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情感影响力或可成为游戏新衡量指标

发布时间:2011-12-09 18:19:01 Tags:,,

作者:Nicolas Lamanna

游戏中的内容是有限的,目标和奖励通常是有固定数量的,关卡的数量也是有限的,还包括你能够持有的道具、能够穿上的护甲以及敌人和交通工具的数量。图像的质量取决于目标硬件,音效或许也有着预定的质量和种类。

这听起来感觉很不错,这样看来游戏可以被数量化,可以精确地分类和评论。事实是这样子的吗?

emotion(from effectcheck)

emotion(from effectcheck)

事实情况

当然,答案是否定的,游戏中真正重要的是体验,是它们给玩家留下的情感冲击。这个方面无法衡量,或者换句话说,凭着目前我们对思维和身体运作方式的理解,无法做到对这方面进行准确的描述。你可以说某款游戏有着精美的图像,或者可以玩上很长时间,但是有些人或许并不觉得这是很棒的设计。你可以认为游戏支持3D或者提供5个不同的角色供玩家选择是个很不错的做法,有些人或许会认同你的看法,但也有些人不以为然。

即便游戏间的内容可能相似,但是这些内容的呈现方式千变万化,细微的改变就可能产生不同的效果。改变游戏中某处的颜色设计,可能会惹恼许多玩家。改变游戏某些阶段中音乐的音量,可能会让玩家感动得痛哭流涕。

但是,这对评论员或用户似乎完全没有作用。营销靠的是数字和市场动向预测,如果我的游戏无法在MetaCritic上获得高分,可能就无法大量出售。反之,如果我在营销中有出众的表现,或许可玩性不高的游戏依然能够大卖。

新衡量指标

那么,如果我们都同意图像、音效和游戏再玩价值是极为主观的东西,那么为何我们还要使用这些指标呢?这个问题似乎需要游戏评论员和玩家才能回答。一方面,你需要有比较游戏的方法,毕竟,如果你无法用具体的指标来衡量,就无法说一款游戏比另一款游戏更好或者更漂亮。另一方面,你还需要某种感觉,也就是你需要某个指标来确保假如玩过某款游戏后感觉很喜欢,那么肯定也会喜欢其他相似的游戏。

那么,为什么我们不能增加“情感影响力”指标呢?也就是能够描述游戏对玩家的情感影响的指标,让人感到异常兴奋,帮助我在一天忙碌的工作后放松,让我产生憎恨的感情,或者让我对自己的角色极为关心,在游戏中花上大量的时间只为了获得BOSS戴的那顶有趣的帽子。既然我们可以为游戏贴上各种标签,为什么不能贴上“30%兴奋,20%忧伤,35%愉快”这样的标签呢?

我们通过图像或音效来认识游戏,毕竟这些是人体的输入机制。但是我们喜欢游戏的真正原因在于游戏体验的意义。或许我会在短时间内喜欢某款游戏,但是如果游戏体验毫无意义的话,我在这款游戏中的时间可能也就只有几个小时。所以,我们真正在游戏中寻找的正是“游戏体验”这种难以捉摸的东西,目前这种东西还无法被衡量,但是可以通过言语来表述。

不同的人可以对某款游戏艺术设计的感觉相同,我们可以在各种东西上(游戏邦注:包括艺术、幽默、风景和音乐等)达成一致意见,那么我们为什么不能用相同态度对待游戏的情感影响力呢?或许游戏评论员需要多了解些心理学的知识,或许我们需要开始认同游戏不只是消遣之物。我曾经看到有人仅仅因为游戏中的内容而产生出各种感情。而让人产生丰富感情的游戏各种各样,包括已有数千年历史的游戏到最新的网页游戏。

结论

或许,这种疯狂的衡量游戏的指标会迫使某些游戏公司意识到游戏具有作为情感媒介的潜力,而且它拥有其他历史悠久的旧媒介所缺乏的东西——交互性。

我尝试让行业认同一个观点,即我们不能用数据来衡量所有的东西,我们应当停止对指标、衡量和Metacritic分数的过分关注,不要从表面来判断游戏好坏。或许我们应当将所有的指标融合起来,最后要这样写评论:“我喜欢/不喜欢这款游戏,这只是我个人的观点,你可以亲自去尝试下,然后告诉我你是否喜欢。”

目前还没有任何指标能够告诉你自己会对游戏产生何种感觉,因而下次当你因为其他人的评论而怀疑自己的选择时,要努力克服这种心理障碍,勇敢地去尝试游戏。

游戏邦注:本文发稿于2011年3月15日,所涉时间、事件和数据均以此为准。(本文为游戏邦/gamerboom.com编译,拒绝任何不保留版权的转载,如需转载请联系:游戏邦

Emotional impact, a new game gauge

Nicolas Lamanna

Games are finite state machines, they usually have a finite number of goals and rewards, the number of levels can be quantified, there is a limit to the items you can wield, the armors you can wear, the amount of enemies and ships. The graphics can be aimed at specific hardware, the sound may have a predetermined quality and variety. Everything seems to have an end and to be fair, the possibilities are as good as the platform they sit on.

This sounds really great, surely games can be measured and quantified, they can be categorized and reviewed with surgical precision. Right?

Not so much

Of course the answer is no, games are about the experience, the emotional impact they leave on the player if you will. This cannot be measured, or let me rephrase that, with our current understanding of how the mind and the body works, it’s impossible to accurately describe. You can say a game has pretty graphics, or that it can be played for long hours, but that might not mean anything to a bunch of people. You can say it has 3d support or that has 5 different characters to choose from, then again, it could be as the greatest game to some as well as fall into deaf ears to others.

Even if games are approximations of different contexts (realities or fantasies), the way they are presented can vary greatly and provoke a great deal of reactions with simple changes. Change a color here and you may anger a lot of people, change the music volume at some stage and prepare to ship a box of handkerchiefs with your game retail box.

This really doesn’t help reviewers or the consumer at all. The market needs predictability, it feeds on numbers and predictions, if I don’t get a high score at MetaCritic my game won’t probably do so well, will it? On the other hand, if I play my cards right in terms of marketing, I might not need such a solid product in terms of gameplay after all, do I?

A new game gauge

So, if we all agree that graphics, sounds, replay value are really subjective why do we have all these measurements? The answer seems to lie in the hands of reviewers and players. On one side you need to have a way of comparing the games, after all, how would you say this game is better or prettier than that one if you cannot measure them? And on the other side, you want some assurance, you need to know that if you have played this game and you liked it, you will surely like others that are similar.

Then, indulge me for a moment, why couldn’t we have an “Emotional impact” gauge? Something that tells me that the game is going to be exhilirating, that it’s going to be full of thrills or that it will help me relax after a hard day (i.e.: Flower), that will make me jump out of my chair in disgust or make me care so much about my character that I will spend night and day just to get that funny hat the Dragon Boss is wearing. Something that tells me about the experience, we tend to put labels on everything, why not put a “30% thrills, 20% sadness, 35% euphoria”.

We do get the games through the graphics or the sound (among other stranger reasons), after all, those are part of our input mechanisms. But we stick to them because of how meaningful the experience was. I might like this game for a while, but I won’t stick to it for more than a few hours if the experience wasn’t worth it. So what we are actually looking for is this elusive thing called “game experience”, it cannot be currently measured but it can be explained through word of mouth.

Two people may agree that certain game art is pretty or prettier, we agree collectively to a variety of things (fine arts, humor, landscapes, music, etc) so why couldn’t we agree on the emotional impact a game has? Even with their 3 dimensional aspects to it and all the complexities. Maybe we need the reviewers to know a little more about psychology or maybe we need to start accepting that games are more than a simple pastimes. I have seen people getting furious or joyful, sad or happy, scared and bewildered at just about any game you can think of. From traditional games over thousands of years ago to the latest play-in-the-browser-address-bar around the corner.

Conclusion?

Maybe, this is one crazy way to force certain game corporations that have less wiggle room for innovation, to start realizing the potential of games as an emotional medium, and one that no other centuries old medium has, interactivity.

Or maybe, this crazy talk was all a trap. Maybe what I’m trying to say is that we cannot put labels on everything even if we try, that we should start worrying less about gauges and measurements, about Metacritic scores and stop judging books by their covers. Maybe gauges should be thrown away altogether and the legend at the end of the review should say “I liked it/didn’t like it, this is my opinion, now go play it and tell me what you liked/didn’t like about it”.

At the end of the day, nothing can tell how you feel about a game, so next time you doubt yourself because of someone else’s commentary (we all have done that, of course), try to force push that little demon away and go and play the game. (Source: Game Design Tales)


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