Video Games and Emotions

I was playing This War of Mine when one of my none gaming friends asked me what it was about. As I sat there and explained the game and how the aim is to try to survive through a war as a civilian, making difficult decisions in order to survive one day to the next and waiting untill  the war comes to an end their expression turned from curiosity to a mixture of sadness and confusion.

“Aren’t games meant to be fun? Tha just sounds depressing, why play it?” Was their response.

I could see where they were coming from, This War of Mine is based upon the 1992–95 Siege of Sarajevo during the Bosnian War and meant to give the gamer an insight into the side of war most video games don’t show. It’s not meant to be purely entertaining, its meant to give you a taste of what war is like for civilians.

So I found myself attempting to explain to my friend something even I hadn’t thought about untill they raised their question and that is the fact that video games aren’t all fun and games (in the traditional sence of the word anyways).

Video games have come very far as a medium and are now not all colourful graphics, funny stories and lighthearted entertainment. Some have deeper meanings like This War of Mine or That Dragon Cancer.

In my opinion this is a good thing, video games are just like movies and books coming in a variety of genres and created for many different reasons. Some make you laugh, some make you cry others are action packed and others story driven. The variety of games is what makes them so accessible and the power of games to trigger strong emotional responses is far stronger than in other forms of entertainment.

Life is Strange, The Walking Dead, and The Last of Us (to name a few) are far more that simple games they have deep stories that create strong emotional ties with their characters (case in point who doesn’t love Clem?) Non gamers may not see this but the experience of playing a video game is so much more than just a fun thing to pass the time.

I will always remember playing Life is Strange, I got to the end that final decision I could see coming my way and got a bit emotional (I’m not ashamed to say). The mix of all that Max had been through coming to nothing, the emotion in their voices, the music in the background it all came together in just the right way to tug at the heart-strings. It wasn’t amusing but it was exactly what it needed to be for the story it was telling.

What was the most emotional game you have ever played?

6 thoughts

  1. I have to agree with on This War of Mine and The Walking Dead. I think when a game lets the player make the decisions that creates an emotional connection. Its these games that tend to stay with the player, long after the game has ended.


  2. Thanks for the follow!

    Yes, video games are moving beyond happy, flashy playthings to including more serious themes, which is nice for us and confusing/unexpected to folks who don’t stay up on what’s happening in the gaming world!

    The most emotional game I’ve ever played… that’s actually a really tough question. There are a few points within a couple of games that were really poignant involving character deaths/etc…. This might sound silly, but the story in Twilight Princess actually really was emotional. Everything about it was just so *sad* and the parts that weren’t sad were steeped in nostalgia for long-time Zelda fans.

    Otherwise, I’d say a game like Gone Home or Papers, Please managed to really hit an emotional nerve (for me) with fairly simple gameplay, which was pretty nice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for following too! And congratulations for your 1 year anniversary!

      I agree both with Gone Home and Twilight Princess they are great games. And I’m glad that video games aren’t just toys for kids but are being used in new and exciting ways to tell amazing stories!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful post! This War of Mine is definitely a game that is difficult to sell if we only consider the games useful for providing us with positive emotions or distracting entertainment.
    I think that we intuitively use games, and movies, to either entertain or challenge ourselves.

    This War of Mine challenges us to make very difficult decisions and to face the emotional and moral consequences. Playing games like this, we can contemplate and take action on our morals and philosophies in ways that we don’t have the opportunity to in our normal lives (hopefully). Its very useful for knowing more about ourselves and teaching ourselves what’s most important in crises.

    The most emotional game I played was probably The Last of Us. The game was made to test us emotionally, which is probably why it’s so critically acclaimed. That Dragon, Cancer is another particularly emotional game, too.

    Liked by 1 person

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