I had the pleasure of giving a talk at the Nordic Game Conference 2014 called “The Challenge: Engineering Emotional Response”. I gave the talk May 23 at 11 am.
Some of you asked if I would put my Nordic Game talk online as I did with It Builds Character – and of course. I’m always happy to share knowledge. I wrote a few brief notes below in order for the slides to make sense.
Thanks to everyone who showed up and for the mentions on Twitter. It always means a lot and you have been very kind as usual.
Download the slides in PDF format
Since I used videos in the presentation I’ve cut a few slides, but the main points will have no less impact because of that. Here are the slides in PDF format.
My notes from the slides
- I’ll be giving some quick tricks to get your players emotionally invested in your game story.
- My mission as a storyteller is to move people. We use the word “moved” because the player’s value system is moved.
- This should be our mission as storytellers always. Maybe not change the players life drastically but give them an experience they can take with them.
- Story is just one of the tools to move players.
- We want to like stories, but we withdraw our emotions if we don’ trust the storyteller. Follow dramatic structure, portray characters believably, etc. or players withdraw emotions.
- These are some of the situations you can put your characters in to move players.
- Play Brothers to see all five points in action.
- Play Brothers I said!
- Death in video games are not always moving.
- Maybe because we experience death in games more than in any other media.
- When a character break down crying the audience often don’t. We want to comfort the suffering character instead.
- Be careful with crying characters. They often invoke other feelings in the player than the characters themselves are expressing. We don’t mirror emotions.
- Death scenes are moving only if you don’t focus on death. Focus on the dying reaching out for one final connection. Let them talk about anything other than death!
- We can do all the above correct and still fail. Since it all boils down to this:
- Your story must have roots in inner conflict. Your game might be about overcoming physical obstacles – but your story can not be!
- Summing up the rules. But they are more guidelines than actual rules!
- Thank you :)
If you’re interested in me giving this talk at your event, or other talks about game writing, all you have to do is contact me.
Thank you for reading.