Games can be strange and wonderful things. For years, games were thought of as a source of simple relaxation. A way to disconnect from the ‘real’ world and enjoy some recreation. A treasured, but ultimately frivolous, pastime. Truthfully, that’s probably never really been the whole story. But recently, in particular, games have really taken on a more significant role. Nowadays, seeing video games described as ‘art’ is common. For some genres, commenting on their narrative structure is often as essential is as important as talking about the gameplay. Today, probably more than ever, many games have the power to affect us emotionally.
Stories and Nostalgia
Most often this is done through a powerful story. I’ve heard it said that games are often weak delivery systems for stories. And let’s be honest, books and movies have traditionally been better at this aspect. However, as video games have evolved, the way narratives have developed within them has gotten more interesting. Today, video games stories can make you laugh or cry. And when you find one that strikes a nerve, actively being “part of the action” connects you to the characters – in a unique way; Different to how any book or movie probably ever could.
Another way games tug at the heartstrings – is by wielding nostalgia like a piercing sword. Like almost no other medium, games are able to stir up emotions by reminding us of what it felt like to be a kid. The youthful joy of exploring our virtual worlds and meeting digital friends for the first time is constantly being recalled and commemorated as we grow older – as games get sequels, remakes and remasters. And so, it’s no wonder that when we return to these familiar works, we can’t help but be overcome with the warm fuzzies as a knowing smile spreads across our faces.
What’s the last game you played that affected you emotionally?
For me, I look back fondly at both Celeste and Super Mario Odyssey. Both these games really got my feelings involved. Celeste had an unexpectedly touching story that really helped me understand the internal struggle so many go through when dealing with anxiety and depression in a way I never thought a game would. And Odyssey in its wonderful simplicity had me grinning like a less creepy Cheshire Cat the whole way through. The pure video game enjoyment I felt when completing the New Donk City level is probably something I hadn’t felt since playing the original game when I was just a small five or six-year-old kid sitting way to close to our bulging CRT tv. So, now it’s time to share. What’s the last game you played that affected you in this way? Whether it made you think, laugh or cry… let us know in the comments section below.