Emotions in your games

Founder
Posts: 1,138
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #1
Yesterday I was reading a recent interview with the very modest Mr. Miyamoto and he stressed the importance of emotions. In a nutshell, he talked about how "great" games invoke emotions from the player. I can't recall the details (I'm still running a slight fever) but I thought this would make an interesting topic to discuss.

I'm curious if "building" emotions into games comes across of any devs here? There was a thread not long ago on favorite past games. I was planning to post one of my favorite past games was "Dungeon Master." That game is still heavy on my mind because it created such a strong emotion from me when I played it (fright/scaried). Although today's FPS have x200 eye candy and "realism", I still haven't felt the same.

On the other hand, I can recall some titles which I suppose I liked that didn't draw on the emotional side of gaming. I suppose in the movie biz, they are thought of as "popcorn" movies (ie not too deep and usually full of mindless fun/death)

So how important are emotions for games? Does it depend on the genre? Do emotions keep you coming back for more and more?

Cheers,

Carlos A. Camacho,
Founder
iDevGames
Quote this message in a reply
Member
Posts: 129
Joined: 2005.02
Post: #2
Was that your only emotion for the game? Did it have a good storyline/plot at all? I'm unfamiliar with the game, and only did a quick google.

I think storylines really drive emotion out of me. Thats why I love long RPGs. If the story line is really good, it's like an extended movie or book (if we're talking 15-60 hours). I can think of a lot of RPGs that have really moved me in some way.

Very good topic though.

Mark
Quote this message in a reply
Luminary
Posts: 5,143
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #3
best emotional impact ever -- beyond good and evil
read freeman's "creating emotion in games" -- excellent book
tends not to apply so much to smaller games without stories, though.
Quote this message in a reply
Member
Posts: 196
Joined: 2003.10
Post: #4
Deus Ex had by far the most emotional impact on me as the story was somewhat non-linear.
Quote this message in a reply
Moderator
Posts: 3,571
Joined: 2003.06
Post: #5
Carlos Camacho Wrote:Although today's FPS have x200 eye candy and "realism", I still haven't felt the same.

On the other hand, I can recall some titles which I suppose I liked that didn't draw on the emotional side of gaming. I suppose in the movie biz, they are thought of as "popcorn" movies (ie not too deep and usually full of mindless fun/death)

Interesting you should say that. I finally got a chance to play Doom3 last weekend. First I should say that I was as skeptical as could be going into it, knowing full well that it was a standard id twitch-kill. It was. But more than that it was a *great* twitch-kill. I mean, if you're gonna do the tacky, standard FPS shoot 'em up, you can't beat Doom 3. No way.

It was great because of two reasons 1) Graphics. I only played the Xbox version, but the normal mapping was just fantastic. As a side note, I'm pretty sure the Xbox is the only console that can currently do normal mapping. The graphics aren't as good as a quality gaming PC, but still very impressive. Being as how I'm a 3D tech fan I wound up spending a couple hours just wandering around in the game appreciating some of the finer graphical details... 2) Emotion. I was completely surprised by how Doom3 actually brought back the old memories of playing the original Doom in the creep department. Look, I realize that it's Doom, but they actually did a really good job of it. There was a level I was playing where I muttered to myself out loud, "Geez, could they make this any creepier?!". I'm no spring chicken when it comes to playing Doom, but there were definitely some skin crawling moments. Summing it up: Outside of the predictable monster coming out of the shadows routine, the graphics and voice acting on the in-game "PDA" and ambient sound effects added up to a great emotional thrill ride in places. Overall, Doom3 beat all of my expectations (and like I said, I was *very* skeptical). It is still Doom, but I freely admit that I was impressed in the end.

As far as non-cheesy-horror-movie-like emotion:

I agree that Deus Ex was great in the emotion department. You didn't know who to trust or what was going down behind the scenes. That was truly a great game. Elder Scrolls III Morrowind was another game like that, except maybe five times better than even Deus Ex in the emotion and plot departments, if that's possible to imagine. After a week of playing that game your mind actually starts thinking it's the protagonist in the flesh! The story line is really thick with lots of twists and turns. It's technically an RPG, but I didn't get that impression in the end. Another great RPG that comes to mind with heavy emotional involvement is Knights of the Old Republic. Actually, now that I think about it, KOTOR might be the most emotionally involved game I've played. Max Payne does the whole, "they slaughtered my wife and child in cold blood" thing. That element is played upon intensely in a few places, maybe even to the point of being overdone. Great game though. I heard somewhere that one of the most basic emotional instincts widely identified in all societies is to protect the weak, and young. You know, "protect the women and children". Obviously Max Payne plays off of that. Black Shades would be another example with the body guard theme.
Quote this message in a reply
Member
Posts: 184
Joined: 2004.07
Post: #6
For most games, emotional impact of a game (like a movie or a book) will work the first few times, but dulls each time it is repeated- so I think that an addictive game that you can play over and over cannot rely soley or mostly on emotion to drive the appeal of the game. This is not really a problem with games nowadays since they have movie-like production budgets, so they can create a long, interesting story that most players will probably just go through once. But the second time the novelty of emotion and drama is no longer there, so you become more reliant on gameplay to make the game fun. Games like Tetris and older sidescrollers like Mario tend not to have that much drama and emotion, but because the gameplay is so good, it's easy to have fun playing the game over and over. On the other hand, I think most people would not want to play many RPGs over (though I know plenty of people who love to do so; it's kind of like reading a book over.)

That mostly applies to the current way most games are designed and made. However, consider the Sims, which is a game with a constantly twisting and turning story the player can control- in this case there is always new drama and emotion to be created. This genre has been far less explored, since it's very difficult to design and sell such a game.
Quote this message in a reply
Founder
Posts: 1,138
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #7
> I'm unfamiliar with the game, and only did a quick google.
Search for Dungeon Master FTL

The emotions were fear and bravery Smile

Carlos A. Camacho,
Founder
iDevGames
Quote this message in a reply
Member
Posts: 57
Joined: 2005.08
Post: #8
I'm not sure if you guys are familiar with N (google N ninja; first result) but the basic gist of it is a lode runner clone with sexed up physics. anyway, maybe im just bad at it but on really hard episodes (5 levels to complete in each one of the 100) the sense of pride and achievment i get at times is amazing.

Another game that hit me pretty hard on the emotional scale was xenogears for the psx, greatest rpg ive ever played, the storyline is amazing and you really start to feel for the characters at times. if you have played it, the most unforgetable cut scene was when bart was standing on the edge of his ship sending out a prayer to his father while sigmund was telling fei that bart had no real friends and that fei, who disliked fighting had to help him and such. also at the start when fei destroys lahan and dan goes nuts at him for killing his sister.
Quote this message in a reply
Apprentice
Posts: 18
Joined: 2003.12
Post: #9
I think emotion is very important in games. All games except some simple platformers, puzzlers, racing games and beat 'em ups like Soul Calibur or Tekken should have a well thought story with that makes you feel all kinds of emotion. For example, first person shooters should incorporate some moral choices to enhance the experience, unless the game in question is a shoot 'em up like Serious Sam that is all about non stop action. Today's fps games represent mindless bots that are only there to be shot in the most horrible way possible. There should be moments, when say the player has been given a mission to assassinate someone for whatever petty reason. When the player reaches that person and he's in the middle of a conversation with another person. He's talking about how he became a father last week, when his wife gave birth to a healthy boy and that he has never been happier in his life. Every player would stop and think twice about killing him straight or trying to discover a more moral approach to the mission.

RPGs usually have a good storyline and give several choices to solve problems, but most first person shooters have been created only for the fun of violence. Boring Bored

A well thought storyline with voice acting, music and at least a bit of animation can accomplish more than just experiencing something great. For example, I really love Gabriel Knight 3: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned. The story was great, even though it did have a sad ending. It also got me intrigued of Rénnes-le-Château, the village where the game happened, which is a real village in southern France. I started reading french, so I could get to know the place better, when one day I'll get to go there for a visit.
Quote this message in a reply
Apprentice
Posts: 18
Joined: 2005.06
Post: #10
I don't think you should mention black shades, as i find murdering random people and flying around the city in phycic mode even more fun than the bodyguard thing. Wacko

A TBS or RTS has really acheived greatness when they make you feel angry/sad when one of your men who has been with you since the beginning suddenly dies in battle. Battle for Wesnoth does this.

Someone said that RPGs can be less replayable because you already know the emotions and storyline. This is where Kotor goes up, and FF goes down. It's also really nice when you find emotional elments in games that are nothing like that. (EV nova).

Mindlessness in the big industry is bad, in indie games can be good. Stress can. (like KDC)

Freedom is the ability to say one plus one equals two. When that occurs, all else follows.
Quote this message in a reply
Moderator
Posts: 529
Joined: 2003.03
Post: #11
Silent HIll really got to me. Even with the relatively weak graphics on PS 1. Things popping out of the fog and the way the radio acts up when you're near a monster.

Didn't like Dungeon Master for some reason, but Black Crypt on the Amiga was good because you could hear stuff moving around.

"Yes, well, that's the sort of blinkered, Philistine pig-ignorance I've come to expect from you non-creative garbage."
Quote this message in a reply
Member
Posts: 177
Joined: 2002.08
Post: #12
You all need to play Shadow of the Colossus.
Quote this message in a reply
Moderator
Posts: 697
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #13
@Mark Levin: some of us are in dark and dingy corners of the world where it isn't released for another three months...

Mark Bishop
--
Student and freelance OS X & iOS developer
Quote this message in a reply
Member
Posts: 168
Joined: 2004.10
Post: #14
sealfin Wrote:some of us are in dark and dingy corners of the world
Since when did you move to America, and why New York?
Quote this message in a reply
Founder
Posts: 1,138
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #15
>Didn't like Dungeon Master for some reason, but Black Crypt on the Amiga was good >because you could hear stuff moving around.
Actually, DM's sound was a strong factor in creating emotions. Nothing like hearing the skeletons nearby, or the worms scuffling around in the dark... :shakes from memories:

Anyone (Ivan?) read this book:
"Creating Emotion in Games: The Craft and Art of Emotioneering"
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1...evgames-20

I love the word "emotioneering." New Riders Games seems to be the king of game design books. If someone (Ivan?) wants to review it for us, let me know directly.

Cheers,

Carlos A. Camacho,
Founder
iDevGames
Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply