Posted by : Jameson Durall Monday, June 06, 2011

I was having some drinks the other day with friends and the discussion turned to what video gaming moment caused the most emotional impact for each of us.

The moment that always comes to mind first with me was when Aeris died in Final Fantasy 7.  I am a huge fan of the Final Fantasy series and at that time, no game had killed off a main character in this way.  So, I had no idea this was coming and had grown attached to Aeris.  
With Social Media and the way we communicate these days, there is almost no way that I wouldn't have heard about her death before reaching it in game.  I'm not sure this kind of impact could be achieved the same way anymore.
Fable III
This got me thinking that, while it did create an impact with me, there wasn't anything interactive about Aeris dying and nothing I could do to affect the outcome.  So, this reminded me of a situation that happened in Fable 3 that brought about the same type of feelings.

Whenever I play any game with moral choice, I always lean heavily on the good side.  I'm always full Paragon in Mass Effect and while playing Fable 3 I was making every decision that I felt to be the right one.  At one point in the game there was a quest where an art collector said the paintings he owns would be much more valuable if the artist were dead.

At this point, I had been accepting every quest and just kind of going down the line to complete them.  For some reason, this one didn't quite register with me as something that wasn't entirely an honest thing to do.  Either that, or the impact seemed so minimal in comparison to my other choices that I felt it was ok to do.
After killing the artist, I returned to my home where my child was...and the first thing she said to me was "Daddy, Why did you kill that man?"  I really wasn't expecting this kind of in-game response and it nearly broke my heart.  I have a 7 year old son that I try to set an example for daily and this really hit a nerve with me.  Now EVERY time I returned home the child would mention something about this murder and made me feel terrible about it.

So, what about you?  What gaming moments had the most emotional impact for you?  These are the kinds of moments that we need to plan for in every game that we make and be thinking about with every design decision.  They don't have to be huge impacts, but any time you can tug on the heart strings of a player you pull them deeper into the experience you are creating for them.

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2 Responses so far.

  1. All I did was read the title of this post and the first thing that came to my mind was that moment when Aeris's white materia falls deep into the pond... that was very emotional for me, I admit it, I cried.

    Also Mr. Durall I would like to offer you a link exchange, if you are interested, I'm the admin of a couple of sites that might help you increase the traffic of "Fatherhood, Video Games, and Ice Cream" annd people getting to know of your work in video games.

    Let me know if you are intrested ^^


  2. Jameson says:

    Sounds interesting, want to email or send me a twitter message?

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