Tuesday, January 26, 2010

February 2010: Emotive Games

February 2010's topic, Emotive Games, was submitted by writer and game designer Sande Chen.

Sande writes:

How many times have we heard the question asked about games: "But can it make you cry?" Or in other words, does the game make you feel something? Can a game stir the passions just as much as a heart-wrenching movie? Some people say emphatically, "Yes!" Unfortunately, either I have watched too many good movies or I have just not come across a game that can successfully manipulate my emotions.

With film, I understand that there are many tricks of the trade to guide audiences to an emotional epiphany. I think about how rapt I was upon watching United 93 and how my stomach felt as I watched the events unfold in almost a documentary style. I myself was in New York City one month after 9/11. I recall the smoke in the air and the soldiers on the streets. Would there ever be a game that would speak to me in the same way?
  • Do games have the necessary vernacular to tell powerful stories?
  • What kinds of emotions can games generate in players?
  • How do you make emotive games?
  • What would you consider to be an emotive game?
  • Is it even important for games to make players cry?
Sande Chen is a writer and game designer whose work has spanned 10 years in the industry. Her credits include 1999 IGF winner Terminus, 2007 PC RPG of the Year The Witcher, and Wizard 101. She is one of the founding members of the IGDA Game Design SIG.


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