When the original Doom released back in 1993, it ushered in a new era of gaming. No longer could these digital experiences be thought of as mere childhood playthings; they were suddenly intense, captivating, and grizzly.
Of course, though Doom certainly lives up to every visceral adjective in the dictionary, it does so thanks to solid gameplay. As anyone familiar with the series will doubtlessly be aware, Doom doesn’t have much of a plot. Aside from a few text dumps detailing some weird sci-fi occultism, there isn’t a whole lot for the player to go on.
John Carmack, one of the founders of Id Software, famously stated around the time of the game’s release that, according to him, “story in a game is like a story in a porn movie. It’s expected to be there, but it’s not that important.”
Though that quote has aged very poorly, he may have had a point.
There are tons of excellent video game experiences which feature either half-baked or totally neglected narratives, but incompetent storytelling really becomes a problem when the plot was bad to begin with. Though they certainly redeemed themselves in other ways, many great games have straight-up awful plots.