Final Thoughts

It's a mistake to think a player will automatically want to continue forward in a game. We designers need to always be asking ourselves the questions, "What will make the player want to continue on to the next mission or level or game experience?" "What could turn off the player or cause boredom?"

Remember the problem zones, such as anything that can stop gameplay, like a break between levels or missions or the delivery of information. Try, if possible, to find inventive ways to handle these areas without ripping the player out of the game.

Or, if you need to rip the player out of the game to deliver this kind of information, have the information be presented in a way so that it's so entertaining or so intriguing that the player looks forward to it.

To some, it might seem strange to include, in a book on bringing emotion into games, a chapter that focuses so much on gameplay. However, an audience can get bored watching a film, a magic show, or a juggling act. A person can get bored on a theme-park ride. And a player can get bored in a game. It's the responsibility of the creators behind all these entertainment and art forms to know what it takes to ensure that boredom never sets in. For nothing will counteract an audience's or a player's emotional immersion faster than boredom.

The Big Picture

In a game with characters and/or a story, every trick in the book to motivate a player, in terms of gameplay and visuals, can all be mitigated when the player isn't emotionally invested in the game.

Here are some isolated segments from a New York Times review by Charles Harold of the game, Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner. The game is a sequel to the Konami game Zone of the Enders, which was released two years earlier.

Because [the game] refers to characters and organizations I barely remembered from the first game, Runner became fairly confusing.

While the sequel has little emotional depth and the character animations are inferior to those of the first game, the play has been much improved.

Zone was notable more for its engaging story and intriguing characters than its somewhat pedestrian game play. Here the situation is reversed, with better action and a muddled story.

[Regarding the final battle:] …there is little strategy in that final tedious confrontation, and after getting killed a few times I gave up. I felt so uninvolved that I didn't even care enough to beat the final bad guy.

Mr. Harold, in just a few statements, about The 2nd Runner, sums up the entire point of this book. He found the plot confusing, the characters uninteresting, and the story lacking in emotional depth. So, even though the gameplay was improved, he didn't even care about winning the final battle.

The solution to motivating the player to passionately follow a game to its conclusion isn't just methods like those listed in this chapter. The solution lies in keeping the player emotionally engaged in the game from beginning to end. That won't occur with just a few tweaks in a game's design. It requires the entire gamut of Emotioneering techniques.

Creating Emotion in Games. The Craft and Art of Emotioneering
Creating Emotion in Games: The Craft and Art of Emotioneering
ISBN: 1592730078
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 394

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