[SEQ RERUN] Emotional Involvement

post by MinibearRex · 2013-01-24T00:59:49.638Z · score: 1 (2 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 11 comments

Today's post, Emotional Involvement was originally published on 06 January 2009. A summary (taken from the LW wiki):


Since the events in video games have no actual long-term consequences, playing a video game is not likely to be nearly as emotionally involving as much less dramatic events in real life. The supposed Utopia of playing lots of cool video games forever, is life as a series of disconnected episodes with no lasting consequences. Our current emotions are bound to activities that were subgoals of reproduction in the ancestral environment - but we now pursue these activities as independent goals regardless of whether they lead to reproduction.

Discuss the post here (rather than in the comments to the original post).

This post is part of the Rerunning the Sequences series, where we'll be going through Eliezer Yudkowsky's old posts in order so that people who are interested can (re-)read and discuss them. The previous post was Changing Emotions, and you can use the sequence_reruns tag or rss feed to follow the rest of the series.

Sequence reruns are a community-driven effort. You can participate by re-reading the sequence post, discussing it here, posting the next day's sequence reruns post, or summarizing forthcoming articles on the wiki. Go here for more details, or to have meta discussions about the Rerunning the Sequences series.


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by Andreas_Giger · 2013-01-26T10:09:23.666Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Can someone explain this post's focus on video games? It seems to me that games in "real life" (from solitaire to football) have exactly the same problem of lacking actual long-term consequences, and anything that might counterbalance this — playing with other people, training to improve, prizes/stakes — applies to video games just as well. If anything, many video games should be expected to be more emotionally involving than real life games simply because they're designed to be. Also, because of the scale and resemblence to real life, it is much easier to take goals within a video game seriously than goals within a game of Settlers of Catan.

I also have the feeling that there are some key differences in the way people involve themselves emotionally. I have read a huge amount of books when I was younger, and while I found them fascinating and captivating, to this day I cannot understand people who find books or movies more emotionally involving than any mediocre video game where you actually do something. Yet these people do exist.

So why this video game bashing? I don't understand it.

comment by MinibearRex · 2013-01-29T05:57:09.612Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Probably because very few people propose playing solitaire and Settlers of Catan forever as their version of a Utopia. Spending eternity playing games on the holodeck, however, is frequently mentioned.

comment by Baughn · 2013-01-24T11:58:49.055Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

In other threads, you may discuss the article.

In this one, let's name the 1 to 5 games that produced greatest emotional involvement? Somewhat like this..

  • Never7

  • Ever17

  • Fate/Stay Night

  • Remember11

  • Umineko

..these all seem to be visual novels.

comment by Desrtopa · 2013-01-28T15:24:52.011Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I dropped Ever17 not very far in because I

*Didn't relate to the characters

*Didn't find the prose or dialogue very good

*Kept being called upon to make choices which I didn't have any meaningful input on. I couldn't guess how the plot might hinge on the choices, nor did I feel like they gave me real leverage to roleplay, which left me thinking "why are you asking me? Just flip a coin or something."

Would those complaints be addressed if I stuck with it longer? I've played one visual novel I found highly worthwhile by the ending, which I didn't particularly enjoy until well into the story, but I wouldn't be able to appreciate the plot if I continued to have these issues for the entire game.

comment by Baughn · 2013-01-28T17:43:21.089Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The Ever17 translation is hilariously bad, so that might be part of it. The fan-translations of Never7/R11 are much better.

As for the choices...

Your inability to make informed decisions about the choices is, in fact, part of the overall plot. The Infinity series likes to play with the fourth wall, although it never actually breaches it; Ever17, in particular, is . The games of the series like to play with , so every playthrough is actually .

The game won't be the same the second time you play through it, and eventually you'll learn enough to understand why those choices matter. That said, I'd recommend Never7 as a better introduction to the series.

comment by Desrtopa · 2013-01-28T22:32:11.585Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

So there isn't anything I'd be losing by playing the games out of their published order?

comment by Baughn · 2013-01-28T23:21:31.876Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't think so, no.

The games may include timelines as auxilliary material, and reading those would involve massive spoilers, but it's not very hard not to.

That said, Never7 is actually the first game. It goes N7-E17-R11.

comment by gwern · 2013-01-24T16:23:32.560Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Never7/Ever17/Remember11... These names seem fairly confusing.

comment by Baughn · 2013-01-24T16:49:24.514Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

There's always meaning behind them.

Of some sort.

comment by gwern · 2013-01-24T17:15:01.685Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I notice you didn't say a good or deep meaning. Japanese stuff can be like that just as much as American stuff, eh? :)

comment by Baughn · 2013-01-24T20:06:22.771Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

More, if anything. The language really lends itself to puns.

They're still bloody good games, so I won't try to explain anything; it'd involve spoilers. You might want to take a look at Never7 in a spare weekend, though.