Emotions, Dramatic Tension, and Games

Posted By: Becky

Emotions, Dramatic Tension, and Games - 11/09/09 02:34 PM

Do you enjoy adventure games that try to get you to "feel" something as well as challenging you to think? Do you enjoy a sense of dramatic tension -- wondering how the story is going to turn out, for instance? Do you like a game better if it's made you laugh or scared you or (even) made you cry?

What particular games have done this?

Posted By: Darleen03

Re: Emotions, Dramatic Tension, and Games - 11/09/09 04:05 PM

Good Topic, Becky

Only one game ever ..And I mean ever made me cry....Was "Lost Crown"...That game was very emotional for me...

Scary...Yes...I love scary...That game was LHOD "Spirits EyE"

I can take it or leave it ..When it comes to humorous comedy in a game..I will play them, but I am not a big fan..

Posted By: Jenny100

Re: Emotions, Dramatic Tension, and Games - 11/09/09 05:10 PM

I'd divide the gaems that get me to "feel" something into two main groups:

The first group would be the are games that cause me to "feel" something because of their atmosphere and game environment, and I definitely prefer those -- especially if they have an atmosphere that is something more complex than a generic spooky atmosphere. Atmosphere seems to be created by a combination of visuals and background sound (or music). For example, the Ages in Uru had an interesting feel -- especially the Kadish Age. Other games that made me "feel" something because of their interesting atmospheres (especially in certain areas) would be Obsidian, the first three Atlantis games, Reah, the Schizm games, the Myst games, Shivers, Arthur's Knights, Amerzone, Ring, 9: The Last Resort, and Faust (7 Games of the Soul).

Shivers was unusual because it managed to be spooky despite having bright colors. Part of the interesting "feel" I got from Shivers, Obsidian, and 9: The Last Resort was due to the fact that their gameworlds could be so bizarre.

The second group would be the games that caused me to "feel" something mainly because of the story and the way it is told. The quality of the voice acting can make a big difference. If it's bad, it can distract you from the rest of the game, but if it's good, it can add a great deal. Grim Fandango, The Longest Journey, Zork Nemesis, The Last Express, Sanitarium, the Gabriel Knight games, and Syberia would be examples. Many of these games also have good atmospheres, but I think they're most remarkable for their stories or their combination of story and atmosphere.

It's difficult for a game to have a really immersive "feel" without a certain minimum level of graphics and music quality unless it is also supported by a story. For example, The Dig should have belonged to the first group, but its pixelated graphics were insufficient to convey to me the majesty of the environment. And its story didn't interest me enough to belong to the second group. I hope LucasArts does a remake some day with updated graphics.

Comedy games can be entertaining, but they don't really draw me in in the same way as a game with an engrossing story or an immersive environment. Not that I don't like them, but I think it's the nature of comedy that it sets you outside the game rather than being immersed in it.
Posted By: Jema

Re: Emotions, Dramatic Tension, and Games - 11/09/09 07:00 PM

Great post, Jenny100! praise You said everything I was thinking but hadn't been able to put into words yet. Thank you for doing it for me and so clearly.

I've played about half of the games you mentioned and have all but 4 of the others in my to-play stack.

Posted By: Mad

Re: Emotions, Dramatic Tension, and Games - 11/09/09 07:15 PM

The first game that really got to me, in the sense that I cared for the character and so was amused by him, admired him and was scared for him was Gabriel Knight Sins of the Fathers.
Wow !! What an experience !! bravo

And Tex Murphy in Under a Killing Moon soon followed suit praise

The first game that had me laughing off my chair was Monkey Island and not that long afterwards, Day of the Tentacle got to me too lol

Of course, more recent games than those really early ones have also been good, very good and even excellent - but none have affected me quite so much grin
Posted By: colpet

Re: Emotions, Dramatic Tension, and Games - 11/09/09 09:07 PM

I'm very similar to Jenny. What I look for most in a game is transportation to a different world and then getting to explore that environment. There are gameworlds that fill me with awe (Riven, Uru, Exile) and some that are just spectacular in their innovation (Obsidian, Atlantis ). Some are creepy (Shivers, Dark fall, Faust), but I'm always excited to look around and see what a new area as to offer. For me, this kind of immersion only comes with 1st person games.
Otherwise, a good story can affect me in many ways too - romance (Zork Nemesis), sadness (parts of Syberia), mysterious (Black Dahlia, Gabriel Knight) and social commentary (Obsidian, Comer).
I'm not sure about tension in a game. I play games to relax and I find that when things are tense (times bits, stealth, scary gamess) I get too stressed and that takes away from the enjoyment.
Posted By: Space Quest Fan

Re: Emotions, Dramatic Tension, and Games - 11/09/09 10:23 PM

I have to say the game that stands out the most to me is Gabriel Knight 2 The Beast Within. It was the first game I ever played where I actually cared about the characters as if they were real people. I also thought how you played as Gabriel one chapter and Grace the next really added to the realism of the game.
Shivers and Faust also deserve a mention. The music in Shivers really set an atmosphere to the game. Faust was so dark I actually felt creepy playing it.
Syberia 1 and The Longest Journey gave me the feeling of really being in another world. The mix of plot and excellent graphics was thrilling in these games.
The emotions of these games was awesome but I also love the humor of Monkey Island, Simon the Sorcerer and the Discworld games. Moving inventories and the wisecracking in these games never gets old for me.
Posted By: sarahandus

Re: Emotions, Dramatic Tension, and Games - 11/10/09 01:29 PM

I have several games that really stand out to me; Myst Exile for it's overall atmosphere and I cared about the character, kept trying to talk to him.
Torin's Passage for it's humor. I like the more subtle humor.
Shivers and the Dark Falls for their creepy atmosphere. Even playing Light's Out the second time I was just as jumpy as the first time.
Journey to the Center of the Earth for it's music.

I want to explore all kinds of different worlds. Great graphics are nice, but not critical. The same for the story. The atmosphere is the most important thing, if that's done right, then the rest does not need to be outstanding.
Posted By: RayBres

Re: Emotions, Dramatic Tension, and Games - 11/12/09 06:20 AM

Originally Posted By: Becky
Do you enjoy adventure games that try to get you to "feel" something as well as challenging you to think? Do you enjoy a sense of dramatic tension -- wondering how the story is going to turn out, for instance? Do you like a game better if it's made you laugh or scared you or (even) made you cry?

What particular games have done this?

This is a broad subject and may well result in my making more than one post as more things occur to me. One thing that hasn't happened is getting scared by a game or, rather, something that happens in the midst of a game and I think this is because my suspension of disbelief just doen't extend that far; I've never been scared by a movie either. I always know in the back of my mind that it's a game or a movie. The best I've been able to do is to get really startled by something that's happened and this is a good thing. I'm going to avoid spoilers here, so examples will have to be very broad and leave readers in the know to guess at the particular moments in the games where this happened. When I played The Pandora Directive in its unhinted form I must have levitated a foot out of my chair at one point when something happened that wasn't in the hinted version. There was a scene in DreamFall that startled me yet another foot into the air and left me gaping in disbelief at what had happened. Speaking of that game I also felt a massive rush of outrage and anger, twice, at what had been done to two of the characters.

I also feel a lot of admiration when a story is done cleverly and doesn't take an ordinary route; Memento Mori is a recent example.

Sigh. It's late and I'm getting sleepy. More later when it occurs to me.
Posted By: ChrisMM

Re: Emotions, Dramatic Tension, and Games - 11/15/09 03:23 AM

Definitely. I love stories, and any game that doesn't involve me in some kind of story that I car about ends up falling into the "casual" game category in my mind. Which means my commitment to finishing it is almost nil. But if the story is compelling enough, I'll struggle past the most annoying puzzles.

A lot of folks have mentioned the games that fall into that category for me already: Obsidian, the Myst games, Gabriel Knight, Syberia, Longest Journey, Darkfall, Zork Nemesis and Return to Zork, etc. Add in the Carol Reed games, and Delaware St. John, and Amber: Journeys Beyond. I've played most of those games several times, because I liked being in the story enough that it didn't matter that I knew most of the puzzles.

Two games that surprised me with how emotional I got were Jonas Kyratzes' "Museum of Broken Memories" and "The Strange and Somewhat Sinister Tale of the House at Desert Bridge." Both of them made me cry--and I'm not a crier, in general.
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