Chapter 2.28. Emotioneering Techniques Category 28: Cross-Demographic Techniques

Chapter 2.28. Emotioneering Techniques Category #28: Cross-Demographic Techniques

What teens and adults have in common: Hopefully, your game.

This chapter

focuses on techniques to make games appeal to both kids (or young teens) and adults.

At one of the game conventions I attended, a talk on how to make a hit game really caught my attention.

The speaker was the president of one of the most successful game development studios in the world, specializing in platformers. His company had just released a high-budget platformer whose sales, while significant, hadn't measured up to the very high expectations that had been set for it.

The company head's postmortem was that his game needed more violence. He pointed out that Grand Theft Auto III, which had debuted four months earlier to massive numbers, had a lot of violence and was selling quite well. He said that his next game would have more violence, so that his games once again would be in sync with popular tastes.

I thought there was one thing right with his analysis, and three things wrong.

The right item is that, as this book is being written, platformers are indeed not performing well. Whether this will change in the future is hard to predict.

But I also had a couple problems with his analysis:

  • There is no shortage of violent games on the market. Many sell well, but many sell poorly. So violence in and of itself isn't enough to, in any way, guarantee game sales.

  • Grand Theft Auto III and its sequel Vice City use tons of Emotioneering techniques. It's the artful blending of great gameplay and Emotioneering that has resulted in these games' success, not violence in and of itself. To take another example, there are many games more violent than Max Payne, but it sold very well.

  • I'd seen such attempts to find "magic pills" (easy solutions) in the film business, and they always fail. Various executives, in substitution for their lack of knowledge about story, characters, suspense, and the creation of emotional experiences, have tried relying on simple formulas. Or they'll become obsessed with one genre as the way to guarantee success. One year they might think it's big action pictures, the next year it's feel-good movies, or teen comedies, or films based on comic books, or romantic comedies, or whatever their idea of a sure-fire hit is.

Yes, there are trends, and it's great when you can ride one. But these magic pills rarely work. It turns out that films also need (what do you know) good writing.[1] This lesson applies to games as well, in that a search for a single formula to make a great game won't work.

[1] The exception might be sequels. Sometimes, if the first film is incredibly popular, people will flock to the sequel even if it's far inferior.



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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