The Emotional Spectrum Developed by Virtual Storytelling


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Talk presented at the 3rd International Conference on Virtual Storytelling.
Strasbourg, France, 2005

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The Emotional Spectrum Developed by Virtual Storytelling

  1. 1. The Emotional Spectrum Developed by Virtual Storytelling Nelson Zagalo, Ana Torres, Vasco Branco Dept. of Communication and Arts, University of Aveiro, Portugal Virtual Storytelling 2005, Strasbourg
  2. 2. intro Psychological study performed within INSCAPE project with the purpose of finding actual emotional problems in state-of-the-art artefacts of Virtual Storytelling. We have followed up with a view of virtual storytelling as a videogame genre, specifically the action-adventure genre that makes strong use of storytelling techniques within virtual environments. Action/adventure videogames introduces the player to events determined by a causality relation that evolve for a closure, aiming at affecting the player emotionally and cognitively.
  3. 3. debate The debate around games not being as emotional as books or movies, is not consensual. Steven Spielberg (2004), Warren Spector (2003), David Freeman (2004) and others believe videogames are missing some kind of emotion factor. On the other side, Lazzaro, N. (2004), study concluded that persons feel the following emotions during game playing: Fear, Surprise, Disgust, Kvell (sort of Pride), Fiero (sort of Fierce), Schadenfreude (sort of Glee) and Relax The Bowen Research (2005) report from last month on Games and Emotions, states that a third of the 535 subjects reported that games were quite an emotional experience.
  4. 4. study goals <ul><li>Test emotion response capacities of Games in comparison with Movies. We followed similar premises as a study made by Gross and Levenson (1995) with movies and then we compared results. </li></ul><ul><li>The systematic introductions of cutscenes in games alerted us to the difficulty of eliciting Sadness interactively. Thus, the aim of this study is also to test the possibility of eliciting Sadness interactively. </li></ul><ul><li>Our most ambitious goal is to contribute to the improvement of Virtual Storytelling by understanding what emotions have been elicited until now and what are the ones necessary to continue researching. </li></ul>
  5. 5. emotional spectrum Circumplex Model of Emotions (Russell, 1980, 2000). Target emotions for this experiment are red highlighted.
  6. 6. study procedure <ul><li>Solicited suggestions of games that would be effective elicitors of basic emotions ( Happiness, Anger, Disgust, Fear, Sadness, Surprise and Relaxation ) </li></ul><ul><li>14 games sequences were selected from the 200 games suggested on the total of analyzed answers (821) </li></ul><ul><li>33 Subjects </li></ul><ul><li>Two platforms: PC and PS2 </li></ul><ul><li>Pre and Post experimental self rating scale </li></ul><ul><li>Post experimental interview </li></ul>
  7. 7. games suggested Notes : Games in bold are the chosen ones. Answers = refers to total number of answers we received for each specific emotion; Games = refers to the number of games proposed for each specific emotion. In front of each game, appears the number of persons that suggested the same game for the same emotion. KH = Kingdom Hearts; BGE = Beyond Good and Evil; FF VIII = Final Fantasy VIII; Max = Max Payne; MOHAA = Medal of Honour Allied Assault; HL2 = Half-Life 2; Unreal2 = Unreal Tournament 2; SH2 = Silent Hill 2; SH4 = Silent Hill 4; RE X = Resident Evil: Code Veronica X; AvP 2 = Alien Versus Predator 2; FFVII = Final Fantasy VII; FFX = Final Fantasy X; MGS = Metal Gear Solid; Zelda = The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time; MGS2 = Metal Gear Solid 2 821 answers with 200 games suggested.
  8. 8. suggestions and cutscenes Sadness Problem -> of all the game sequences suggested none were completely interactive. For our experiment, game excerpts should permit any kind of interaction during the entire sequence or representation manipulation in order to have any noticeable difference in terms of communication language when compared to movies. Final Fantasy VII (1997) Final Fantasy VII (2005)
  9. 9. study procedure To avoid statistics randomization problematic, we add a pre-requisite to participation in the experience, which was high interest to play and enjoy the experience. A total of 33 persons answered with high interest to our demand and participated in video game-playing 90-120 minutes long individual sessions. All of them played the selected 14 different games. 88% Men and 12% Women With ages between 18 and 40 . 40 34 32 30 29 28 27 26 25 24 23 22 21 18 Age Female Male Gender
  10. 10. physical setting Experimenter in PC Platform Experimenter in PS2 Platform Lights turned off and warmer temperature (lab feeling conditions) Games restricted to PC platforms and Playstation 2 (little interface learning) Games played in two 19’’ CRT screens and sound delivered through headphones
  11. 11. questionnaires Too avoid bad labels or bias problems, we used a 32 emotions questionnaire for a target of 7 emotions amusement, anger, agitation, confusion, contempt, contentment, disgust, embarrassment, fear, happiness, interest, pain, relief, sadness, surprise, tension, pride, guilt, calmness, disturbance, comfort, nervousness, confidence, tranquillity, relaxation, affliction, satisfaction, annoyance, restlessness, sympathy, terror in order to evaluate subjective emotional experience
  12. 12. study results <ul><li>Emotions such as Surprise , Anger , Disgust , Fear , and Happiness were successfully elicited. Too a lesser extent some Relax was elicited. </li></ul><ul><li>Sadness was elicited through the non-interactive FF VII and MGS sequences. We found also some Sadness in Max Payne, a game named for Anger not Sadness. This results show similar to the Bowen Research report, which also reports Max Payne as an anger and sadness game elicitor. </li></ul>
  13. 13. the hybrid Max Payne (2001)
  14. 14. study results <ul><li>Videogames are then Emotional as stated before by Lazarro (2004) and can even elicit Sadness. The problems we have, are about the emotional diversity of the “ full interactive representations ”. </li></ul><ul><li>As we’ve seen - Max Payne, FF VII and MGS - were all able to elicit sadness, however all of them were sequences non-interactive or mixed. Thus, we didn’t find any full interactive sequence able to produce Sadness without using cinematics. </li></ul><ul><li>Males had higher emotional scores than female on the opposite of what happen in Gross and Levenson (1995) movie study, that showed Female scoring higher than Male . </li></ul><ul><li>Interest Emotion was lower on the Non Interactive Game sequences </li></ul>
  15. 15. spectrum comparison Circumplex models for our game sequences and Gross and Levenson (1995) movie clips Movie Circumplex Model of the Emotion responses to movies of Gross and Levenson experiment Game Circumplex Model of our experiment
  16. 16. possible paradox Sadness is an emotion that appeals to states of negative physiological deactivation, so no action and a complete powerless feeling in front of the event. This is the opposite of Interactivity needs, that supposes a feel of power to control and act. On the contrary, watching a movie, is more in consonance with the asked states, the passive physiological state induced by film seems to be a very good environment to elicit these emotions. The general cause of Sadness is Loss (Bowlby, 1967). This means the irreversible break of attachement .
  17. 17. Conclusions <ul><li>In our view and according to our data results, the incapacity of producing Sadness interactively raised three big problems to virtual storytelling, till now: </li></ul><ul><li>low demographics , above all from the female population ; </li></ul><ul><li>diminishing of interest because of the non-interactive moments introduction , and so a consequent lower engagement of the overall population. </li></ul><ul><li>And the biggest problem, the absence of more in depth themes (e.g. human condition or self-introspection) </li></ul>
  18. 18. The Emotional Spectrum developed by Virtual Storytelling Nelson Zagalo, Ana Torres, Vasco Branco