I think one of my lifelong goals has been to write or make something ’emotional’. Emotional in the sense that the work can evoke some kind of emotion (besides frustration or apathy, I hope) that stays with a person for a little bit even after my work is done.
My typical medium-of-choice happens to be video games, though, which is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing, because the interactivity present in video games allows people to have direct control over the actions, to be able to relate themselves to the characters that much more easily. A curse, because of that interactivity. It is very difficult to try and create powerful moments without frustrating a player by taking away control or breaking the flow of gameplay.
And let’s not get started on the fact that a poorly designed game often evokes frustration in gamers, no matter what other strengths it might have. A game can have the best love story in the world, and the impact can still be destroyed if your player keeps dying every other second.
Design and writing often go hand in hand when making an experience, especially for games. But that’s something that is difficult to quantify; a lot of games / books / movies have the same or similar plots, but what makes one better than another? What force allows one book to have me crying over a character’s death, and another one laughing? Why is it that there are some characters that I end up loving, and others that I simply don’t care about (or, in extreme situations, secretly wish to be killed off)?
In fiction, perhaps it is easier for me to understand emotion, because oftentimes situations are idealized, and because everything needs to have a cause and effect in order for there to be some kind of satisfaction. Usually, in fiction, events happen for a reason, and have some sort of underlying cause. Real life isn’t as clean as that.
As for me, I’m perhaps one of the most logical-minded and emotionless person I know. That doesn’t stop me from trying to understand and use emotion anyway.
I want to be able to make something that can make someone laugh. Or get that lovely warm and fuzzy feeling that I probably don’t experience enough. Or cry.
But emotions are weird, and sometimes, things work – sometimes, they don’t. Maybe my goal isn’t to make something that other people can evoke feeling from, maybe all I wanted was to make something that I can feel something from.
I’m not quite there yet.