Emotional Reactions to Games

Hey guys and gals, I’m going to be writing a post for you today! The topic is ‘Emotional Reactions to Games’, I will talk about my feelings on games that get you involved about specific characters, and how that affects people.

When I play the singleplay story of videogames today, I don’t want shit like Modern Warfare 2, or most other games out there. Even Halo 3. I want to feel connected to the story, drawn in, and feel saddened by the loss of a character, like in a book. Too often do games have throwaway stories, and they learn nothing from their rivals. At the very least, I want to feel sad or regret upon killing something.

The last time I was actually sad in a game was in playing Fable 2. I had sided with the evil cult because of the advantages of doing so, but then I was sent away for awhile. I came back to a town ravaged by the same cult I joined, and the very air was darker in the village; gloomy. I strongly regretted my actions, and remembered the names of several of the villagers I had interacted with most often. They, too, seemed gloomier. I had brought this upon the people. This is the emotional reaction I want — I want a game to be evocative.

Another instance of an emotional reaction in a game was playing GTA4 — yes GTA4, it has feelings, too — and several times I was faced with decisions of execution. These people I weren’t actually attached to, but in their final hour I actually stopped and thought. I thought of what I’d been told they’d done, and what part of that I thought was true. I shot Playboy-X because he hung his mentor out to dry. I killed several meaningless druglords. I saved Ivan, though, because he was against the menace I was forced to work for, and every act of rebellion I could pull off was strived for. Most of the characters in that game I didn’t care about, but these decisions made me stop and think. That’s what makes an even weakly compelling story: moments where you have to stop and think, where there’s no immediately obvious gain either way and it’s a completely moral decision.

Another way, I feel, to achieve a more evocative game and make people take more stock in their actions, is to add children to games. If there were children in GTA, I’d be a lot less likely to shoot anybody who said anything negative to me on the streets. Especially if each kid felt unique, as in there was an extreme variety in the character models and speech options to each action, and if they acted scared more wretchedly than the adults. I know I’d feel sad, ashamed, and regretful if I killed a young kid that was tripping, scrambling, screaming in his or her attempt to just get away from me.

To address you now, I’d like to ask: do you want more evocative and compelling singleplayer campaigns in games, or the throwaway crap that’s been all that’s being developed the past years especially? Would you also like to see similar things carried over into the multiplayer?

Thanks for reading!, in case you were wondering who this new guys is; I’m Tim, owner and founder of Fynmark.org (known before fall of 2008 as Finmark with an “I“). I’ve known Sean here for awhile, and helped him out a little bit with his forum that he used to own. We knew each other from Droidz (a little known and low community count pivot website). But that’s enough of our personal affairs.

I might be making some more guest posts here soon, so hopefully I’ll see you then!

16 thoughts on “Emotional Reactions to Games

  1. Haris B

    really good post. If you added children to the game the people that reviewed the games and that wouldnt let it go through to stores like aliens vs predators in australia or one of those games created by the same people that made hitman (dunno what its called, read it in a game magazine.) but it would make it much better but it might ake people a bit depressed.

    1. Sean Post author

      That’s true, some people might get depressed if the situation they were in had intense scenes of violence towards children.

      And yeah, Australia is pretty strict, they probably wouldn’t be able to release a game like that here.

  2. Callum M-S

    Me and my sister used to get upset during DOA3, i think it was ayanes last cutscene where she burns her step father or something, that was very emotional.

  3. Kris

    Very nice post, Tim. I love it when a game gets you enough into the story where you feel a legit reaction to what’s going on. One of the best examples for me would have to be the plot twist in Modern Warfare 2 (if you played the campaign, you’d know what I’m talking about) I actually was shocked as it happened, and I got chills as that cut-scene came to an end. Another would have to be Bioshock (the first one). The major plot twist in that one got my head spinning like crazy, so I had to play the game through again to really catch onto it. Anyway, great post, Tim, very nice topic.


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