Saturday, 5 October 2013

Week One and Two

Welcome to my 4th Year Honours blog! This is where I will post updates to my research for my final year at university. Currently I have two ideas for my dissertation, one being how to draw an emotional response from a player and the best method to do so. The other more focused on the question "Can video games make us feel better and live longer?" Both are very interesting topics to research and I feel that I will enjoy writing about either of them.

For my first topic, I want to investigate how different video games in the past have received a large emotional response from their players and also the ones that haven't had the same response and find out why. Why do some games make you feel more than others?
I also want to look at how different media including film, books and art have utilised methods of doing the same. I also want to look at how different elements in games can impact on emotions felt including chosen art style, rules of gameplay and choice of musical score.
In order to test this, I would have to do play-tests on people by having them play a few games and asking how it made them feel. As added measure I could record them playing and test if the reactions matched what they answered. Some have suggested I start to do the tests soon or over the next few weeks, and I am considering it but will most likely start when my topic has more focus.

For my second topic I've researched into game designer Jane McGonigal and her game, SuperBetter, on making people feel better and live longer using games. Is it possible for humans to feel better just by playing a video game? Going from that I have wondered if it is possible to help people not just feel better but to do better, to positively change behaviour in regards to the planet, others and themselves. What reward systems can be implemented in order to help this change in behaviour? There has been a lot of controversy in the past on whether or not video games can cause people to act out violently with some researching suggesting that it can and others saying the opposite. But have there been games created for a specific good? There have been games created for a social good such as World Without Oil, another Jane McGonigal game which drops players into a world where oil is no longer a resource and they have to think about ways in which they can be creative to survive in that world. Many players have reported that behaviour they had in game stuck with them in the real world.

At the moment, I have more interest in the first topic but little to show for it in terms of proper research which I am trying to focus more in on. The second topic is a little bit less refined but has more to show for what I have researched. During the coming week, I hope to research more deeply into the first topic in order to refine my goals. I will try to post every few days during this semester in order to see how I get on.

Thank you for reading.

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