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Considered Gamer - Jen

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For as long as I can remember I've been fascinated by games that can provoke an emotional reaction. I enjoy a game that can tell me a strong, emotive story even if sometimes the game mechanics behind it are weak. Sometimes itís not until finishing a game, when I sit back in my post-achievement state and considered what Iíve just been through, that the emotion of it hits me.

It's obvious to me why I feel attached to characters in films. They might be actors playing a part but they look like me, they play people facing adversity. However in a game the same character is just a series of pixels, completely constructed for the specific purpose of play. But somehow, although they're not real it doesn't stop them conveying emotions or making me feel something for their plight.

At times it's obvious how we are meant to feel as we play a game. In Heavy Rain we are meant to feel for Ethan's plight, we're meant to feel scared and alarmed by Dead Space's desolation, but others are much more subtle. In Call of Duty 2, while it's easy to be absorbed by the violence and potentially mindless experience, I felt for the soldiers depicted in the battles. It's a sometimes uncomfortable experience playing a game based on a real war. Practically everyone alive will have had a relative who fought in the Second World War.

I played Call of Duty 2 alongside my father originally, a man who had been in the army during the 1960s and whose father before him had been in the army during the Second World War.

It was a powerful experience when playing on Veteran mode. One wrong move meant death which added to the realism. When we paused for breath, we didnít know it at the time but each of us was silently thinking of the relatives that had gone before us.

In the end the reality of this made Veteran too fraught, too dangerous and stressful. It didn't stop it being a powerful experience though and one that I didnít expect to have from such an action packed game.

Games frequently get too hard a time in the mainstream press for their mindlessly violent nature, but many of the most popular games have much more depth providing you look for it. On the surface it might seem as if only RPGs or adventure games can provide an emotional experience but look deeper and any game can do it if you open your mind. My time writing my Considered Gamer reviews has made me realise that everything from a PSP Mini arcade game to games aimed at children can still offer more than just the surface suggests.

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