March 26, 2004
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This article promises more than it delivers, but it’s worth reading anyway. It’s about efforts to induce and detect emotion in video game players. The argument is undeniable — if game consoles could figure out players’ emotional responses, they could make games much more effective. The article talks briefly about some experiments at a Scotland university to detect emotion by measuring the force of button depression, for example.
While a game that played off your emotions would be hella cool and probably equally creepy, I think developers need to take it back a step. I haven’t played a game in years that drew me in emotionally the way Final Fantasy II (IV in Japan) did a dozen years ago, or old text adventures like Wishbringer years before that. From the games I’ve played recently, I’d argue that developers need to rediscover the art of story. Then they can talk to me about sophisticated emotion detection systems.