The Beginner’s Guide is a narrative video game without any objectives or objectives. Instead, it tells the story of a person whose psyche is slowly unraveling. Along the way, it touches on issues of anxiety, isolation, and self-doubt.
I keep in mind the very minute where it all fell into place and I no longer saw the individual as a character, but somebody going through the same psychological battles as me. It felt as if the game held up a mirror and basically shifted how I perceived myself. I had been harboring this constant requirement for social validation and the desire to discover significance when in some cases there just isn’t any. I didn’t believe entering into the game that I would leave shaken or with lessons that I still bring with me to this day– but I did.
Even prior to my experience with The Novice’s Guide, I had actually been captivated with games that make every effort to produce tough experiences. I don’t mean challenging in terms of logic puzzles or twitch reflexes, but experiences that question the method I see, think, or feel about the world, the video game, or even myself.
Games challenge us
A few of my preferred games that elicit similar responses are Firewatch, a strolling simulator where you play as a fire lookout, and Papers Please, a video game where you’re a migration officer for an authoritarian federal government choosing who can enter. Each offers vastly differing perspective-challenging experiences through player input and mechanics (the systems of guidelines in the game), permitting experiences that are unique to gaming.
We know that video games can produce thought-provoking or reflective experiences thanks to the work of Human-Computer Interaction(HCI) researchers Tom Cole and Marco Gillies. While gaming academics Julia Bopp, Elisa Mekler, and Klaus Opwis discovered how a video game can cause negative emotions, such as regret or sadness, however in some way still lead to a total positive but emotionally challenging experience.
To get at the heart of what makes these experiences’ viewpoints challenging, from the ordinary to the horizon-shattering, I had players record, report, and unpack their experiences in minute information. My first research study recognized small eureka-type moments that alter how players connect with a game. I identified these examples of “micro-transformative reflection”– micro in the sense that they do not shatter somebody’s world view, however are still transformative given they change how gamers act. An example of this is a player who felt extreme guilt after eliminating an innocent person and avoided killing anybody for the remainder of the game.
Lots of individuals started to get philosophical over subjects of morality, predestination, free will, justice, and fact. For example, one individual mentioned how The Stanley Parable, which breaks the “fourth wall” by making gamers battle with a storyteller, made them challenge just how much control they have more than the choices they make in their own life. This, the player stated, was totally influenced by how the narrator mentioned on their choices in the game.
Learning how they challenge us
I am presently hiring for the largest study I have carried out to date. I published an advert to a Reddit forum devoted to video gaming searching for participants to play a possibly perspective-challenging game over two weeks and keep a journal. I had actually anticipated a middling response, with 5 to 10 prepared participants, however awoke the next early morning to 500+ upvotes (basically likes that improve the visibility of a post), 126 comments, and an enormous increase of new participants. This is further evidence of how commonplace these experiences are and why they deserve additional research study.
The remarks were full of discussion concerning a huge selection of video games that had challenged players in some method. One user left the following remark about their experience with the dark dream game Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice:
I have actually never had a game leave me with the feeling that game did. I literally just sat speechless for minutes when the credits started to roll. It’s difficult to explain the sort of cathartic feeling that washed over me when I started to realise the meaning of the last cutscene [( a video revealed on completion that concludes the video game’s story)] It was as if all stress I’ve felt up to that point simply vanished and I legit began to cry due to the fact that it was simply that fantastic and indescribable.
The video game, which is developed to show the experience of living with psychosis, clearly offered an emotionally challenging experience, provoking hard sensations that fall potentially on the life-altering end of the spectrum.
I’m more than halfway through my study, having collected 11 individuals to speak in detail about their experiences. Throughout all my research study, it is clear how impactful games can be, and I hope that my research study continues to reveal the powerful ways in which video games can challenge people’s thoughts and sensations.