February 29th, 2012
Earlier this month, Simon and I spoke at Bit of Alright, a games design conference in London.
Our session was on emotion in games – and, more specifically, how games designers can bring the narrative and mechanics of games together to create emotionally resonant moments for the player.
Long story short, we’re interested in making the player feel like they’re there. We think that a good way of doing that is to make the player feel the same thing that their character is feeling, by playing with the mechanics of the game. If the protagonist is meant to feel shocked, shock the player as well – do something new with the mechanics. If the protagonist is meant to feel anxious, stress the player out by giving them a time limit.
We mentioned a few games that we think do this well – including Shadow of the Colossus, Final Fantasy VII and Braid – and spoke about our 2011 game Sweatshop, where we used a similar approach to create conflicting feelings of guilt and pride in the player.
Most of the sessions were recorded, so we’ll let you know when it’s online. Till then, there’s a write up of several of the sessions here on Rock, Paper, Shotgun (which includes a startlingly accurate drawing of us talking).
Photo of Simon Parkin by Natalie Seery. More photos of Bit of Alright here.