Sensate Saturday: Emotions and Stories

Michael Blaker
Game Industry News is running the best blog posts from people writing about the game industry. Articles here may originally appear on Michael's blog, Windborne's Story Eatery.
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This week for Sensate Saturday I’m covering a topic I’ve been pondering for a long time. It’s all about Emotions and Stories.

What do I mean Emotions and Stories: Well it’s the personal belief that I hold that any story that can make me feel something intense* is a good story. Longtime readers will know that I don’t use a scoring system unless I’m required to do so like on my Game Reviews for GiN. Even then, I still prefer not to make them, and I often forget that I need to add them. My editor has often had to remind me to include my scores in the review. I don’t generally give something my time unless I view it as a decent story, or I’m trying something out. I’ll be blunt if I feel it’s lacking, and sometimes brutally so, but I don’t think any story is particularly bad even if it has parts I don’t like because they make me feel sorrowful. Mistborn is one of my favorite series of all time, but I can’t stand reading or listening to the books past a certain point because it just makes me too sad knowing the outcome of the story.

Alright so that’s great and all, but so what?: Well it’s why I write the way I do, I won’t take away the feeling that a story can evoke in you as a consumer by spoiling something. It’s also why after reading a good story I always feel very slightly differently afterwards. A character might be incredibly brutal, but does so in order to protect his friends and family, a thought that until I read a story where the main character is just such a character I would’ve felt would be inherently wrong or evil. But after reading that story I was able to understand somethings about why we as Humans sometimes act the way we do. Not every story is able to make such a clear “lesson” for me, but I know I’m influenced heavily by all stories I consume. A story where a character I have known throughout the entire story suddenly and unexpectedly dying might hit me pretty hard emotionally and I might be out of it for a few hours afterwards.

Personally I don’t know if other people get so emotionally invested and feel such intense feelings like I do, but for me it’s a side effect of being such a story fanatic and lover. I’ve always preferred a good story to the point that I used sit around the elders when I was visiting my Father and going to a friend of his, someone I might have met once in passing, for a meal. Even when I was much younger I would sit around the table to listen to stories rather than go play with any kids around my age. For me a story was much more interesting than any sort of playtime I could’ve had with fellow kids. Was it mentally healthy for me to grow up like that?  I don’t know, I’m not a psychologist. I just consume stories and write about my thoughts about those stories.

That’s it for this week’s Sensate Saturday! Thanks for reading my ramble, I promise to get back to a more routine topic next week! Any comments or thoughts are definitely welcome below!

1: My only exception to the rule is disgust in the story as a whole, not any particular part. Twilight is such an exception and for many, many reasons.

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