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Shin Ramberk
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"Times when video games promote empathy" , posted Sat 16 Apr 15:45post reply

So I was reading some comments on slashdot.org about a column on genre defining games. One of the comments was about how in Max Payne there was an audio clip of Max calling a phone sex line-- in the clip, Max sounded really depressed, and down. The player felt real empathy for Max at this point. So, my question is, what games and in what moments have video games illicited empathy to a character from you? Have you ever felt happy that a video game character achieved his goal? Have you ever felt sad for a vg character's defeat? I think this is very interesting because its not something we talk about but something that does happen and it should be lauded because this is where video games really turn into something like movies and books which illicit emotions so strongly.

The only time I can think of this happening in my life is when I was playing N64 Zelda and it was during the cut scene where Gannon first visits the castle. I felt horror for the princess, that she had to meet this terrible guy. And I felt fear for Link, because he seemed to be in immediate danger while sneaking around in the castle. Its the same feeling when Gannon storms out of the castle on his horse and he spots Link.





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Undead Fred
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"Re(1):Times when video games promote empathy" , posted Sat 16 Apr 18:01post reply

quote:
So I was reading some comments on slashdot.org about a column on genre defining games. One of the comments was about how in Max Payne there was an audio clip of Max calling a phone sex line-- in the clip, Max sounded really depressed, and down. The player felt real empathy for Max at this point. So, my question is, what games and in what moments have video games illicited empathy to a character from you? Have you ever felt happy that a video game character achieved his goal? Have you ever felt sad for a vg character's defeat? I think this is very interesting because its not something we talk about but something that does happen and it should be lauded because this is where video games really turn into something like movies and books which illicit emotions so strongly.

The only time I can think of this happening in my life is when I was playing N64 Zelda and it was during the cut scene where Gannon first visits the castle. I felt horror for the princess, that she had to meet this terrible guy. And I felt fear for Link, because he seemed to be in immediate danger while sneaking around in the castle. Its the same feeling when Gannon storms out of the castle on his horse and he spots Link.

I've had plenty of moments here and there over the years (Silent Hill 2 had a bunch), but speaking of Max Payne... that section where you play through his when his wife and daughter were murdered made me feel for him... especially the voice acting there. But then they really hurt the "moment" by cutting to that shot of him holding his wife's body and going "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" CHEESE MODE TO THE MAX LOLLLL

But yeah, I think if they would have just left out that cheeseball "noooooooooooo!" then that part of the game would have been really effective. It still had impact, but it would have been more memorable, I think.





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"Re(1):Times when video games promote empathy" , posted Sat 16 Apr 18:12post reply

quote:
So I was reading some comments on slashdot.org about a column on genre defining games. One of the comments was about how in Max Payne there was an audio clip of Max calling a phone sex line-- in the clip, Max sounded really depressed, and down. The player felt real empathy for Max at this point. So, my question is, what games and in what moments have video games illicited empathy to a character from you? Have you ever felt happy that a video game character achieved his goal? Have you ever felt sad for a vg character's defeat? I think this is very interesting because its not something we talk about but something that does happen and it should be lauded because this is where video games really turn into something like movies and books which illicit emotions so strongly.

The only time I can think of this happening in my life is when I was playing N64 Zelda and it was during the cut scene where Gannon first visits the castle. I felt horror for the princess, that she had to meet this terrible guy. And I felt fear for Link, because he seemed to be in immediate danger while sneaking around in the castle. Its the same feeling when Gannon storms out of the castle on his horse and he spots Link.



Probably the only video game characters who every illicited empathy from me were Yorda from Ico (obvious) and Seifer, Raijin, and Fujin from FFVIII. I'm not really sure how Seifer & Friends illicited sympathy from me. I guess it's a combination of the fact that I sort of identified with him more than other characters, along with the fact that the scene of him fishing with his friends was just absolutely perfect. When you save the world in an RPG, there are lots of scenes of dead lands suddenly becoming lush and green and scared villagers slowly walking out of their houses and watching the sun burst through the Dark Clouds of Evil, but nothing says The World Is Better Off than three unfortunate people who went to the dark side relaxing on the docks.

It should be noted that creating empathy in a video game is very difficult, though. For some reason, different rules seem to apply in video games versus any other form of media. For instance, it's a really old, cheesy cliche that in movies, dogs are never killed. Even in a movie like Sin City, the dog never gets hurt. However, according to the guys at Ubi Soft, every single play tester for Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow killed a caged dog. No exceptions. Maybe they wanted to see if they could kill the dog, maybe they just hated dogs, maybe they just couldn't think of a better way to shut it up... but they all killed it. So it's a lot more complicated than just throwing a certain image at you and expecting you to act a certain way.





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"Re(2):Times when video games promote empathy" , posted Sat 16 Apr 19:26post reply

I like to imagine how the FF7 dorks felt themselves the pain in their chests when the bitch is killed, like if the sword had gone through their own guts and they had to check their bellies to see if there wasn't blood on it..

Seriously, SMT3 is the only game where I really became the character. As so, the other characters became real, and I really understood their concerns and hopes and why they felt that way, like characters from a well written novel.
Beside that, I tend to stay outside of even the works of fiction that I enjoy, so I can't think of anything else. I was deeply stressed by many moments in Siren, but it was the in-game stuff, not the scenario parts.





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"Re(3):Times when video games promote empathy" , posted Sun 17 Apr 01:15post reply

I used to feel sad for some videogame characters when they met their tragic destiny (Donovan puking blood at the end of Vampire Hunter, Edge's departure from Azel's side in Panzer Dragoon...this kind of stuff).

Now I'm older, and this no longer happens to me except when playing some comic/film/novel based videogame. I still remember this epic feeling that arouse inside my guts while training Rocky , or the ominous shadow of despair that layed upon my heart when I saw Apollo dying on the ring...ugh...I,..I can't continue...





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"Re(4):Times when video games promote empathy" , posted Sun 17 Apr 01:41post reply

I don't think any videogame death will depress me as much as the one in Phantasy Star 4, way more sad that the FF7 death.





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"Re(1):Times when video games promote empathy" , posted Sun 17 Apr 02:50post reply

quote:
So, my question is, what games and in what moments have video games illicited empathy to a character from you? Have you ever felt happy that a video game character achieved his goal? Have you ever felt sad for a vg character's defeat?



The Tillis ending in Burning Rangers? Any Outrun2 Ending? When Mario really saves the Princess in SMB?





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"Re(1):Times when video games promote empathy" , posted Sun 17 Apr 04:42:post reply

quote:
I think this is very interesting because its not something we talk about but something that does happen and it should be lauded because this is where video games really turn into something like movies and books which illicit emotions so strongly.



I would say the mass burning of Star Ocean Till the End of Time discs from finding out who the Creator was counts as elliciting a strong emotional reaction.





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[this message was edited by Amakusa on Sun 17 Apr 04:42]

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"Re(2):Times when video games promote empathy" , posted Sun 17 Apr 08:17post reply

I don't know, the only real times I start to empathize with characters during a game is when there is good music that goes along with it. To that point, I tend to empathize with characters during the final battle and the dramatic music starts playing. If the villian, music, and characters are mix correctly, I just start to feel that all my characters are tired, but this is the final lunge they all have to take, just past this last barrier and their lives can change for the better. Some good final boss battles I can think of are ones that had the dark/ominious music, but then half-way through the battle would pump up to a more "yeah, let's kick bad guy ass!" type music (only two I think of off the top of my head that did this are Seiken Denetsu 3 and Skies of Arcadia). Scenes where a beloved character dies envoke a bit of empathy too, as already pointed out by the Phantasy Star IV and FFVII death scenes. BoF I and II had two good scenes that I can think of off the top of my head (in I, Alan and Cert was it? And in II it had that scene with that guy's mom in the chapel rescuing him from a trap). Actually, one of the scenes that made me sympathize with the character was the last individual story chapter of Live-A-Live. Also, if you played as the character from that chapter in the last actual chapter, watching the credits draws out alot of feeling for that character.






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"Re(1):Times when video games promote empathy" , posted Sun 17 Apr 08:48post reply

I was quite upset when M.Bison himself was taken out by Gouki near the end of SSF2 Turbo. M.Bison's emotions were caved in by that attack, and ultimately made him numb.





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"Re(1):Times when video games promote empathy" , posted Sun 17 Apr 13:15post reply

i felt something towards the entire cast of doax







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"Re(2):Times when video games promote empathy" , posted Sun 17 Apr 20:57post reply

I had moments of empathy, especially in FF6 and Chrono Trigger. I think Chrono Trigger has so many of those moments that allow you to care about the characters. Chrono's sacrifice was really well done.





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"Re(3):Times when video games promote empathy" , posted Mon 18 Apr 06:12:post reply

LOL, some of these games I've never even played, and I know there are hundreds of thousands of people who've never played this one, so maybe I should use spoilers.

In Gitaroo Man,

Spoiler (Highlight to view) -
when Gitaroo Man has to do battle with Pico but refuses and just stands around while she, uh, pelts him with music. Then he gets up and starts playing a rock anthem version of the Heroic Theme, she keeps trying to attack him during the song but her attacks bounce off. Then she gives up and joins in!

End of Spoiler




It sounds cheesy but it still made me cheer for Gitaroo Man like a grade schooler at a Sesame Street convention





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[this message was edited by Gojira on Mon 18 Apr 06:14]

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"Re(5):Times when video games promote empathy" , posted Mon 18 Apr 09:18post reply

quote:
I don't think any videogame death will depress me as much as the one in Phantasy Star 4, way more sad that the FF7 death.



The endless stream of death and suffering, combined with how the protagonist silently soldiers on in Cave Story made me want to kill the Doctor with MY BARE HANDS.





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"Re(6):Times when video games promote empathy" , posted Mon 18 Apr 10:04post reply

I think for me there were definately these kinds of moments in Final Fantasy IV and FF VI. One I remember vividly is in FF IV when Palom and Porom turn themselves to stone to save the rest of the party. Then there is the moment in VI after the world is in ruin and Celes is all alone on the island with Cid. The first time I played that game I didn't know you could save Cid, I thought he always died. Final Fantasy VIII, which was my favorite of the newer ones, had a lot of moments of empathy for me, but none I remember as much as Palom and Porom and the Celes one. I really want to play through FF IV and VI again now.







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"Re(7):Times when video games promote empathy" , posted Mon 18 Apr 10:25post reply

Part of what happens in the normal ending of Disgaea took me off guard. One of those "that's not how it was supposed to go" moments.

It really hit me during the second playthrough...





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"Re(8):Times when video games promote empathy" , posted Mon 18 Apr 10:49:post reply

Silent hill 2 was the one game that triggered something emotional in me towards game characters.

Also, I felt bad when in SMT3

P.S: Am I the only one who thought the death in FF7 not to be tragic?





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[this message was edited by Evenor on Mon 18 Apr 10:49]

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"Re(9):Times when video games promote empathy" , posted Mon 18 Apr 12:29:post reply

Lucia and Hiro's parting in Lunar~Eternal Blue makes me cry to this day, and I bought that game literally nine years ago. Fantastic. The same for Ghaleon's final moments in that game, too.

The ending of Estpolis II/Lufia II is powerful, as well as its midpoint wedding. While the game didn't have that many character-developing scenes, these two points somehow had very strong impact to me.

Chrono Cross had similarly flat characters, but the image of Kid sailing off and searching the world for Serge made me feel powerfully for her (and wish that they had made a good game just focused around them)...especially if you hear the lyrics to the superb "Radical Dreamers~Unstealable Jewel" song.

The FFVII incident didn't move me like seeing Leo and then Cid go in FFVI and watching Celes try to kill herself (her and Lock's story was always one of my favorites). But leaving aside the usual grumbling from people who hate enjoying FFVII/VIII/X, I think that scene of Aerith's sacrifice is still a very empathetic, especially with Cloud's lines. If only they had described more of that pain later on. (Pro-tip: have Yuffie in your party then and she becomes a much more empathetic character...she breaks down crying. Also have her when you beat Houjou for similarly moving lines.)

FFVIII had some very fine scenes for empathy--Squall carrying an unconscious Rinoa on his back across the abandoned railroad alone stickes with me, along with the ending.

FFX is the scene in the woods with "Suteki Da Ne" playing, and also very much the scene on the hill outside Zanarkand...the conflicting feelings in Tidus and the accompanying music (US dialogue may make it sappy, but in Japanese it worked) of watching someone going off to meet certain doom evoked real empathy for the hero and heroine alike.

...one time, I felt symapthy for Rockman X after he wondered if killing was the only way as he looked out on the cliff. Hmm. Losing Zero in the process promoted empathy, at least until Sigma and Zero became unkillable.

edit: hatclub and trogdor, I like how you think.

also, remembered the scene in FFV with Galuf and Klulu as they fight Exdeath in that phantom tree. Like EstpolisII, not much character development, but you feel Klulu's pain and Galuf's feelings very very well even in this early game. And I even feel sad when goofy Gilgamesh disappears in the Cleft of Dimensions! (When he mumbled, "Butz, is that you" in FFVIII as a nod to FFV, I almost cried for old Gilg.)





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[this message was edited by Maou on Mon 18 Apr 12:44]

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"Re(7):Times when video games promote empathy" , posted Mon 18 Apr 16:38post reply

Wait, you could save Cid in FF6 ?
You learn something new everyday.





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"Re(8):Times when video games promote empathy" , posted Tue 19 Apr 01:26post reply

quote:
Wait, you could save Cid in FF6 ?
You learn something new everyday.



Yeah, you have to catch only good fish and feed them to him.







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"Re(9):Times when video games promote empathy" , posted Tue 19 Apr 01:28post reply

quote:
Yeah, you have to catch only good fish and feed them to him.


But is there any reward for not poisonning him and letting him rot and pee on his dead body?





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Maou
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"Re(10):Times when video games promote empathy" , posted Tue 19 Apr 02:00post reply

quote:
But is there any reward for not poisonning him and letting him rot and pee on his dead body?


NOPE! In fact, it's almost worse. You lose the great scene of Celes' attempted suicide, and Cid never says anything besides "I feel better. Thank you, Celes!" Fantastic. He doesn't even move. Die, madou kenkyuusha, die!





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"Re(2):Re(10):Times when video games promote e" , posted Tue 19 Apr 05:07post reply

quote:
But is there any reward for not poisonning him and letting him rot and pee on his dead body?

NOPE! In fact, it's almost worse. You lose the great scene of Celes' attempted suicide, and Cid never says anything besides "I feel better. Thank you, Celes!" Fantastic. He doesn't even move. Die, madou kenkyuusha, die!



You do get something for saving him if you come back later, but I forget what. I do know it wasn't that great, like something that you might have found already.





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"Re(2):Re(10):Times when video games promote e" , posted Tue 19 Apr 05:11post reply

quote:
But is there any reward for not poisonning him and letting him rot and pee on his dead body?

NOPE! In fact, it's almost worse. You lose the great scene of Celes' attempted suicide, and Cid never says anything besides "I feel better. Thank you, Celes!" Fantastic. He doesn't even move. Die, madou kenkyuusha, die!







You've been very bad~ Now off to the gas chamber!

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"Re(2):Re(10):Times when video games promote e" , posted Tue 19 Apr 05:20post reply

Gojira, I'm with you! I really loved that moment, and that song. I loved the acoustic version too, and most of the songs in the game. It's a superb game, but the master mode is insane!

FFVI and Chrono Trigger are my favourite RPGs, there are tons of these moments in them for me.

I can't think of anything else at the moment, I'll post again if I come up with something.





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"Re(3):Re(10):Times when video games promote e" , posted Tue 19 Apr 07:58post reply

The most recent time that I've really felt empathy towards a game character would have to be MGS3: Snake Eater. Here you have Big Boss... the main villian of the Metal Gear franchise... but he's just a soldier. It turns out that he's not a bad guy at all, he's just had some people really fuck him over in life... and somehow after playing through MGS3 I had this feeling that his future actions have some justification to them.





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"Re(4):Re(10):Times when video games promote e" , posted Tue 19 Apr 22:45post reply

I think empathy happens on some level with most games, otherwise companies wouldn't bother filling their rosters with mascot type characters, cute girls or whatever.

One game recently that really pushed my buttons was that psychological experiment disguised as a walking tour of Japan, Way of the Samurai 2. When playing any game that asks you to choose sides or make moral decisions for your character you either play through each decision in order to see how each scenerio plays out or you pick the route that most matches your temperament. For WotS2 I found I preferred siding with the Amahara/locals to such a degree that I had to force myself to play through the other storylines. Yes, the Amahara story was so sappy you could have poured it over pancakes but it was the one I most enjoyed. In fact, the first time I screwed up at the festival and accidently received the bad Amahara ending I couldn't believe how hacked off I was. That's quite an emotional investment for a game where you spend most of your time killing people because you want to add their sword to your collection.

Huh, I tried to write that so that it wouldn't be full of spoilers but it reads as more vague than I wanted it to.