"Heck, look at Myst. For twenty years, gamers have been dismissing Myst as a linear slideshow--while other gamers remember it as a completely open, unconstrained, explorable environment. I refuse to declare that either view is wrong. Surely this demonstrates that there's more than one layer here? Every 'emergent' game has scripted aspects to it, and every 'linear' game has aspects of surprise, and they can both be happening at the same time in different ways."
For a long time, but especially since Minecraft remade the world in its cubic image, games that focus on emergent systems have been up as inherently superior to games with pre-defined narratives. Designer Andrew Plotkin argues in his post on The Gameshelf that this premise, held in a recent presentation by Deus Ex and Epic Mickey creator Warren Spector, is unrealistic and flawed.
It's difficult to sum up his reasoning without repeating it verbatim, but suffice it to say Plotkin is a smart (and thankfully readable) cookie. Creators of more "systemic" games exert just as much influence over their creations by carefully authoring those systems, and games with single set resolutions can still let players arrive at those resolutions creatively. If your brain aches by the end, like mine, that's just the sweet sting of a mental workout.