Can Video Games Be Emotionally Moving?

Posted by David Konow

Video games are fun, that’s why so many of us play them. And in recent years, they’ve have displayed way more depth than they used to, with better writing, music, and story development. But can video games be emotionally moving? 

As we’ve seen with Halo 4 and other recent games, there has indeed been more of an effort to bring more drama and emotion to gaming, and the L.A. Times feels Doki-Doki Universe also begins with an emotional moment, with a robot abandoned on an asteroid.  As writer Todd Martens tell us, the name of this game here is “to make players feel as much as to challenge them.” 
 
“We wanted to touch on some sweeter emotions,” Doki-Doki creator Greg Johnson told the Times. “The kind that make you tear up and smile at the same time.” Other games that have gotten more emo in 2013 include Gone Home, Papers, Please, and The Last of Us, among others. 
 
In its review of The Last of Us, penny-arcade.com wrote that the experience was “a violent, emotional, satisfying adventure of a game…it’s a much slower, deliberate game that takes two for these two characters, and the people they meet along the way, to talk, and joke, and yell at each other, and disagree. The ending is going to get people talking, although I don’t even want to hint at the final outcome. Many of the clichés of this sort of story are neatly avoided, and that’s quite the trick.” 
 
It’s storytelling 101 that the more involved you are in the characters, the better the story. With gaming trying to develop deeper levels beyond the superficial, and better writers getting involved, we think games can indeed involve the audience on an emotional level/ Maybe not as much as an Academy Award winning drama, but certainly much further than people realized the medium could go.