Nordic Game talk: Engineering Emotional Response

Engineering Emotional Response 2I 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.

Happy reading.

MovingDay - Mindmap Morten Brunbjerg, Storytalks

Stinestregen’s mindmap of the talk.

MovingDay - MindmapMovingDay - Mindmap

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

  1. I’ll be giving some quick tricks to get your players emotionally invested in your game story.
  2. My mission as a storyteller is to move people. We use the word “moved” because the player’s value system is moved.
  3. 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.
  4. Story is just one of the tools to move players.
  5. 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.
  6. These are some of the situations you can put your characters in to move players.
  7. Play Brothers to see all five points in action.
  8. Play Brothers I said!
  9. Death in video games are not always moving.
  10. Maybe because we experience death in games more than in any other media.
  11. When a character break down crying the audience often don’t. We want to comfort the suffering character instead.
  12. Be careful with crying characters. They often invoke other feelings in the player than the characters themselves are expressing. We don’t mirror emotions.
  13. 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!
  14. We can do all the above correct and still fail. Since it all boils down to this:
  15. Your story must have roots in inner conflict. Your game might be about overcoming physical obstacles –  but your story can not be!
  16. Summing up the rules. But they are more guidelines than actual rules!
  17. 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.


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