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Unrequited : How Games (and People) Learned to Love


It's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

Conclusion :

The interactivity of videogames makes them more able to draw us into the splendorous ups and downs of love than any other medium, since we must participate in them directly rather than witnessing a depiction. Pardoxically, this is also one of the problems.

With violence, the rules and variables are all known. The only challenge lies in creating new algorithms and sub-routines to calculate where particles fly to in an explosion, which direction gravity will pull a building down when a support is knocked out, or how blood will realistically spray from a wound. We players are the beneficiaries of an ever-improving implementation of physics in games.

Why hasn't love benefitted in the same way? Well, despite all the variables involved in dynamic physics, the number of variables present in human interaction and emotion are exponentially greater. When you take into account the wants, needs, drives, psychological baggage, mood, biochemistry, physical attraction, social pressures, and cultural differences of two different people you have a table of
variables which is far too daunting to model mathematically.

Even if you have the NPC as a constant for half of those variables, there's still far too much to ever compute in accounting for how the player will respond. Just as in life, when it comes to figuring out love, it's tough to know where even to begin.

Also, love, despite being a topic of study since we had a word for it, still has variables which are unknown. A computer system will never be able to accurately depict something which we as humans cannot fully define. This is why our model for love in games hasn't progressed much beyond the Choose Your Own Adventure book structure of gameplay.

Now, that's not to say we shouldn't continue to explore love in games. Humans have an uncanny knack for stumbling into beauty and joy when it is least expected. Games are chock full of potential for exploring both our understanding of and relationship to love. It is one of the great challenges of being human, so it is only fitting that it should also be one of the great challenges of game development. Truly, it is far more difficult to create than it is to destroy.
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About Sean Careyone of us since 1:29 PM on 04.15.2009

This community rules. Thanks to wanderingpixel for the above!

Greetings, Programs!

I am a 34 year old cubicle monkey living in Austin, TX. with my lovely wife of 2 years, Dawn. And yes, we are acutely aware of the cheesiness of the rhyme scheme. And no, it doesn't bother us when people make fun of us for being so saccharine, because we are both huge dorks in our spare time. Being happy in life gives your character +1 million XP towards the "not caring about other people's opinions" skill.

Above : Me from my theatre days. Puppy Licks says it makes me look like Kefka.

Likes : sense of humor, intelligence, creativity, the ability to argue without fighting, not taking one's self too seriously.

Dis-Likes : console crusaders, people who are cruel on the internet because they are too timid to express themselves in real life, people who cannot separate facts from opinions, Fox News, onions.

Twitter : https://www.twitter.com/walk_your_path/

Video Game Writing :

Destructoid Front Page Articles! --

Read them here if you'd like!


I am an editor and writer over at Gamer Limit.
Feel free to pop over and check out what we're up to!

Systems Owned :
XBox 360

(Some Of) My Favorite Games of Times Past :

Pitfall (Atari)
Legend Of Zelda (NES)
Quest For Glory I-III (PC)
Star Control II (PC)
Civilization I-IV (PC)
Vampire : The Masquerade -- Bloodlines (PC)
Psychonauts (Xbox)
Okami (PS2)
Mario Kart 64 (N64)
KOTOR 1&2 (PS2)
Psi-Ops (PS2)

(Some Of) My Favorite Games of the Current Gen :

Fallout 3 (X360)
Portal (X360)
Flower (PS3)
Patapon (PSP)
Persona 4 (PS2, but made during the current gen)

Currently Playing :

Uplink (PC)
Puzzle Quest 2 (XBLA)
Robot Unicorn Attack (iPhone)
Bit.Trip.RUNNER (Real Life)
Crackdown 2 (As soon as it comes out)
Xbox LIVE:walkyourpath
PSN ID:walkyourpath


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