I have been listening to an interesting Game Theory podcast with Nicole Lazzaro from Xeo Design, a company who does research work and consultancy on emotion in gameplay. Here is an excerpt where she waxes lyrical about innovation in gameplay and the kinds of emotions we want to explore in games of the future:
…next generation gameplay is really about how you feel, it’s not what you see … and the Nintendo Wii hits it right on the head…rather than just a specific emotion it’s really a range of emotions. It’s really very similar to when you think about chocolate tasting or wine tasting – there’s kind of the nose and the head and that nice long finish – the emotional experience is threaded through time, it’s sort of braided if you will… and the emotions that are in that braid from Nintendo are completely off of a different map than the three or four emotions that most of the games industry has been chasing for the last ten years. For the past ten years many in the games industry have been focusing on the ‘hard core gamer’ quote, unquote . . . they are really the early adopters and innovators … they are not the mass market.
This interview kind of creeps up on you but when you reflect on the points Nicole Lazzaro makes she puts a sophisticated spin on the future of gameplay – which is all about emotion not graphics. Games like all other interactive media are about focus on the user experience rather than the eye candy.