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On Provoking Emotions Via Games 108

Posted by Zonk
from the harder-than-it-looks dept.
N'Gai Croal, poster at the Newsweek LevelUp blog, moonlights today in a column for Next Geneartion discussing the success games have had in provoking emotional responses. More specifically, he talks about the fact that mostly games are fairly bad at this. Citing a few notable exceptions (Final Fantasy VII, BioShock), he raises again the notion of 'games as art' as they relate to emotion: "Shadow Of The Colossus wasn't a blockbuster, but the frequency with which it's cited in 'are games art?' debates indicates both a medium still in its aesthetic infancy and a videogame that punched above its weight. BioShock won't sell like Gears Of War, but it already feels as though it's going to be one of this generation's most influential games. And if Mass Effect can deliver on its early promise of confronting players with thorny moral choices and the consequences of their actions, perhaps other creators will see that making the player feel bad can be a good thing after all. "
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On Provoking Emotions Via Games

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  • It's just a game. I can allow myself to get immersed to the point where I get pulled along with the story, but at any point I can remind myself that "it's just a game" and drop that colossus or harvest that Little Sister with impunity.

    Video games can provoke emotions, but I can just as easily remind myself that it's just a game and not feel the emotions.
    • by nomadic (141991)
      Video games can provoke emotions, but I can just as easily remind myself that it's just a game and not feel the emotions.

      Why would you want to though? I mean, that's the whole point of art.
      • by nickj6282 (896871) *
        Well, unlike other forms of art, video games have a final goal. If I'm working on my second play-through of Bioshock, for example, I might decide to harvest all the Little Sisters rather than save them like I did the first time through, to see if I get a different ending (no I haven't finished BioShock yet!)

        With Shadow of the Colossus, you have to kill the Colossi to advance in the game. There is no other way around it. The intense emotions that I derived from Shadow were the sense of depression and isolati
        • by grumbel (592662)
          ### Well, unlike other forms of art, video games have a final goal.

          By far most of them have, but they don't actually have to have one or at least not just one. One of the things I liked in DeusEx2 or Fahrenheit was that while they did have multiple endings, none of them was clearly 'the good one', all of them had their pros and cons. In games like KotoR on the other side you are very limited in your decisions, because you only have 'good' and 'evil' decisions, so if you try to play the nice guy, there is of
          • by ultranova (717540)

            KotoR did it different in that all your 'good' and 'evil' decisions accumulated and your final score was what decided.

            Actually, no. What decides which ending you get is whether or not you join Bastila on at the roof of Rakatan temple. If you do, you get the bad guy ending; if you don't you get the good guy ending.

            While this means that all your doing actually matters, its still rather annoying, since again, instead of playing the story, you level up a 'good/evil' meter.

            Any significant decision in a

            • by grumbel (592662)
              ### Actually, no. What decides which ending you get is whether or not you join Bastila on at the roof of Rakatan temple.

              Interesting, what was the good/evil score then for?

              ### Any significant decision in a game does, by definition, either increase/decrease some internal variable or set a flag, since otherwise it could not influence any future events and therefore not be significant.

              The thing is that decisions shouldn't be 'good' or 'evil' and be messured on a 1D bar. If I help a group of people, the game sho
              • by ultranova (717540)

                Interesting, what was the good/evil score then for?

                Maximum goodness, which turned into neutrality after deciding to join Bastila and killing several of my companions in the aftermath.

                The thing is that decisions shouldn't be 'good' or 'evil' and be messured on a 1D bar. If I help a group of people, the game should remember that I have helped those people and refer to it when I meat them again, not just do a 'good +1'. In KotoR a lot of stuff had basically no long term effect except changing your good/e

            • Actually, no. What decides which ending you get is whether or not you join Bastila on at the roof of Rakatan temple. If you do, you get the bad guy ending; if you don't you get the good guy ending.
              To be fair, KOTOR 2 does use the good/evil meter to determine the ending, although KOTOR 1 didn't.
      • by AmaDaden (794446)

        I mean, that's the whole point of art.

        Well people look for different things in art. For most people games are entertainment, a time killer. Like TV is today and books and plays were in years past. Just something interesting to do for now. People like me look for a story, something I can think and talk about. Because of this I love RPGs and I'm currently very into HL2. Other people who play Halo and madden look at games as sport. A way to compete with their friends. The same game can cause two different pe

      • No, that's not necessarily the point of art at all, and it is also the aim of a lot of other things that aren't art (like speechmaking, advertising, and simple threats - which are meant to provoke the emotion of fear.)

        One can make the argument that the point of art is produce sensations, and particularly interesting ones, which I feel is more accurate.

        In any case, games do produce emotions: the emotion of pleasure at skillful play, frustration at failure, curiosity about the parameters of the game, plus wha
        • Of course, usually when people mean "emotion," they mean the relatively maudlin and banal elements of melodrama like the death of Aeris in Final Fantasy. Sentimental manipulation isn't aesthetically interesting to me even in film: the drier, more contemplative and less apparently emotional (but aesthetically and intellectually captivating) work of someone like Godard strikes me as a lot more artistic than swelling violins and melodramatics of standard Hollywood fare.

          A valid point, but that is still an emotion. Different people are captivated by different types of art, and because you don't enjoy the melodrama, and enjoy something else, does not illegitimize, in the least, the experiences of those who do. Thus, games ARE provoking emotional responses in people.

    • Video games can provoke emotions, but I can just as easily remind myself that it's just a game and not feel the emotions.

      Count yourself lucky. There's comes a time when you love a game too much, and have fought too hard to simply walk away. Devil May Cry; Nightmare 3 on Dante Must Die Mode. Alundra; The palace in the lake. Ecco 2; The chained globe in the dark future**.

      The emotion? Despair. Complete and utter, all encompassing, fall to your knees and wail hopelessness. Hours of ordeal, days of defeat, try a

      • The utter despair I felt when I sunk 47 hours into Xenogears to find I was unable to beat the last boss without pumping up my combo skills.
  • by flitty (981864) on Monday October 22, 2007 @04:36PM (#21076867)
    When I first beat Shadow of the Colossus, I'm sure i'm not the only one who thought, "My god, what have I done?" I've never had another game make me questions my actions within the game before. It was wonderful.
    • by Endo13 (1000782)

      When I first beat Shadow of the Colossus, I'm sure i'm not the only one who thought, "My god, what have I done?"
      Cool! Who else wondered what you had done?
    • by Boronx (228853)
      Close Combat
    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by meringuoid (568297)
      For me, the first game that ever did that was The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening.

      I remember when I realised, after reading one of the owl statues, exactly what it was I was trying to do and what that would mean for Koholint Island, and for the people there and the Animal Village and... and for Marin...

      I should have thrown away the sword there and then and gone back to the village and settled down and raised a family. Had a small farm. Told tall tales to the grandchildren about my younger days as a fa

      • and for the people there and the Animal Village

        If animal village in Link's Awakening is the dream of the Wind Fish, whose dream is any given town in Animal Crossing?

        Hell, I should have gone away and played Harvest Moon instead.

        Why not Body Harvest?

        That would have been the decent thing to do.

        That would have been a very bluepill [wikipedia.org] thing to do.

        But instead I persevered and I defeated the nightmares and woke the Wind Fish.

        In a way, so did Keanu Reeves in The Matrix.

        • That would have been a very bluepill thing to do.

          Not quite. The inhabitants of the Matrix were real humans, wired up in just the same way as the protagonist. The inhabitants of Koholint Island were all part of the Wind Fish's dream. And escaping the Matrix does not necessarily destroy the Matrix, or harm the people left behind; escaping Koholint required that the Wind Fish be awoken and the dream ended. Escaping Koholint meant the end for of all its inhabitants.

          If Morpheus offered you the two pills and

    • I've beaten Shadow of the Colossus and that's a compelling thought... I guess the only thing that would make it even more interesting is if you had choices along the way, similar to Bioshock. Like if you had the choice to destroy the colossi or... who knows what else. But yeah, the ending sequence was crazy and I was actually a little close to tears. Great game, looking forward to whatever they do next.
  • Madden 200x (Score:4, Funny)

    by CrazyJim1 (809850) on Monday October 22, 2007 @04:38PM (#21076883) Journal
    That game pisses me off so bad when my friend scores more points than me.
  • by Dr. Eggman (932300) on Monday October 22, 2007 @04:39PM (#21076907)
    "Although the incineration process is extremely painful, eight out of ten Aperture Science engineers believe your companion cube probably can't feel pain."

    If there's been one game that evoked emotion in me this year, it was Portal. From dread and fear when discovering the ratman's nest, to shock when I saw the fire pit open up, and consistent joy in solving the puzzles or hearing GLaDOS speaking. Portal's minimalist beauty, awesome execution, and wonderful writing puts it at the top of my "games are art" arguments list.
    • by Kelbear (870538) on Monday October 22, 2007 @05:14PM (#21077463)
      I would have also pointed to portals.

      There are many places where games cross over into other genres of art and can make something of themselves under that category. Via sound, art, cinematics, story, they can become art just like music, paintings, movies, books...but how about art as a game?

      Portals defy reality and show us in real-time an impossible world with impossible gameplay. A big part of the wonder in Portal was that your brain now was now wrestling with a wholly unfamiliar phenomenon and this gameplay, most importantly, is interactive. It's a game.

      So this distinction of the portals is where I would point to when using Portal as an example of games as art. Because without the idiosyncratic traits of games being art, then it's just looking at already recognized facets of art in the game and then pointing them out as art, which is only showing that games contain that kind of art, not that gaming itself can be a form of art.
      • by xtieburn (906792)
        'Portals defy reality and show us in real-time an impossible world with impossible gameplay.'

        An interesting game mechanic is not art. Blinx had impressive levels of time manipulation which is just as, if not more, mind bending than Portals. Teleporters are all over the place in games that much is also currently impossible. Heck portals are essentially just teleporters with a camera attached. (Well and a bit of cross teleporter physics.)

        There are many things in games that are impossible in the real world it
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by MobyDisk (75490)
          I've never thought about levels as art before... very interesting...

          Perhaps by current definitions, yes. But maybe this is a new form of art: something that was not possible until modern day. For example, Rube Goldberg machines [wikipedia.org] are art because of their unnecessary complexity. So here, a machine has become art because it's nature has been twisted in an unusual way. Also, the result of mathematic manipulations like the spirograph [google.com] are now considered art. Such is also the case with purely virtual manipulat
          • by xtieburn (906792)
            Rube Goldberg machines are not inherantly art. When the man drew pictures of his fantastical machines those drawings were art but the idea isn't. The disctincion is clearer when looking at your other examples. A fractal is a mathematical construct that is what it is and that is not art, never will be. The pictures you see utilise that mathematical construct to form a piece of art but the fractal itself is still just a fractal. A sunset is just the Earth spinning unless you have something by which to appreci
    • by Goaway (82658)
      Too bad it doesn't really have the visual to match it. It looks like every other FPS distilled down to their most bland elements.
      • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Monday October 22, 2007 @05:30PM (#21077713) Homepage
        Hmm:

        What Portal has: unique, groundbreaking gameplay (well, aside from Narbuncular Drop, which pioneered the idea), great voice acting, good plot/writing (not incredibly involved, but surprising for what I expected was a simple puzzler).

        What Portal doesn't have: flashy new graphics.

        Are you suggesting the latter is somehow more important than the former? Really? That's pretty sad, if that's the case.
        • by Goaway (82658)
          No, I am not saying it needs "flashy new graphics". I am saying it needs graphics that look interesting. Right now it looks horribly boring, which means I am less likely to pick it up and play it, and that it is somewhat less enjoyable to play than if it looked good.

          "Looking good" does not mean "flashy new graphics". "Looking good" means having some actual art direction, and a look that is its own.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Dr. Eggman (932300)
        Portal (like most of the orange box ) has a lot of subtle graphic enhancements. The new Source engine enhancements aren't too flashy, but they have it where it counts. For instance, the motion blur that occurs when quickly (most easily visible when looking at a room while falling through an infinite loop) is very subtle, but a wonderful touch of realism. More beautiful (and something not always apparent as I believe it may only appear in multicore systems) is the particle effects. Look at the mini-fireworks
        • by Goaway (82658)

          Portal (like most of the orange box ) has a lot of subtle graphic enhancements.

          "Graphics enhancements" are not what I am talking about. I am talking about art direction. Everything you mention is technical details, which are merely tools used to create the look of a game. The tools themselves are worth nothing, artistically. It is what you do with them that counts.

          But more importantly, you also need to do things with the old and tired technical aspects, like simple modelling and texturing. This is where Portal fails, because it looks incredibly bland.

          • by Cerberus7 (66071)
            It's supposed to. It's a lab experiment. It's sterile, bland. Yet at the same time, the look is consistent and interesting.
            • by Goaway (82658)
              I am well aware of that, but that's not it. Looking at it, it doesn't make me think of a bland and sterile lab environment, it makes me think of a bland and sterile FPS. The first would be good (if done right), the second is bad.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by EtoilePB (1087031)
      Yes. Very, very yes.

      In fact, the Weighted Companion Cube chamber is one of the most cleverly emotionally manipulative media moments I've ever come across. I mean, Hollywood's got emotion-manipulating down to an art and science but that room in Portal blew right past it.

      Because, of course, who would ascribe thought or emotion to the cube if GLaDOS didn't tell you not to? And would you mind incinerating the cube as much if she didn't tell you to "euthanize" it? I genuinely pouted at my computer when I had
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ReverendLoki (663861)
        Myself, I was actually a wee bit miffed when GlaDOS informed me that "no other test subject incinerated their Companion Cube as quickly as I did" (paraphrased, obviously). And that's with the realization right of the bat that she likely says that no matter how long you dawdle beforehand (confirmed when I went back and spent a considerable amount of time trying to knock that last camera of with the cube).
  • angels don't wait for slowpokes...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I've never seen more emotion evoked from a game console than Microsoft has managed to with their amazing Xbox 360 console.

    You may think you've been moved by games before but nothing can top the anger, despair, and even humiliation of having your 360 die right in front of you once again. 360 owners are moved to Shatner level expressions of emotion "Kaaaaaahhhhnnn!!!" "RRRoDDDDDDDDD!!!!"

    Mixed with the tendency of the 360 to making sickening grinding noises as it tears up yet another 60 dollar game disc and yo
    • by Pojut (1027544)
      Well...a couple things to touch on, I suppose.

      1. The 360 is an awesome console...definately my favourite out of the 3 in the 7th generation... If mine got the dreaded RRoD tomorrow, would I replace it in a heartbeat? Yes. Excellent games, excellent controller, excellent OS...horrid Media Center integration, but hey, that's what TVersity is for ;-)

      2. Dreamcast 360? I don't remember the Dreamcast ever having any major technical flaws...in fact, I remember the Dreamcast as being one of the best systems of
  • On a few of the Swat 4 levels with some emotive content (kidnapped female with sicko kidnapper - religious sect who we don't know much about until we go down to the basement in a gruesome environment and find a lot of shallow kids graves) they got close. The first time I played them the were generating relatively sincere emotive responses - of course on replay it is lost because you know what is coming.
  • ... are emotions too. Emotions often provoked by games. But usually when people start to talk about emotion and games it's about emotional attachment to characters (love/hate stuff). But come on... it's virtual reality, it's entertainment, why should I feel anything about those characters, they're not real (just like the characters in books and movies).
  • Let's take a look at this list of emotions:

    fear - implementable, works for many
    humor - should work very well
    anger - shouldn't be hard (method 1: piss off gamers by making a section very difficult to pass, method 2: [sorry, not my field])
    sadness - I think there are many people who wouldn't succumb to sadness (but I don't know very many people, this is just what I may have heard or experienced). I'm extremely susceptible to being moved to tears by romance. I watch a lot of romance anime - I like anime more th
    • by Pojut (1027544)
      In response to the last portion of your post, I point you in the direction of Illusion of Gaia for the SNES.
    • by vrmlguy (120854)
      Re: sadness... I recall a game (I won't name it, let someone else post a spoiler) where you play an attorney. You've gone through several cases and learned the "tricks" of winning. Then comes your most important case yet, and nothing works. You try and try *everything* and you keep getting shot down. Finally, you give up let the defense rest. Now you have to talk to your client and face the consequences of your failure. It left me feeling so upset that when a Deus Ex Machina appeared, I wasn't irrita
  • It's refreshing that they're mixing it up a little. The only emotion that 99% of games in the N64 era and before invoked was blind rage :D you know you threw that controller across the room and swore at Bowser for spinning you out in Mari Kart, don't deny it!
  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Monday October 22, 2007 @05:01PM (#21077275)
    It's called griefing.
  • Kana: Little sister (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dunkelfalke (91624) on Monday October 22, 2007 @05:03PM (#21077307)
    Call me a pussy but I have cried 4 of 6 hours I played this game. And I couldn't sleep properly for a week, feeling too much grief (tried to be the perfect brother and got one of the intellectual endings).

    Read this review [mobygames.com], the guy felt the same.
    • Yes, but with only 30 decisions and 6 possible endings, it barely qualifies a game. More of a computer-based graphic novel.
    • Yeah. I cried too. Two frigging days on the slowest torrent ever, then it's like ten choices in and half an hour of dreary screens full of text describing bugger all happening, and nobody's even got their kit off yet!

      Seriously, though - I'm not sure I want to play that game. If it is that emotionally involving, and the girl's meant to be your little sister and all, how fucking warped are the sex scenes going to be?

      • not very explicit and you also don't need to do her (and she is adopted anyway).
        you'll laugh, but i play bishoujo games for the story only and skip all h-scenes.

        kana and crescendo were the best for me so far.
  • come on (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nomadic (141991)
    Planetfall!
    • by Gulthek (12570)
      No Floyd! We can find another way!

      Nooooooo!
    • by Shipwack (684009)
      -That- is the first time a game had elicited feelings like that from me... I actually teared up a little. Maybe it was going from being frustrated with Floyd to being grateful at his becoming less annoying to the sudden loss... Oddly enough, I didn't feel as much emotion playing Ultima V, when I lost Iolo... Even though V had grapphics and Planetfall didn't, I felt stronger connection to the characters and events of the text based Planetfall...
      • by nomadic (141991)
        Oddly enough, I didn't feel as much emotion playing Ultima V, when I lost Iolo...

        Well you didn't have to lose Iolo, since it wasn't a necessary part of the game.

        I will say, emotion or no, Ultima V makes my top 5 of all time list.
  • (spoiler warning)

    System Shock 2 expertly held the possibility just barely out of reach of meeting another normal human being on board the Von Braun and Rickenbacker. Meeting Polito, your single human voice of guidance, halfway through, only to find out the truth of what SHODAN had done to her, was a stroke of storytelling so masterful that M. Night Shyamalan should cry himself to sleep at night for sucking by comparison.

    • by morari (1080535)

      M. Night Shyamalan should cry himself to sleep at night for sucking by comparison.
      In comparison to what, a steamy pile of dog droppings?
  • Music (Score:5, Interesting)

    by king-manic (409855) on Monday October 22, 2007 @05:08PM (#21077381)
    I find my emotions being toyed with via the music more often then anything else. As well crafted as the plot is in planescape, Deionarra Theme did more then any words. FF6 may have had a nice interesting story but it would not have been ass successful with a lesser sound track. I find thats what fails about other games for me. Oblivion never moved me at all because of it's rather generic sound track. ditto for the fallout games.
    • by xarien (1073084)
      I completely agree. I remember the playing through FF4 for the first time and the music does a 360 from danger to melancholy when the twins sacrifice themselves. Good memories indeed.
    • I totally agree on the music. X-COM used to make me jump when the enemy would shoot at me out of the darkness. It was the music that was totally engrossing to the point that you forgot it wasn't real.

      I also remember how excited I felt in Dragon Warrior 4 when I finally got to the chapter with my warrior that I created at the beginning of the game. I don't even know what pulled me into the game that much, but that was a great game.
    • You say that the music in Oblivion bored you. I never played the game, not owning an xbox 360 or a pc that could run it, but I did get to play a LOT of Morrowind. And one thing that hugely affected your emotions while playing that game was the music. The second the combat music comes on, all of my senses go on alert, I prep my good weapon or spell, and I can feel adrenaline pumping through my veins. The songs in that game had a visceral effect on me. Plus, I just thought that the non-combat music was s
      • I wholeheartedly agree. I have the main Morrowind theme in MP3 format, and just enjoy listening to it as a quality piece of music in its own right. It's a beautiful, sweeping score that enhances the epic feel of the game.
  • Take a look at any of the huge number of Japanese Galgames [wikipedia.org], where the focus is on the story and the emotions. Indeed, taken to their extreme, they turn into visual novels like Kanon [wikipedia.org] where the gameplay is reduced to making a few choices, or something like Planetarian [wikipedia.org], where it is essentially absent.
  • An emotional response in games is not difficult to achieve any more so than a book or a movie, if anything it is easier because you have a longer contact period with the main character than you do in any other medium, we have many long books but how many are as long as a good Japanese RPG?

    People who have never felt any emotions in games should really try to play through a silent hill, while I didn't have any emotions for the characters themselves, the environment is very much a creepy and it's very difficul
  • by vertinox (846076) on Monday October 22, 2007 @05:48PM (#21077925)
    *burst fire*

    Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!

    *bangs keyboard angrily*
  • For a chunkfull of emotions on a videogame, I sugest the Silent Hill series, specially Silent Hill 2. IMHO, it's the most well crafted piece of "videogame art", simply because every component fits so nicelly, and because it can generate real emotions in the player (at least in me, and in the handfull of people that I know that enjoyed it).

    From the (doomed) main character to the twisted monsters, to the secondary characters to the antagonists to the story, to the setting, to the music, it all comes togethe

  • by Richard Steiner (1585) <rsteiner@visi.com> on Monday October 22, 2007 @05:58PM (#21078029) Homepage Journal
    I learned to use my ears as much as my eyes when going through the single-player levels, and there were certain creature sounds on Doom that would just send shivers up my spine whenever I heard them.

    Some of them still do. :-) :-)
  • I don't know about you guys, but I cried the first time playing through final fantasy VII after I had spent probably 6 hours leveling up Aeris to get her lvl. 4 Limit break, only to become so abruptly aware of what a waste of time it was.
    • I cried playing FFVII when I realized how many people would never play FFVI and think FFVII was the best RPG ever.
      • by ShakaUVM (157947)
        I cried playing FFVII when I realized how many people would never play FFVI and think FFVII was the best RPG ever.

        That's the truth. The only sad thing about Aeris' death was the fact that I wasted so much damn time and gil building her up instead of another character.

        BG2 pissed me off with Yoshimo for the same reason, actually.
      • I cry when I read posts on slashdot where people assert the objective superiority of one FF over another. Seriously, for God's sake, can't we just leave each other in peace? I played FFVI and FFVII. I liked FFVII better. I leave the FFVI fans alone, now do the same courtesy for us... not that hard.

        On-topic, I didn't cry at any point during FFVII. FF8 and FFX made me get pretty choked up at points though.

        • by saramakos (693903)
          I must second that. I think FFX is one of the few games that have had me really FEEL something due to the story rather than blind rage from bad gameplay.

          Then again, Kingdom Hearts has made me feel violent towards whoever programmed the camera!
          • by steveo777 (183629)
            That's funny, because FFVIII made me feel blind rage from the game play. And FFX made me want to cry when I I realized I was at the end because, well, I had wasted that much time waiting for the game to 'get good'. It's not that I think it's an inherently bad game, or I would not have gotten that far (have not actually beaten the game). I just think that their story lines have been so over the top since VII that they get, for the lack of a better word, corny.

            For the record, I've been enjoying XII. But

            • *FFX and FF8 spoilers, on the off-chance someone hasn't played them yet*

              Hm. I think FFX has the second-best plot, after VII, but that's just me. At any rate, the scene where Tidus is fading away really does almost make me cry. It's really sad.

              Same in FF8 when Squall is trapped in the dimensional limbo, and is dying. That, and his reunion with Rinoa, were powerful moments for me.

  • Alter Ego (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Darkforge (28199) on Monday October 22, 2007 @06:08PM (#21078147) Homepage
    Like the game says: What if you could live your life over again? [theblackforge.net]

    If you make it all the way to the end of this game and you don't feel anything, you're not really a human being. ;-)

    (Full disclaimer: I ported AE to the web from the Commodore 64.)
    • by Blakey Rat (99501)
      Interesting, I'll have to try that game out when I have more time.

      For a second, though, I thought you were referring to "A Mind Forever Voyaging." I'd also argue that if you make it to the end of that game and you don't feel anything, you should check your pulse. Absolutely amazing game.
    • by Sowelu (713889)
      I remember Alter Ego in four-color goodness. That was a wonderful game; some parts hit you really hard. I remember being annoyed at not being able to play many of the choices each game, and eventually realised that it was making a very telling statement about life. Also, a life that you can have wonderful plans for and then go and be an aggressive driver and plunge off a cliff.
    • Man. I was tortured and buried in a landfill. :( Le sad sigh.
  • I think a key factor that compromises immersion in a game compared to a movie is the lack of permanence. When Johnny Protagonist eats a bullet in a movie, there's no going back. When you in a video game, as Pacman Master Chief Protagonist the Hedgehog, eat a laser blast from a Zerg, you wait three seconds to regenerate at your last save point and try again. You're never more than a reboot from undoing your last stupid deed.

    I commit emotionally to a tattoo. Less so, a haircut.
    • by Sowelu (713889)
      Hence, long plotful games where your actions have plot consequences way down the line. You can do that as simply as building up an epilogue based on what happened in the game (like in Fallout), or you can have something where you can choose to save or not save a city, and then be forced to go there a few hours later and observe just how many people died because you weren't enough of a hero. Unfortunately, games where you don't know the consequences for a long time after you've committed to an action can b
  • The White Chamber [studiotrophis.com] was the first Adventure-style Game that honestly scared me
  • by tepples (727027) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [selppet]> on Monday October 22, 2007 @07:26PM (#21079009) Homepage Journal
    A month after I paid off my house in each Animal Crossing game, the emotion of realizing that my actions are futile came upon me: "Why am I still doing this?"
  • Perhaps its just me, but the reason I have always felt that emotional response is not a requirement for something to be considered art is that a great many things that are considered art don't bring out any emotion in me; its pretty rare for a painting or photo to elicit emotion in me - some do, but for most its just "oh, that looks nice". While music often brings out emotions there is plenty of music, including some I quite enjoy, that don't bring out any emotion.

    Meanwhile there are plenty of things that

  • It's a false front (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gnostic Ronin (980129) on Monday October 22, 2007 @08:13PM (#21079431)
    I think this is one of the dead ends. What I want to be able to do is make moral choices that affect the entire world. I want to be able to decide that the cost of saving the world is just too high and leave. I want to have choices between different courses of action and have a consequence to whatever I choose to do.

    If the cost of saving Spira is allowing Yuna to die, why the hell isn't it my choice to make? Why does the game present such a moral dilemma just to have the game decide for me? Why is it that after discovering that Kohint will disappear after I destroy the Wind Fish, the game presents me with no alternative? That isn't realistic, at least not to me. It's never me playing the role or connecting with the characters. I might like them, but considering that I have zero power to decide what happens in the world, I may as well be watching a movie.

    I think games will become more emotional once you get the power that video games promise. That you and only you can decide how and why you want to save the world. Or even *if* you think that saving the world is a good idea. It's supposed to be me playing the role -- let me play in the sandbox and decide that some actions are right and some are wrong. Put up a consequence, make me suffer for a bad choice. Just let me choose.
  • It is neither necessary nor sufficient for art to evoke an emotional reaction, although that may suit the artist's purpose.

    It is neither necessary nor sufficient for art to evoke an intellectual reaction, although that may suit the artist's purpose.

    To be art, it has to evoke an aesthetic reaction, which in turn sometimes evokes an emotional and intellectual response. It is perfectly possible for art to be cold, austere, and so abstract that it is beyond the realms of human experience that can talked about
  • I can't believe he forgot to mention ICO. That is quite possibly the most emotionally affecting game of all time. The last stretch of the game from the bridge back to the throne room and then the ending was chock full of so much feeling that I wanted to burst. Never have I felt so sad, vengeful, and happy all at the same time. I definitely suggest ICO to anyone who wants an extraordinary experience. Oh in case you didn't know, this was the debut game of the Shadow of the Colossus guys.
  • Finishing the original Silent Hill, with the bad ending, was the first real emotional response I ever got from a game. "Holy shit" comes to mind as being spoken aloud, alone at night. It's endings didn't screw around with 'moral choices' and 'ethical dilemmas.' If you were able to unravel enough of the nooks and crannies to actually save the others, you got the 'good' endings. I should say 'successful' endings since that first, 'bad' ending was the best I'd ever seen.

    As that horn whispered into the fog, you
  • I think it's one of the few games where I realized the game ended when the credit rolled. I mean, I knew it was a game but the story was so involved that when the game really ended (one of many endings, from what I hear), I realized this is it. Then awe and sense of completion followed. And desire for more that never... I should get back to it one of these days.
  • Yes, they are both text adventures. But they also happen to be two of the most moving stories I have read, played, or watched.

    Photopia [wurb.com]

    Blue Chairs [wurb.com]
  • There's a tried and true way to provoke emotions via killing people off. Assuming the characters you developed are actually any good, killing them off will most likely provoke some kind of response.

    Another easy way like some described with Shadow of Colossus is that it turns out you were just going around killing babies or whatever all this time. That has been used at least as early as Terranigma where most of your effort in the game was help to revive a mad scientist who once wiped out the entire Earth.

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