Archive for the ‘emotions’ Tag

Emotions in Games, part 2: Sorrow

Sorrow is a profoundly deep and negative emotion, and is not casually experienced.  Sorrow is our natural reaction to the experience of loss; our recognition that something we cared about will not be part of our future.  Sorrow is also brought about in many cases by our own suffering and that of others, particularly when we feel that suffering will continue – that is, when we lose hope and start to feel despair.

Like Fear, we’re dealing here with an emotion that’s experienced by the percipient – the reader/viewer/player of whatever medium is being experienced – and not by the characters in that medium.  How, then, can percipients be made to feel sorrow?  I’ll approach the subject by dealing separately with suffering and loss, and then I’ll briefly address how sorrow can be part of PvP experiences. Continue reading

Emotions in Games, part 1: Fear

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how well (or rather, how very, very poorly) games create emotional reactions in players, and since I tend to be a verbose bastard I’m going to separate my mind-dumping into posts on separate emotions, talking about how different media approach these emotions, and how games generally fail to do so, with a constructive eye on how this can be improved.

H.P. Lovecraft wasn’t only the past master of gothic horror; he also wrote one of the seminal works on the subject: “Supernatural Horror in Literature”.  His contention therein was that the type of horror that most effectively engages and frightens people is fear of the unknown.  I strongly agree, and one can see Lovecraft’s influence on everything from Stephen King and Dean Koontz to slasher flicks.  But let’s drill down a bit further into the ways horror, and especially the fear of the unknown, can be manifested in the media.

Fundamentally, I see three components to horror: suspense, wrongness, and startlement.  I’ll approach each in turn.

Continue reading