Speaking from a pure mechanical standpoint, what is there that can be done that will tug at the heartstrings… Just having a little bar fill up and a pure numerical value is obviously not enough. Remembering events, booleans and string-vars comes to mind, but what else… Gifts, being useful. A tragic and untimely death. Having something in common with them which makes it easier to sympathize. Common values and an interesting personality.
Just pondering here. What was it that made you like a character?
An open question to all of you. Could it be as little as the descriptive text?
For instance Black Magic had a string var where you filled in what celebrity she/he looked like, I’m curious whether that had any effect, I just filled it in as “A shining fart”. Yes, I’m not always awfully mature about these things. But in either case, Black Magic wasn’t much more than a conquest, I wanted to boink her and then I wanted to boink her and Lucky both, but sadly I was denied that route.
I think the last “video-game” character I cared about was Aeris, despite Ted Woolsley’s awful translation. And it wasn’t really about her personality either, which wasn’t all that special. It was the fact that in a culture where everyone is pretty much immortal (reload save, phoenix downs), losing someone forever was a real shock back then.
But to do so in text form, how can one portray the same emotion. I dunno about you all, but if the text gets too heavy I sometimes just skim to get to the choices, and say you happen to skip a wall of text to get to the action, then you just might have missed a pivotal death scene and you’re wondering why that character is no longer available.
Which is also a reason why I feel that horror games don’t work when text-based. But of course that’s just partly the limitations of the medium and partly my own fault for skimming in the first place, but even so… I don’t skim in a book that I like, but these aren’t books, these are games, I want to control my character, make choices, I don’t to sit and read page after page of text that usually doesn’t even give away any pivotal information. I remember there was one game where you had to pay attention to guess the right color…I think it was the first Heroes Rise game, you had to remember what color finger tips a bad guy had. That was a pretty good trick that really made me think, huh I should probably pay more attention from now on, but I don’t remember that it had much of an impact even if you guessed it wrong until there was only one choice left, and there was only one such instance in the game anyways.
Speaking of walls of text, got carried away…