Saturday, April 26, 2008

QQ More Emo

Some games are quite emotional. Although I can honestly say I have never really been moved by a game as much as say a good book or movie does, however, as a piece of entertainment, games do have strong emotional components. These are not necessarily emotions derived from gameplay, such as frustration or joy. Emotions can come from the narrative aspects of games, heightening experiences of tense gameplay or adding meaning to saddening and depressing aspects.

Instead of simply ranting on about the various emotions a player can experience in games (like I would usually do), I would like to highlight only a few specific emotions that I have experienced while gaming. These few are quite unique in the sense that they are usually pretty strong and most of the time, only relevant to the one game or game type.

1. Getting Ganked (or gang killed). I have discussed this before in a post a few weeks ago, basically describing the sickening helpless feeling you can sometimes get when you get ganked in MMORPGs like WoW. I believe that this emotion is more to do with panic and surprise because if you are expecting to get ganked, you do not usually get too worried when it happens. World PvP dynamics in MMORPGs like WoW are usually very brutal systems where lower level or outnumbered opponents will receive the short end of the stick, sometimes multiple times. Initial impressions of PvP at an early stage can form the basis of an opinion later on, especially considering the whole PvE-PvP feud that exists in the game. Below is an old 'quitting wow' video created by a friend and I where we decided to go on a killing rampage and break our usual 'honorable' PvP attitudes (well sorta). It clearly demonstrates the complete helplessness that lowbies have when faced with unfair odds.

Below: WoW - One Shot One Kill

2. Victory Rush (racing games). Although I would not call myself a great fan of racing games, I do enjoy playing them at certain times. There is however, one aspect of racing games that is so stressful and intense that sometimes I think I am going into cardiac arrest while playing them. This rare sensation is the feeling you get during that last 20 seconds of a race where you are only just beating the car behind you by at mere car's length. Ridge Racer IV on the PSX used to do this quite a lot, though mainly due to the perfection at which you needed to drive. However the much more recent single player in Trackmania and especially Need For Speed games also deliver the same exhilaration.

Below: Trackmania - Yes, you can drive through that

3. Freaked out. Now, let me be the first to say that I don't usually find many games to be overly suspenseful or frightening. I am usually the one laughing my guts out at horror movies where everyone else is cringing in the corner. Horror/fear games just don't really do it for me. That does not mean, however, that I am completely immune. The first time I played Silent Hill (the original) I was genuinely disturbed, and it was the middle of the day. The scratchy radio that would increase in volume when enemies were close by was juxtaposition to the limited light source emitted from your flash light.... which drew the enemies nearer to you! Turning the light off didn't exactly help either, as bumping into enemies in the dark was usually not very healthy. This experience was akin to general freaky stuff I encountered in both F.E.A.R. (the invisible wall climbing dudes) and Doom 3 (floating corpses and deceptive mirrors ftl).

Below: Doom 3 - "Hellknight" means "brick-shit-house" in Tongues

Emotions in our game? Well Crusaders already will have a large amount of emotional content, considering the allegiance swapping nature of the game. Certain emotions such as betrayal, envy or even direct resentment for other players is sure to ensue for periods of time due to the nature of the game. The 'leader' will constantly feel like they are getting ganked, while the underdogs will undertake swift justice to the give themselves the edge. Through our prototyping, the game is already showing strong emotional content that is sure to be both enjoyable and engaging for everyone involved, no matter if you are winning or not (because you won't be for long).

No comments: