“in an effort to introduce plot, character development and narrative tension to games. They had realised that although their games are addictive, few are emotionally compelling. I’ve never seen a computer game that made me cry” – Professor Jenkins of MIT. (link)
There must be games which are emotive (beyond Anger and Fear/Anticipation). Games have been able to make me feel anger or fear as I follow the plot but I wonder about the softer emotions (sadness, love).
Speaking with my wife about this, she reckons that the interactivity of games reduces the possibility that you’ll feel the softer emotions. In contrast, I’ll admit that movies have been able to make me feel softer emotions (the ending of Edward Scissorhands gets me every time and don’t even talk to me about The Notebook). It’s a combination of immersion in the story, empathy for the characters and the music and foreshadowing of the plot.
So, why can’t computer games make us cry?
Wired had an article in 2005 on the subject: Can a Game Make You Cry?
I could tell something was wrong as soon as I saw my friend’s eyes. It was back in 1997, and he’d been playing the recently released Final Fantasy VII. That afternoon, he’d gotten to a famously shocking scene in which Aerith, a beloved young magician girl, is suddenly and viciously murdered.
He looked like he’d lost a family member. “I’m just totally screwed up,” he confessed as he nursed a lukewarm beer at a local bar. Nearly all my friends were playing Final Fantasy VII too — so, one by one over the next week, they all hit the same scene, until every nerd I knew was sunk in a slough of despond.
I’ve never played FFVII but I have to wonder if this game is unique. And watching the scene, I guess you have to play it through to experience it.