Affect in Playing Games
Affect is generally conceived as a force of intensity that exists somewhere in between an embodied, sensorial experience and the naming of an emotion. In other words, affect is a moment of suspense, a shift, an attunement between entities. (Cho 2015:44)
When playing WOW, I surely feel affected or just to say, from my view, any games which I think is not bad, will affect me because it’s a matter of course. Since playing games is a work of concentration on problem solving, it’s hard not to focus on it and do it without any efforts unless not to win or pass. As long as I paid attention on it, I’ll feel suspense, exciting, and a little bit anxious, therefore I could put my heart into it and enjoy the process of learning till manage it well. After it’s under my thumb, a smooth feeling of combination such as being part of my body, control without thinking flows out, then I will feel extremely pleasure and free.
Sometimes, affect include every aspect emotion and sometimes it refers just to physical disturbance and bodily activity. Affect could also key into more general modes of influence, movement and change. (Wetherell 2012:2) People are affected by the games they are playing from both physical and emotional aspects, and sometimes we could tell form their faces how deeply immersed or selfless they are.
The most vivid example of Affect in playing games is the survival horror video game: Five Nights at Freddy’s.
Indie Game Magazine praised Five Nights at Freddy’s for it’s simple take on the horror genre, noting that it’s artistic direction and gameplay mechanics contributed to a feeling of “brutal tension”. It’s an incredibly terrifying experience to try to save yourself from the single jump scare that ends the game. In conclusion, Five Nights at Freddy’s was considered a ‘fantastic example of how cleverness in design and subtlety can be used to make an experience terrifying. (Joel 2014)
Here is a vedio recording of a group of teens player. The players can’t help being scared or nerves, their affection of being affected have completely expressed throughout camera. The look on their face, their body’s action, their words and shouts, all of these fully reveal the emotion of being affected. Because if they were not affected, they would played the game like doing works without too much emotions of reaction. The flashing screen light, the sudden visual impact, and the sounds of signal create a special environment of this particular game which could help the player to be infected with.
Using the representation in screen, we could expand and extend our mental experience beyond our physical body and transform our capacities into the game challenges. Games have a tendency to wind up the body– to rush its heart, to sharpen its senses, and to speed up its reflexes. Playing bodies are in this sense not only intensely involved in game scenarios but also most concretely propelled into the unfolding of the game, physically as well as symbolically. (Sunden 2012 7:164) For video games, the visual impact is the major aspect and the audio impact is another aspect just like photograph and film. However, the difference of game and film is the communication between computer and human. It is not only one-way affect, for example, the sound creates an environment or alarm warning which will push the player to concentrate on the audio or be immersed by the atmosphere of the picture show; while the computer will give different context as soon as the player take response. But it is not proper to say that the computer or game will be affected because they don’t have emotion, but for the nonhuman-beings, I think this is their only way to react. Games is a ‘game’ that the designer designs to make us use our senses to capture the information form the device, then give the device our order to finish a round-turn communication.
As for RPG online games, immersive storytelling, vivid fantasy landscape, complex leveling systems for your character are some examples of what RPG games contain. (Armor Games 2015) Participants in a role-playing game will generate specific characters and an ongoing plot. (Play risk online reviews 2012) WOW contains more ways of playing, as the function of community which means you could receive the affections from other players and might be influenced by them. For instance, they will make teams, groups, or have relationship with other players. Avatar is a media or a carrier of player’s substantiation in game world, which considered to be non-human agents. The affective goes up with more time the player to be with them because it is a kind of cultivate. The avatar can’t live (be active) unless the player foster, so this leads to a ‘do or die’ situation that force the player to go on with it. A player who are really interested in the game and has willing to play it well is surly affected by, more or less.
Here are some people’s experiences about their relationship in WOW. There might be some possibilities if both of the players are deeply affected as ‘living in the game world’, they will have more chance to build a relationship. To some extent, they are serious.
To be more specific, there is an example of people’s affect in playing WOW. I experienced this period of game play as quite lonely, no matter how many others were logged on at the same time. It is striking how lonely one might feel while playing solo in game interfaces that build on the social and on playing together with others. (Sunden 2012 7:164) This is about a person who fell in love with other player online and have a worse feeling of loneliness since they’ve broken up. The example I choose is slightly different from the normal comments about ‘how do I feel’ while playing WOW, or the opinion of a report about the directly reaction or influence. In this case, it is an example of reflecting people’s affected in a strongly emotional way. Why he felt lonely? Is he really alone or he is influenced by the environment in game that he was playing a solo mode without his friends? Because he put himself into the situation that he is part of the game world and he wants to survive and have the social life. The avatar had already be part of him, or in other words, it is another ‘him’. If he was not affected by the avatar, he won’t feel alone owing to only press some keys to finish some works. Once the player put themselves into it, the affection will come through. I also have the similar feeling when I was tired of doing boring tasks and solving the problems alone. I feel like I was wondering in a non-human area where there is out of life with meaningless works. When I tried to communicate with my avatar, such as make her talk or do some actions, I still don’t feel it right. Just like in my childhood, talking to my dolls wasn’t a long lasting way, I have to come back to the reality and talk with the real people. Some of the RPG games have a settled time line and story, but in WOW, we can choice what we want to do if we don’t do the tasks. Many times will be blank and this will give us a more realistic institution that would recall our needs to use the social settings.
Armor Games (2015) RPG Games [online] available from <http://armorgames.com/category/rpg-games> [27 Oct 2015].
Cho, N. (2015) Digital Affects [lecture] module M94MC, 21 October 2015
Joel, C. (2014) ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s Review – Nightmares and Death at Chuck E Cheeses’. Indie Game Magazine. [online] available from <http://indiegamemag.com/five-nights-at-freddys-review-nightmares-and-death-at-chuck-e-cheeses/> [26 Oct 2015].
Play Risk Online Reviews (2012) Types of role playing online game Play Risk Online Reviews [online] available from <http://www.playriskonlinereviews.com/articles/Types_of_role_playing_online_game> [27 Oct 2015].
Sundén, J. (2012) ‘Desires at Play: On Closeness and Epistemological Uncertainty’. Games and Culture [online] 6(3), 259-269. available from <http://gac.sagepub.com/content/7/2/164> [27 Oct 2015].
Wetherell, M. (2012) ‘Affect and Emotion – A New Social Science Understanding’. Introducing Affect: Lines of Argument 1 (4), 2-3.