with optimism. There are the rising stars of the sports who are “working on their game during the offseason” and are “rearing to come back hungry”. There are the superstars whose legacies are being defined every time they step on the field. There are coaches on the comeback, favourites inviting pressure, and fans over-the-moon with joy. At the end of the day, it almost doesn’t even matter who the individuals are, most people tune into watch sports on the back of one of these narratives. The first reason I watched the NBA was because I had heard of the legendary Kobe Bryant, and I wanted to see whether his myth matched reality. From then on, I was hooked onto his narrative, his story, and followed his career closely until its end.