A few days ago my sister told me a funny story of a friend who celebrate’s Aerith’s birthday every year, and drops off some left-over birthday cake to a buddy’s house afterwards. It seemed rather bizarre to me that someone would be sharing leftover birthday cake from a party for a fictional character. It seems, however, that there was good reason for it.
Her friend – let’s call her Susan – was mildly interested in gaming. Susan’s friend – let’s call him Ahmed – told her about this great game – Final Fantasy VII?(did you know FFVII has an entry at Wikipedia?). He even went into great detail about the main character – Aerith (aka Aeris in the English version). During the course of the game her character is developed more and more, and Susan was becoming more and more engrossed in it. One day, during a?whole series of gameplay,?Ahmed interjects and says, "Make sure you pay attention to this next part – it’s really good." And?Susan watched Aerith’s brutal murder.?
Susan, of course, was crushed and ditched the game, vowing to hate Ahmed forevermore. Ahmed, of course, laughed uproariously. And ever since then, Susan has been celebrating the birthday of a fictional character, partially I imagine, to remind Ahmed about the evil, evil prank.
Over all, a rather entertaining anecdote. I’d forgotten it until today – when I read this post over at Wired: Can a Game Make You Cry? The article nicely sums up a study. Here is an excerpt:
…to Hugh Bowen, a market researcher who recently published Videogames: The Impact of Emotion. He asked 535 gamers to describe how deeply their favorite games trigger various emotions, on a scale of 1 to 5 (with 5 being the most intense).
As you’d expect, those high-stim feelings — competitiveness, fear and a sense of accomplishment — ranked at the top. But halfway down the list, the emotional tenor became much more unpredictable, and much more interesting. A sense of "honor," "loyalty" and "integrity" got a quite high score of 3.5, because war games tend to trigger patriotic feelings of esprit de corps.
Even better, the next-ranked emotions were "awe and wonder," followed by "delight" and "beauty." This makes perfect sense to me, because they’re probably driven by the sheer enormity and lushness of today’s virtual worlds. When I caught my first sight of the skyscraper-size enemies in Shadow of the Colossus, I was utterly dumbstruck; when I took my first ride on a flying Gryphon in World of Warcraft, I dragged my wife over to the screen to show off the magnificent, sprawling forests below. Taken as a whole, the emotional profile of gamers looks less like the coarse bloodlust envisioned by Hillary Clinton, and more like the psychic life of the Medici.
It was an interesting read and I recommend it.
Meanwhile, back on the farm, Graham’s been with us for 3 weeks now and it’s been great having him here. He’s booked several appointments and has been trucking along smoothly – and it’s a huge help to have someone else fielding sales calls. We’ve been pretty successful at shifting the direction of the business – and it should be pretty much complete near the end of the year. For those that don’t know, Lewis Media has traditionally been very service-oriented and now we’re faced with the challenge of shifting it to increase our product layer of revenue so that we can grow more quickly.