Future Cinema

Course Site for Future Cinema 1 (and sometimes Future Cinema 2: Applied Theory) at York University, Canada

Sarah’s questions from reading Katherine Isbister’s “How Games Move Us: Emotion by Design”

Posted on | October 23, 2018 | No Comments

Hey guys! Here are my questions for this week :)

  1. First chapter. A quote from Will Wright, designer of The Sims. Yes, I agree that games have the emotional impact of films. Wait, hold up – how could you have “never [felt] pride, or guilt, watching a movie”? Unlike games, it is rare to have “the chance to influence outcomes through one’s own efforts” in a film, but it still conjures up empathy, and unthreads a web of emotions and memories. Do we not feel a bit of shame, guilt, and fear whilst watching the inhabitable garbage-dump Earth in Wall-E? Or pride when the underdogs or heroes we identify with with taste that sweet victory? Is this a personal sensibility thing or is there a missed connection here?
  2. In discussing the role of flow theory, game designer, Janova Chen, argues that “too little ability can result in anxiety and frustration; too little challenge can result in boredom or apathy.”  I agree that I would want these factors to be evident in the game I play, but I am also suspicious of the quicksand-like nature of flow for gamers who are already immersed in this world. In “The Role of Flow Experience in Cyber-Game Addiction,” Chou and Ting argue that “flow experience – the emotional state embracing perceptional distortion and enjoyment – shows a much stronger impact on addiction” more so than consumers who exhibit “repitition of [their] favorite activities.”We have discussed the role of immersion in VR, but I wonder if flow in video games is much more dangerous.
  3. Cart Life sounds like a hidden gem that no one really wants, kind of like a pair of brown leather shoes that are practical, but not so glamorous. I am even hopeful that Cart Life could build empathy in its players. The game has been well received with shiny accolades, but it never reached its stardom like The Sims.  How do we market atypical games such as this to gain more players, make it sexy, while sustaining its ‘healthy’ attributes?
  4. In discussing the potential danger of growing dependency on wearable augmentation, Isbister writes that we already wear ‘masks’ comprised of “makeup, clothing, and social identity.” Is it a strong argument to use make-up and clothing through which we identify and express ourselves in real life as examples to make her case? Also, what are the “real-life dangers of augmented reality” – even in games? In their article, “The Real-life Dangers of Augmented Reality,” researchers Eric E. Sableman and Roger Lam state that “rigorous studies on [augmented reality’s] effects on vision and mobility have yet to be done.” They state that “augmented reality can cause you to misjudge the speed of oncoming cars, underestimate your reaction time, and unintentionally ignore the hazards of navigating the real world.” Do you think augmented-reality games could diminish our motor skills and pose danger while exploring the real world in a game setting?

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