Saturday, June 18, 2011

Gaming: The Root of Chills

It seems every time a gamer admits their passion for games, they are immediately judged.


Well, because there is still a great deal of people in this world that hear video games and picture Pong, Pacman or Mario. Has there been people that have experienced an emotional connection to these games? Of course, but normally it is a case of nostalgia or it brings them memories of simpler times.

Now, not everybody wants a dramatic story in their game and that is fine. But, with games becoming so much more expansive, the opportunity for a deep story is appealing for me. That's what really stuck out from the crowd at E3 for me.So,  I decided to take a deeper look at a few "Best of E3" games and how they presented an emotional experience, as well as a solid game. 

Mass Effect 3

In the Mass Effect 3 demo, the reapers have made it to Earth, and in great number. The goal is to take back Earth, but how?

While, in the E3 exclusive demo, we got to see Commander Shepherd and Commander Anderson fight their way through a few waves of enemies. Four reapers were landing on the surface of a futuristic earth (though this earth doesn't look to have much of a future for itself). While Shepherd and Anderson are running through the rubble, Shepherd comes across a child hiding in the ventilation systems. Shepherd is given the choice to try to get the child to follow him, but the child does not.  Commander Anderson (still voiced by one of the most talented voice actors around, Keith David) and shepherd reach the Normandy just in time to get to safety as human reinforcements arrive.

Seeing how dire the circumstances are, Anderson decides to stay to command the surviving human soldiers, and Shepherd must head out to space to gather a force that could combat the reapers. It is difficult to leave a beloved character in such a terrible situation, but Bioware went one step further. The child you were unable to save finds their way safely to the other survivors and boards a transport vessel. I let out a verbal "oh, good" because at least I knew the kid was safe, and that made leaving the planet just a little easier. Mass Effect is not a simple experience, it is an emotional one, and within seconds of the child's transport taking off, it was shot out of the sky by a nearby reaper. That was separate's a title like mass Effect 3 from the crowd. Not only will the game be a well made, well built experience, but it will also have a unique and captivating story.

See Mass Effect 3 for yourself...

BioShock Infinite

Bioshock and I have a very unique gaming relationship. Bioshock is the first game I ever experienced completely without playing.

On several occasions I have admitted that I am easily startled. Now, I am not against the occasional fright fest but at the time Bioshock came out, I was not in the mood to feel every turn of a corner. So, I invited a buddy of mine to come and play the game on my system. The only thing I asked in return was that he never play the game when I wasn't around to watch. So, he played through the entire game and I still got to watch every minute of it. I was blown away by the visual style of Rapture and equally blownaway by the story that unfolded. Andrew Ryan was a mad genius, and I was glad to hae experienced the entirety of that game.

Now, we have Bioshock Infinite coming and after the E3 demo, I know it's a gain I have to at least "experience". The Demo consists of you walking through the streets, trying to protect Elizabeth from her captures. Through the demo, you were able to see the vibrant colors that are present in this floating city. It is largely different feel to the wet, murky abyss that was Rapture. This area is being overrun by a revoluting group and a few of them are eyeing Elizabeth.

The real monster eyeing Elizabeth seems to be controlled by her capture. In the final moments of the demo, Elizabeth pleads with the creature to take her home and leave you alone. The final moments

Remember people, this was a DEMO. I've spent as much time with these characters as I have with half an episode of a sit-com. It is very uncommon to be able to create that strong of a connection so quickly.

Here's a 10-Minute Bioshock Infinite Gameplay Demo 

Now these videos were not the same ones I saw at E3, but they give you a look at the games I'm talking about. These two aren't the only two games at E3 that successfully did this either, but were two good examples. Since E3 was entirely new to me this year, it was all emotional for me because I was on Cloud 9 the whole week, but these games made me forget where I was and how I was feeling, and sucked me into their worlds to experience very different emotions than the geek-out I was having while walking into the demo room not seconds earlier. That's why I had to share this with you. 

*Kmartgamer got me these meetings and covered my expenses at E3.

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