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The Computer Games Journal Ltd Registered address: 5 Golf Course Rd, Skelmorlie, North Ayrshire, UK (post code PA17 5BH) journal website: www.computergamesjournal.com journal enquiries: editor@computergamesjournal.com

The Computer Games Journal Volume 1 Edition 2 Martinmas 2012: special edition

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The Computer Games Journal 1(2) Martinmas 2012 (special edition)

Volume 1 Edition 1 Martinmas 2012 (special edition): contents Editorial Technical Creatives: Teaching Computer Games Jim Scullion

2-3

Essays and dissertation-based papers A balanced analysis of the evidence for the effects of violent video games on social behaviour Johnathan Carruthers

4 - 14

Can emotions be used to develop a video game? A case study using MyndBowling Jerome Challet

15 - 37

The „Active Novel‟: an investigation of the creative interface between the graphic novel and the video game Tomas Iverson

38 - 68

Motivation in video games: a literature review Gavin Reid

69 - 80

A sociological exploration of a female character in the Metroid video games series Katherine Roberts

81 - 111

Appendices

112 – 146

A sociological exploration of a female character in the Metroid video games series: Appendices I - XIX Katherine Roberts

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The Computer Games Journal Editor-in-Chief Dr John N Sutherland BSc, MSc, EdD, CEng, CISE, CISP, MBCS

Deputy Editors-in-Chief Dr Tony Maude BSc (Hons), PhD, BD (Hons) Dr Malcolm Sutherland BSc (Hons), PhD

Editorial Board Prof. Alonzo Addison, University of California Aaron Allport, Blitz Games Studios Jennifer Ash, IBM Brian Baglow, Revolver PR Dawn Beasley, Mission Resourcing Ltd Pauline Belford, Edinburgh Telford College Matt Black, Blitz Games Studios Kim Blake, Blitz Games Studios Peter Bloomfield; Software Engineer, Vertual Ltd Prof. Paul Bourke, University of Western Australia Dr Fiona Cameron, University of Western Sydney Phil Carlisle, Namaste Dr Gianna Cassidy, Lecturer, Glasgow Caledonian University Dr Prathap Chandran, Smartlearn Telcomp Pierre Corbeil, retired professor, Quebec Gordon Dow, PowerLunchClub Ltd Barry Elder, Digital Minds Laurence Emms, Pixar David Farrell, Glasgow Caledonian University Dr Antonio Ramires, Universidade do Minho Ross Forshaw, Linx Online Ltd Bill Gallacher, Reid Kerr College Alan Gauld, BT Remi Gillig, Asobo Studio Jullian Gold, Short Fuse Ltd Natalie Griffith, Blitz Games Studios Richard Hackett, Blitz Games Studios Muhammad Nouman Hanif, Radius Interactive Douglas Henry, Bigpoint Michael Heron, Epitaph Online Mark Hobbs, Natural Motion Prof. Charalampos Karagiannidis, University of Thessaly Romana Khan, Caledonian University Chris van der Kuyl, Brightsolid Prof. Ian Marshall, Coventry University

Dr Kenny MacAlpine, University of Abertay Dundee Dr Hannah Marston, Deutsche Sporthochschule, Koln Alex McGivern, Reality Council Stephen McGlinchey, Eurocom Developments Ltd Simon Meek, Tern Digital Andy Miah, Creative Futures Research Council John Nash, Blitz Games Studios Walter Patterson, e3Net Gary Penn, Denki Ltd Eve Penford-Dennis (freelance game developer) Dr Mike Reddy, Newport University Prof. Skip Rizzo, University of Southern California Derek Robertson, Learning and Teaching Scotland Sheila Robinson, Solvebrand Karl Royle, University of Wolverhampton Mario Santana, VSMM Society Lol Scragg, Gamify Consultancy Matt Seeney, Gameology Consultancy Stuart Slater, University of Wolverhampton Martin Williamson Smith, TuDocs Ltd Colin Smyth, Blitz Games Studios Prof. Ian Smythe, Newport University Mazen Sukkar, Headstrong Games David Thomson, founder of Ludometrics Prof. Jim Terkeurst, University of Winsconsin Prof. Harold Thwaites, Multimedia University Cyberjaya Prof. Olga de Troyer, Vrije Universiteit Brussel Chris Viggers, Blitz Games Studios Dr Krzysztof Walczak, Poznan University of Economics Peter Walsh, Vancouver Film School Richard Wilson, TIGA Shaun Wilson, RMIT University Chris Wright, Games Analytics Anne Wuebbenhorst, Digital Goldfish

Aims of The Computer Games Journal The focus of The Computer Games Journal is on new and emerging technologies, market trends and other critical issues facing the computer games industry. The journal draws particular attention to research by undergraduate and postgraduate students, and commentary by industry professionals. The intention is to promote and publish information, which is of direct relevance to both computer games entrepreneurs and to students who are intent on developing a career in the industry.

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Editorial: Technical Creatives - Teaching Computer Games Written by Jim Scullion School of Computing, University of the West of Scotland, Ayr Campus, Ayshire, United Kingdom KA8 0SX

This special edition of The Computer Games Journal contains dissertations and essays by undergraduate computer games students of the University of the West of Scotland (UWS). As one of the academics who has the challenge and privilege of teaching these students, I'm pleased to have been invited to write this editorial. If you'll bear with me I'll provide a very brief bio to give some context to what follows. I had a fairly successful career in corporate computing, starting as a business analyst and reaching board level before succumbing to the siren call of education. My first teaching experience was in the area of multimedia computing before I switched to the emergent field of computer games. I have a confession to make: my first degree was in Humanities. Because I have gained my computing qualifications and experience after that initial degree, I think that my perspective can encompass both sides of the apparent dichotomy I'm about to discuss. As part of my role within the UWS, I am responsible for a module called Computer Games Design. This is, to me at least, an interesting and challenging module for students on our computing programmes. It's challenging in one sense because it requires the students to tap into their own creativity to develop a game concept that optimises the gestalt of the player's experience. They have to design the game environment, characters, artefacts, narrative, music, sound effects, user interface and gameplay. It requires a combination of aesthetic, logical and inter-personal skills. A few struggle to rise to the challenge but the large majority revel in discovering their own latent talents and creativity. Pass rates are very high, and student feedback is overwhelmingly positive. Every year I am sincerely impressed by the hard work and dedication of the students. But‌there has to be a 'but', doesn't there? Some of my colleagues in the School of Computing are dismissive of the module, describing it with an implied sneer as 'non-technical'. For some people that's the ultimate insult. At the same time I'm hearing some computing students describe some of the 'technical' modules they undertake in the most disparaging terms. For some of these modules pass rates are far below university norms, and many students indicate that they have not had an engaging or positive learning experience. I recently had very fruitful discussions with colleagues in the School of Creative and Cultural Industries about their students on the Digital Arts programme taking the Computer Games Design module. It doesn't sound very revolutionary as a concept, but there were some serious concerns raised - mostly concerning whether the content of the module would be 'too technical' for digital arts students. I had to give reassurances about this. During these discussions I was interested in my colleagues' use of the term 'creative'. They clearly feel that it is valid to describe themselves and their students as 'creatives' with a clear implication that 'creatives' have no capacity for tackling 'technical' subjects. And where did the term 'Creative Industries' come from? I'm not aware of any industry sector that doesn't have to be creative in one way or another. In my view both sides of this dichotomy are underestimating the capacity and potential of our students. In fact, I would suggest that it's not a true dichotomy at all, just the lazy application of meaningless labels. All of our students come to us with an enormous potential for absorbing and assimilating technical information. The information may relate to the use of hardware, software, paintbrushes, musical instruments, words, concepts or the human body. It's all technical, just a different kind of technical. And we are all creative. An associated issue is the decline in the numbers of UK students taking computing-related subjects at secondary and tertiary level at a time when there is a high level of unfilled vacancies for professionals with these qualifications, and the only sectors with actual or potential growth at this time of recession are those that require these skills. The view is that the roots of this issue lie in the schools, where computing per se has been gradually replaced by the teaching of basic ICT literacy because of the difficulty in recruiting teachers with the required qualifications. I have personal knowledge of secondary schools where computing is taught by staff whose qualifications are for teaching other unrelated subjects. Not surprisingly, many secondary students are bored and turned off by this experience, so they have no interest in studying computing at tertiary level. This, of course, has created what seemed to be a terminal downward spiral: not enough Computing teachers; remove

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the computing-specific parts of the curriculum; fewer computing students at tertiary level; fewer computing graduates; hence fewer computing teachers. Recently the UK Government announced an initiative to improve this situation, including the payment of a 'golden hello' of £20,000 to properly qualified computing graduates who wish to become teachers, and a complete review of the school curriculum for Computing (BBC News, 2012). The aim is to return the subject to a state where it is seen by students as interesting, relevant and valuable. This in turn should stimulate interest in studying the subject at tertiary level. Unfortunately this initiative will not include Scotland. Although by any measure the situation is just as bad in Scotland, the response from the Scottish Qualifications Authority has so far been one of staggering complacency. It is to be hoped that this will not persist. I would contend that computer games, with its combination of cognate challenges and potential for engaging learners, is the ideal vehicle for such a renaissance of Computing as a subject in schools. I can, however, foresee some problems in the adoption of a scheme of this nature. As part of my research I recently undertook a survey of the game-playing behaviours of all UWS students (Scullion et al, 2011). Among many other things, the findings showed a clear difference between curricular areas in terms of the time spent playing computer games. Students in the School of Computing play games most, closely followed by the School of Engineering. At the bottom of the table are students from the School of Education. These students, of course, are our future school teachers. My concern would be that this apparent lack of interest in playing computer games will be translated into a lack of interest in teaching computer games. I hope that at least some of them have the opportunity to read the contents of this special edition, which stand as testimony to the high quality work of which computer games students are capable.

References BBC News. Computer science teachers offered cash incentive. [Online]. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education20003327 [Accessed: 5 November 2012]. Scullion, J., Stansfield, M. and Connolly, T. (2011). A Survey of Students‘ Improved Mastery of Game Playing Skills Through Informal Online Game-Based Learning. In: Proceedings of the 5th European Conference on Games Based Learning, 20 October 2011, Athens: Academic Publishing Limited, p.535–542.

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A balanced analysis of the evidence for the effects of violent video games on social behaviour Johnathan Carruthers School of Computing, University of the West of Scotland, Paisley, Renfrewshire, United Kingdom PA1 2BE

Article Information Received: April 2012 Accepted: June 2012 Available: online November 2012 Copyright of the author ©2012 • Reproduction rights owned by The Computer Games Journal Ltd ©2012-14

1: Introduction Computer and video games have increased exponentially in popularity over the last forty years and they have created a significant influence upon popular culture. Sales have grown consistently with the electronic entertainment category recently taking in between $7 billion and $7.5 billion, surpassing theatrical box office revenues for the first time. Video gaming has become one of the most popular forms of electronic entertainment - a pastime shared by millions.1 In 2008 video game sales in America alone topped 28 million dollars. Video game culture is widely accepted, but it is still burdened with social stigma. One of the more common criticisms about video games concerns the violent content and media contained in some games. Although the first video games emerged in the late 1970s, violent video games came of age in the 1990s, with ‗killing games‘ including Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter and Wolfenstein 3D. In all three games, the main task is to maim, wound, or kill opponents. The graphics (e.g. blood) and sounds (e.g. screams) of these games were considered to be controversial at the time of their introduction. By the end of the 20th century, more graphically violent games became available to players of all ages. Examples of such games include the Grand Theft Auto series and the Manhunt series. Violent content in games has been a debating point where critics have claimed that violent content in games can alter the psyche of teens, and is the alleged factor behind real-life atrocities such the Breivik massacre in Norway in 2011, and the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007.2,3 Although video games are designed to be entertaining, challenging, and sometimes educational, many titles include violent content. Recent content analyses of video games show that as many as 89% of games contain some violent content, and that about half of the games include serious violent content towards other game characters.3 The popularity of video game violence has inspired extensive research into its possible harmful effects on children and on adolescents. With a large majority of video gamers being children and teens the concern felt by adults for young people‘s safety is understandable. It has also been debated that violent video games are unsafe, for not just children, but for people of all ages. Despite

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this stigma attached to violent video games, some of the most violent titles are among the top-selling games.

2: Adult supervision of violent games In today‘s society, many of the most heavily marketed and consumed games are ones of a violent nature, with a violent video game often being included within the top ten games in terms of sales and ratings. At the end of 2011, six out of the top ten grossing video games on all platforms were violent video games: 4

Title

Grossing in 2011 (all figures in $millions)

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Modern Warfare 2 Grand Theft Auto San Andreas Grand Theft Auto 4 Call of Duty: Black Ops World of Warcraft

700 780 850 1,350 1,500 > 10,000

Table 1: grossing figures for game sales (excluding downloadable content)

With this data it is evident that violent video games are among the most popular type of video games on the market at this point in time. This raises the question of how many violent games were being sold to minors whose age was below that of the recommended minimum age on the certificate. About 10% of children aged 2 to 18 play console and computer video games more than one hour per day. Among 8-13 year-old boys, the average is more than 7.5 hours per week.5 College students also play lots of video games. The Cooperative Institutional Research Program found that in 1998 13.3% of men entering college had played at least 6 hours per week as high school seniors. By 1999, that figure had increased to 14.8%. Furthermore, 2% of the men self-reported playing video games more than 20 hr per week in 1998. In 1999, that figure had increased to 2.5%. Fourth-grade girls (59%) and boys (73%) report that the majority of their favourite games are violent games.6,7 In 2005 the Family Entertainment Protection Act (FEPA) was introduced by Senator Hillary Clinton (see Figure 1), and was co-sponsored by Senators Joe Lieberman, Tim Johnson and Evan Bayh on the 29th November 2005. This bill made it possible to legally enforce the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) for video games in effort to protect young people in the USA from violent, sexually explicit or otherwise inappropriate content. Under the Family Entertainment Protection Act, selling a ‗mature‘ or ‗adult only‘ game to a minor is punishable by a $1,000 fine; or 100 hours of community service for a first offence, and $5,000 or 500 hours of community service for each subsequent offence. The bill was not ratified into US law. Instead, it was referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce Science and Transportation, and the bill expired at the end of the 109th session of Congress without further action.8,9

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Figure 1: Senator Hillary Clinton

A

Even though the act did not become law, it raised a substantial amount of support and raised the awareness of parents‘/guardians‘ moral obligation to check the ratings of the games that their children play. With ratings systems in place such as the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) and the Pan-European Game Information (PEGI), parents or guardians of minors can make a more informed decision about the games that they let their children play. Much of the responsibly to protect minors from inappropriate content in video games lies with the parent/guardian of the child.4 As there is at least a suspicion that violent video gaming could affect an individual‘s behaviour it should be in the best interests of the child for any good parent to take an active interest in the games that they purchase for their child to play, or which their child obtains from elsewhere. Despite the apparent moral obligation for a minor‘s parent or guardian to monitor the games they play, according to one report, 90% of parents of teens in grades 8 to 12 never checked the ratings of video games before allowing their purchase, and only 1% of their parents had ever prevented a purchase based on its rating. Also, 89% of these parents never limited the time spent by their children playing video games.10 Ratings provided by the video-game industry may not match those provided by other adults and game-playing youngsters. Many games involving violence by cartoon-like characters are classified by the industry as appropriate for general audiences, a classification with which adults and youngsters disagree. In a study of 607 8th-grade (496 students) and 9th-grade (111) students the participants were asked how often their parents put limits on how much time they are allowed to play video games, and how often their parents checked the ratings before allowing them to buy or rent video games. The answers showed a hands-off approach by most parents to controlling the choice and amount of game-play by children.11,12 As the law states, young people often cannot be trusted to make responsible decisions on their own, for example: what video content is appropriate; and what content is not appropriate for them to play. It is clearly the parent‘s or guardian‘s responsibility to control what game-play a child consumes and what content they deem appropriate for their child to play. The video games rating systems gives adults some clear, concise, textual and graphical information about what sort of content will be found in the video game, and prescribes an age that is considered appropriate for someone to be mature enough to play that game. Any respectable game shop or franchise would not sell a mature game to a child who is not of age. It could be reasonably argued that introducing legal sanctions against retailing of more mature content

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to children is not the issue. A responsible adult would not let a child under their supervision watch a movie like Saw or The Exorcist or another movie infamous for violent content, which would be considered unsuitable for viewing by a minor.

3: The link between violent media and violent behaviour There is a growing body of research that links the playing of violent video games to violent cognitions, attitudes, and behaviour. Some researchers are convinced that violent media leads to aggressive behaviour in adolescents. Video games are a relatively new type of media and because of this the research conducted on this instance of violent media is small when compared to research on other forms of violent media such as television and literature. With technology advancing quickly, computer games are becoming more realistic: some games even bear similarities to movie-like content with their vivid detail. Even though there is a smaller amount of research on violent video games compared to other forms of violent media, a clear consensus is emerging. Some studies indicate that playing violent video games does indicate a linkage between game-play, and increased aggression. Numerous studies have proposed that exposure to violent video games increases aggressive affect, aggressive cognitions and aggressive behaviour.13-19 Recent meta-analyses of the effects of violent video games on aggressive behaviour and other aggression-related outcome variables have demonstrated average effect sizes (in correlation terms) in the 0.2 - 0.3 range. A meta-analysis found that across 54 independent tests of the relation between video game violence and aggression, involving 4,262 participants, there appears to be consistent results from playing games with violent content.20,21 It is therefore postulated that playing violent games increases aggressive behaviour, increases aggressive cognition, increases aggressive emotion, increases physiological arousal, and decreases pro-social behaviour. These effects are apparently robust: they have been identified in children and adults; in males and females; and, in experimental and in non-experimental studies. (This is not to say that there are no studies, which question or disprove evidence of an effect.) When evaluating research that has been gathered on the effects of playing violent video games, one has to take possible moderators into consideration as well. Some of the existing research may be difficult to interpret because most studies of violent video games do not measure individual differences that may moderate the effects. Indeed there have been some intriguing research findings demonstrating significant individual differences in response to the effects of violent video games. For example, some recent studies have shown that trait hostility may moderate the effects of playing violent video games.13,22,23 Lynch found that the physiological effects of playing violent video games, may be greater for children who already show more aggressive tendencies.22,23 Adolescents who scored in the top 20% for trait hostility showed greater increases in mean arterial pressure, epinephrine, and nor-epinephrine levels in the blood than those in the lower 80%. Additionally, a correlational study found that associations between violent video game play and aggressive behavior and delinquency were stronger for those who were characteristically aggressive. This interaction of violent content with trait hostility is important because it suggests that the harmful effects of playing violent games may be even greater for children who are already at higher risk for aggressive behavior.13,22,23

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When looking over data and research regarding violent video games it is important to keep in mind that some of the studies could be relatively outdated because the video games are continuously evolving in all aspects, including the degrees of depicted and interactive violence. In the late 1970‘s and 1980‘s when popular games consoles included Atari© systems, video games were graphically simplistic, pixellated and blocky. The violence in video games was abstract and rarely included any direct violence involving human avatars. Video games consoles advanced rapidly after the innovation of the Sony Playstation© and its use of 3D graphics. Depicted video game violence then became more realistic than games that came before. With the high realism of later consoles video games like Manhunt (see figure 2) were developed and released to the public (on November 18th, 2003 for the PlayStation 2 and on April 20th, 2004 for Xbox and PC.)

Figure 2: Manhunt 2 ©

B

3.1: The murder of Stefan Pakeerah Manhunt was generally well received by the games press critics and received favorable reviews. There was also controversy due to the extreme and excessively violent content the player is encouraged to engage in throughout the game. Manhunt proved to be so controversial that it was banned in various countries including New Zealand and Germany. In the United Kingdom on the 28 th July 2004 the game was linked to the murder of the 14 year old boy, Stefan Pakeerah, by his 17 year old friend Warren Leblanc. Warren Leblanc lured Stefan Pakeerah to a Leicester park, murdered him with a claw hammer and stole from him. The victim‘s mother, Mrs Giselle Pakeerah, claimed that her son‘s killer, Warren Lablanc, had been obsessed with the game and that in murdering her son Leblanc was re-enacting a scene from the game. Warren Leblanc pleaded guilty in court and was sentenced to life for murder. However, the police denied there was any evidence of any link related to video games violence and instead stated that robbery of illegal drugs was the motivation. Nevertheless, as a result of the trial‘s media exposure, the Manhunt game was removed from sale by various major UK high street retailers including GAME and Dixons. The subsequent publicity relating to the partial ban then led to an increase in demand for the game to be withdrawn from stock by other

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game retailers and internet auction sites. This is one of the difficulties faced by hard-pressed retailers when faced by unproven public concerns.

3.2: The Columbine High School Massacre On Tuesday, April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School America, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, two senior students in Columbine High School, were partners in the fourth deadliest school massacre in United States history. Harris and Klebold set off on a killing spree, taking the lives of twelve students and one teacher, injuring twenty-one other students directly and three other people who were injured while trying to escape. After embarking on their massacre the pair committed suicide immediately. Jerald Block MD is a respected American psychiatrist and has a different opinion on the cause behind the killers‘ actions which conflicts with the opinion of psychopathology and depression given by the FBI. Dr Block argued that the killers‘ motivations and actions could not be fully or adequately explained by this diagnosis. Instead he noted and highlighted that Harris and Klebold were immersed in games such as Doom and Wolfenstein 3D (see figure 3), and that their lives were most gratified and fulfilled when immersed in the games‘ virtual worlds.

Figure 3: Doom © and Wolfenstein 3D ©

C,D

In 1996 warning signs had began to surface when Harris created a private website on America Online (AOL). The site was set up for Harris and Klebold to host Doom game levels that they had created and was mainly intended for use by their friends. Later Harris began to use the site to post blogs, including jokes and small journal entries about his thoughts on school, parents and his friends. By the end of the year the website now contained detailed instructions on how to make explosives and the trouble that Harris and Klebold were causing in the school. It was on this website where the first signs of Harris‘ animosity towards his local society surfaced. The levels that Eric Harris created for Doom were widely distributed and can still be found on the internet as ‗The Harris Levels‘. These levels are said to closely resemble the layout of Columbine High School, but this has not been proven independently of the blogosphere. Furthermore, Harris spent considerable time creating a level called ‗Tier‘, which he was reported to say was his life‘s work. This was apparently uploaded shortly before the massacre to AOL and the Columbine High School computers, but has been subsequently lost. (Such as the vagaries of the evidence provided.)

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Some analysts have argued that the killers were desensitized by the over-exposure to the violent content in these two games, theorising that it led the students to a depersonalization of their all-tooreal victims. It was also reported that once the teenagers started to get into trouble, their computer access was restricted. Dr Bloke also stated that the anger that they projected towards these video games was now redirected to be unleashed in the real world. He also concludes that in addition to this, the restrictions from indulging in these activities gave them more idle time, which would have otherwise gone into their online activities. They used that idle time to express their anger and with this more restrictions were generated, in a terrible cycle of hatred and inactivity. On January 30th, 1998 Harris and Klebold were arrested for breaking into a van and were banned from using their computers for about a month. Shortly after this sanction, the two teens became volubly homicidal and started to plan and document their attack on Columbine High School. 3.4: Anders Behring Breivik On the 22nd July 2011, Anders Behring Breivik – an obsessive player of World of Warcraft (Figure 4) - bombed the Norwegian government buildings in Oslo, killing eight people. Breivik then carried out a mass shooting in an attack on members of the youth wing (AUF) of the Norwegian Labour Party on the island Utøya where he killed another subsequent 69 people, most of whom were teenagers.

Figure 4: World of Warcraft ©

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It was brought to light in court that between 2006 and 2007, Breivik spent an extensive amount of time immersed in playing World of Warcraft (often referred to as WOW). World of Warcraft is debatably the top grossing game of all time (see Table 1): it is also infamous for being labelled as being extremely addictive and time consuming, leading to social problems. In the most extreme cases people have died in their efforts to play the game continually. World of Warcraft is a Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG), based in a fantasy world, where the player is given quests to complete with the reward of gold, items and experience. In the virtual world of World of Warcraft, approx. 10.3 million players compete for the position of ‗Justicar‘ - the title that Breivik had earned during the years he spent playing World of Warcraft fulltime. Despite this, there is no conclusive evidence to date that Breivik's deep immersion in the game World of Warcraft had anything to do with his actions; nor has any evidence so far been brought to

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light that the public, politicians or authorities in Norway deem WoW to be a primary cause of Breivik‘s murders. (This is still a matter under legal scrutiny.)

4: In defence of violent video games 24 Video games are a subject that has been attacked by people such as the US secretary of state Hilary Clinton, the academic Jeanne Funk and the lawyer Jack Thompson. Some researchers have conducted studies into the effects of violent game-play on the functions inside the brain. Research on violent video games tends to indicate that violent video games do effect an increase in aggressive cognitions, aggressive behaviour and an increase in aggression-related thoughts. However, other studies also imply that watching violent movies and playing some sports induce a similar effect. A slight increase in aggression, as reported by sound studies, is not on a par with actively promoting school shootings and mass murder: it is most likely that, academically speaking, this is a case of correlation, not of causation. Most people assume that ―vegging-out‖, or playing a video game for a couple of hours, will yield no benefits. However, some studies indicate that playing video games that are based around a genre including action/violence such as Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault (see figure 5) (a traditional ―shoot ‘em up‖ World War II themed game) for a mere 10 cumulative hours will rapidly increase the spatial acuity of participants. Interestingly the study also found that playing an action video game can virtually eliminate gender difference in spatial attention and simultaneously decrease gender disparity in mental rotation ability (a higher-level process in spatial cognition.) After only 10 hours of training with an action video game, subjects realized substantial gains in both spatial attention and mental rotation, with women benefiting more than men. Control subjects who played a non-action game showed no such improvement.

Figure 5: Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault ©

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Given that superior spatial skills are important in the mathematical and engineering sciences, these findings have potential practical implications for attracting men and women to these fields. There is no similar beneficial relation between violent television and spatial acuity evidenced as of yet.

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5: Conclusions There is evidence which indicates that children who play violent video games show a slight increase in aggressive affect, aggressive cognitions, aggressive behaviour and an increase in aggressiverelated thoughts. Similar effects have also been reported from children watching violent movies and playing certain sports. Such results are not significant enough to prove that an otherwise stable young individual will develop psychopathic or murderous tendencies. A disturbed individual may be inclined to partake in disturbed acts and is more likely to commit atrocities. Supplying such an individual with violent video games may be the equivalent of giving a pyromaniac a box of matches, but it is not the single or even significant cause behind the individual‘s actions. If a young individual is excessively aggressive, then it should be the responsibility of the parents or guardians to regulate the games that the child in their care plays. A lack of care and attention to playtime habits and the games that children play is arguably a cause behind excessive aggression and violence in young people. Millions of people of both genders and all ages have been able to enjoy violent video games for years and they should not ―all be tarred with the same brush‖ as applied to the few disturbed individuals who commit such crimes, which the average video game-playing individual would consider unthinkable.

References 1

Gentile, D.A.; Lynch, P.J.; Ruhlinder, J; Walsh, D.A. The effects of violent video game habits on adolescent hostility – aggressive behaviours and school performance. Journal of Adolescence 27 (2004) pp5-22

2

Dill, K.E.; Gentile, D.A.; Richter, W.A.; Dill, J.C. Portrayal of women and minorities in video games. 109th Annual Conference of the American Psychological Association, San Francisco, CA, August 2001

3

Miller, C.R.; Patti; McCrae, P.A.; Espejo, E. Fair play? Violence, gender and race in video games. Available from: http://eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/search/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0= ED463092&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=ED463092 [accessed 14/06/2012]

4

Pan European Game Information: see http://www.pegi.info/en/index/ [accessed 14/06/2012]

5

Roberts, D.F.; Foehr, U.G.; Rideout, V.J.; and Brodie, M. Kids and media “@” the new millennium. Menlo Park, CA: Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, 1999. Available from: http://www.evergreen.edu/institutionalresearch/cirp.htm [accessed 14/06/2012]

6

Buchman, D.D.; Funk, J.B. Video and computer games in the '90s: children's time commitment and game preference. Child Today 24(1) (1996) pp12-31

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Evergreen Institute: see http://www.evergreen.edu/institutionalresearch/cirp.htm [accessed 14/06/2012]

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Entertainment Software Rating Board: see http://www.esrb.org/index-js.jsp [accessed 14/06/2012]

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Govtrack: see http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/109/s2126 [accessed 14/06/2012]

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Walsh, D. (2000). The impact of interactive violence and children: hearing before the Committee on nd Commerce, Science and Education, United States Senate. One hundred and sixth congress, 2 session (March 21, 2000). Available from: http://www.enr.ed.gov/PDFS/ED483017.pdf [accessed 14/06/2012]

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Douglas, D.A.; Lynch, P.J.; Ruhlinder, J; Walsh, D.A. The effects of violent video game habits on adolescent hostility – aggressive behaviours and school performance. Journal of Adolescence 27 (2004) pp5-22

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Funk, J.F. Rating electronic games: Violence is in the eye of the beholder. Youth and Society 30(3) (1999) pp283-312

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Anderson, C.A.; Dill, K.E. Video games and aggressive thoughts, feelings, and behavior in the laboratory and in life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 78 (2000) pp772–790

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Bartholomew, B.D.; Anderson, C.A. Effective of violent video games on aggressive behaviour: potential sex differences. Available from: http://facstaff.unca.edu/tlbrown/RM1/VideoGamesAggression.pdf [accessed 14/06/2012]

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Calvert, S. L.; Tan, S. L. Impact of virtual reality on young adults‘ physiological arousal and aggressive thoughts: interaction versus observation. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology 15 (1994) pp125-139

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Carnegey, N.L.; Anderson, C.A.. The effects of reward and punishment in violent video games on aggressive affect, cognition and behaviour. Psychological Science 16(11) (2005) pp882-889

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Irwin, A.R.; Gross, A.M. Cognitive tempo, violent video games, and aggressive behaviour in young boys. Journal of Family Violence 10 (1995) 337–350

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Kirsh, S.J.; Olczak, P.V.; Mounts, J.R.W. Violent video games induce an affect processing bias. Media Psychology 7 (2005) pp239-250

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Krahe, B; Moller, I. Playing violent electronic games, hostile attributional style and aggression-related norms in German adolescents. Journal of Adolescence 27 (2004) pp53-69

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Anderson, C.A; Carnagey, N.L.; Flanagan, M.; Benjamin, A.J.; Eubanks, J.; Valentine, J.C. Violent video games: specific effects of violent content on aggressive thoughts and behaviour. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology 36 (2004) pp199–249

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Bushman, B.; Anderson, C.A. Violent video games and hostile expectations: a test of the General Aggression Model. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 28(12) (2002) pp1679-1686

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Lynch, P.J. Hostility, Type A behaviour, and stress hormones at rest and after playing violent video games in teenagers. Psychosomatic Medicine 61 (1999) p113

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Lynch, P.J. Type A behaviour, hostility, and cardiovascular function at rest and after playing video games in teenagers. Psychosomatic Medicine 56 (1994) p152

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Feng, J.; Spence, I.; Pratt, J. Playing an action video game reduces gender differences in spatial cognition. Psychological Science 18(10) (2007) pp850-855

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IMAGES

A: image sourced from wikimedia.com B: image sourced from softpedia.com C: image sourced from anthonydamasco.net D: image sourced from guestcontroller.wordpress.com E: image sourced from gamefaqs.com F: image sourced from gamefaqs.com

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Can emotions be used to develop a video game? A case study using MyndBowling Jerome Challet School of Computing, University of the West of Scotland, Paisley, Renfrewshire, United Kingdom PA1 2BE

Abstract Emotional Computing is a new concept which has yielded valuable results. Many experts have explained its significance and how it can be measured and implemented for a wide range of systems and applications. The combination of the different elements of emotional computing has delivered promising results, helping video game developers to accomplish their goals of immersion. This paper examines the definition of emotional computing, reviews some existing emotional recognitions systems, and reports on the experiences of ten participants who played the MyndBowling game during a 15minute session. The participants were introduced to the game and given instructions prior to commencing the session, after which they completed a questionnaire, and outlined the game‘s strengths and weaknesses, and described how much they had learned in the process. The results from the survey indicated that improvements were needed, and that the players‘ experience might not have been entirely satisfactory. The participants in this study indicated that the instructions could have been more understandable. The majority found it difficult to ―master‖ the game, and did not feel very motivated by the 15-minute session. However, there were some positive rankings and comments on the user interface and ease in using the controls. Article Information Received: June 2012 Accepted: July 2012 Available: online November 2012 Copyright of the author ©2012 • Reproduction rights owned by The Computer Games Journal Ltd ©2012-14

1: Introduction 1.1: Background The video games industry is in a constant state of flux: game designers must therefore learn to adapt, and to adopt new concepts. Companies and independent developers cannot afford to keep on applying outdated development processes with the newest technologies. As a result, mind-based game design has to take into account individual differences in processing information, in order to be able to offer to users a particular type of experience.1,2 Emotional recognition could be one of the most successful pathways. Due to the need of new game concepts, one approach to a gaming personalization system is to systematically facilitate userselected emotions during game-play (using control knob or buttons), which in turn regulate the emotional impact of the game.1,2

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According to R.W. Picard, the emotions concerned should ―adapt to the player‖; rather than the game ―enforcing‖ them upon the player. But this state of emotion will change, given the situation in the game. The player then can be brought into an endless loop of anger, pleasure or fun, depending on the way the game adapts to the player.3 The purpose of Emotional Computing is to develop an understanding of emotionally driven reactions and responses, in order for these processes to support each other in the game. The game has to be able to induce a particular emotional state or mood, and also ‖adapt‖ to it.4 Picard explained that, depending of the level of complexity of the application, some models might be better suited than others. Paul Ekman was one of the first pioneers to define a computer system to recognize and synthesize facial expressions via a coding system. Murray and Arnott developed an approach to determine how voices change with emotions. There are different models to assess emotions. The Ortony-Clore-Collins (OCC) cognitive model groups emotions into different categories defined by their conditions (positive or negative). The Roseman‘s Cognitive Appraisal Model bases its finding upon the events that cause emotions.3,5,6 These systems, and many more, are used to attain the same goal of effective emotion recognition with the most simplistic approach. Regardless of the approach taken to analyze an emotional state, Paul Ekman4 created an efficient list of ―primary emotions‖: Love; Joy; Surprise; Anger; Sadness; and Fear. Several game developers have used this approach as a base to establish a working input (player emotion) to output (given response by the game) relation within their game-play. The popularity of the video game industry has increased significantly during recent years. Today the computer games industry is larger than the cinema and film industries combined. One important factor behind the popularity of video games is the constant improvement of the systems (hardware and software) to provide a form of entertainment accessible to many, even to people less engaged with playing video games. The Nintendo Wii and its Wii Fit are a proof that simplicity in the game-play can open doors to new markets. It is important to note that, with the constant improvement of technology, it is possible to introduce new systems of entertainment. The emotion recognition system provides the opportunity to induce many more people into playing games, whereby it would only require the player to be himself in order to be submerged into a personnel experience. Video games have induced emotions in players for many years. Ever since the first Nintendo console was released onto market, games players have used their imagination to immerse themselves into the game. Improvements of console capacity enabled the rendering of 3D realistic cinematic graphics, along with convincing music and sound effects, to deliver strong storytelling. Emotional Computing is receiving increasing attention, by its presence at video game events, which in turn feature games and applications that focus on both a compelling story (interactive story), and the game-play (i.e. replacing the controller with the brain). One aim of this project was to understand this break-through technology by researching some of the different hardware and software products available, and on how emotions can be defined and analyzed. The reasoning behind this approach was to establish the different characteristic and key elements inherent to an emotional game. A literature review was conducted prior to identifying which Human Computer Interaction (HCI) elements should be used for the survey.

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1.2: Emotions Mechanical systems, which recreate the human senses, have been invented and enhanced since the early Renaissance. The camera and the speaker are replications of the eye and the ear. Nevertheless, the brain and human emotions are harder to reproduce, and they still present a great challenge to games developers. Emotions themselves are not as yet fully understood. If this is the case, then how can emotions be used efficiently for gaming? Many similar questions remain unanswered, for example: can emotions be used in video games? And if so, how? ―Everyone knows what an emotion is, until asked to give a definition‖ (attributed to Beverly Fehr and James Russell). In his lecture, J.H Kim defined three components of emotions: subject experience; expressions (audiovisual: face, gesture, posture, voice, intonation, breathing noise); and, biological arousal (ANS: heart rate, respiration frequency/ intensity, perspiration, temperature, muscle tension, brain wave patterns).7 In her book Affective Computing, Picard explained that emotional states: usually last for less than a minute or two; like sound, they decay naturally over time unless they are restimulated; are cumulative, where several little emotional trigger can induce a single instantaneous mood. is influenced by one‘s personality; arises in response to perceiving or reasoning about some events; and, induce visual expressions that occur mostly involuntarily.3 One thing that is widely agreed upon is that a single signal is not a trusted indicator of emotional response. Instead patterns of signals are needed. Those signals can be measured with different means and technologies referring to emotional recognition. 1.3: Emotional Recognition The capture and evaluation of emotional response states is an academic discipline. Depending on the emotional states we might want to capture, some devices and techniques are better suited than others. In their book Multimodal Emotion Recognition, Sebe et al defined it for Computing as the use of HCI with emotions throughout different methods. This approach depends on: visual / audio (video and audio recognition); neuronal (neuro-signal analysis, electroencephalography); or, biological (electrocardiogram, Blood Volume Pulse, electromyogram, skin conductivity, respiration, peripheral temperature).8 Emotional recognition systems are not only evaluated by their properties but also by their accuracy. The Polygraph (lie detector) (Figure 1) can combine these three readings. However, gathering emotional data can be easier for a computer than a human. But when trying to categorise these emotions, regardless of the method used, consistent patterns are harder to map.

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Emotional computing refers to the relation between the following: Human – Computer; Computer – Human; and Computer – Computer.3

Figure 1: 300px-computerised polygraph

This approach involves the identification of various emotions and moods, and a more scientific indepth evaluation of interactions, which can produce more complex behaviours.9 Depending on the level of complexity, a self-sufficient AI may be capable of recognizing, evaluating and learning emotions with experience. Peter Molineux, the designer of Project Milo, created an application using the new Kinect system on the Xbox 360. As shown in Figure 2, Milo, an AI, is capable of interacting with a human user, can exhibit ―intuitive‖ behaviour such as lying, and can recognize such behaviour from the user using visual and audio recognition. 1.4: Emotional recognition models Different models for recognising and categorizing emotions have been developed and used for many years. One of the many challenges in games development is to be able to incorporate emotions realistically, without omitting the design implication for further development. Each model presented below has its strengths and weaknesses. The classification of basic emotions, which are biologically fixed, are claimed to be universal; whereas complex emotions are more specific to the subject depending on its (i) age; (ii) gender; (iii) cultural background; and (iv) personality.

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Figure 2: Milo and Kate, Project Natal ©

1.5: Paul Ekman‟s Emotion Classification Ekman developed his first classification in 1972, whilst observing members of an isolated culture in New Guinea. This comprised (i) anger; (ii) disgust; (iii) fear; (iv) happiness; (v) sadness and (vi) surprise. However, in his book Handbook of Cognition and Emotion, Ekman extended it to reference eleven basic emotions:10 Amusement Contempt Contentment Embarrassment Excitement Guilt Pride in achievement Relief Satisfaction Sensory pleasure Shame Such a classification allows a clarification of the different possible emotional responses. However, it should also be noted that ―a child has a smaller repertoire of emotions than an adult‖, and so Ekman‘s Emotion Classification may not be the best model to adopt for a computer game.3

1.6: The Ortony-Clore-Collins Cognitive Model (OCC) The OCC model (Figure 3), developed by Peter Lang, has three major properties: it does not merely comprise a list of basic emotions; rather, it groups them according to cognitive eliciting conditions, or ―Valence‖ (positive or negative emotions); it groups emotions according to the state of arousal (calm / exited); and,

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it synthesizes emotions as outcomes of situations which can trigger other emotions.

Figure 3: the OCC model

Such a model does lack some essential parameters: for example, it only addresses cognitive emotion in general, and it doesn‘t take in consideration the evolution of emotion through time. There are different levels of complexity with the Ekman and OLL models, and it has not yet been proven which model is closer to the truth. Both approaches used a person-specific versus universal evaluation, by measuring the data of each individual, and identifying common traits amongst the sampled individuals. Neither model takes mixed emotions into account. According to Mark Springett, useful information about emotional responses relies on a clear understanding of emotional cause and effect. Such reliability also depends greatly on the hardware and software used to recognize emotions and emotional states.4 1.7: Emotion recognition methods As mentioned, there are three ways to recognize emotions: visual / audio; neuronal; and biological: Visual-Audio According to Peter et al, we can consider the following six dimensions of expressivity to recognize visually emotions: amount of activity ( static/ passive, neutral, engaged); amplitude of movements (contracted, normal, quick/fast); duration of movements (slow, normal, fast); smoothness of movement (smooth, normal, jerky);

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power (weak, normal, strong); and, repetition (low, normal, high). 11

Figure 4: Multimodal HCI

11

According to W.B. Cannon, emotions are first felt, then exhibited outwardly, causing certain behaviours. More importantly, emotions are displayed to different degrees. Modern technology is capable of recording such information with precision; using the appropriate model, it is possible to identify into which category falls the recorded emotion. Figure 5 shows the game-play of Eyepet, where the player, depending of his movements and orders, can interact with a virtual pet. The emotions induced to the AI are based on Ekamn‘s six basic emotions.12

Figure 5: Eyepet ©

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Neuronal Neuronal responses can be measured using an electroencephalograph. Such a device is designed to read the electrical voltage generated by the brain cells. For example, the Neurosky device (see References) picks up raw data from the pre-frontal cortex, then combines the different emitted waves to recognize different states of emotions, which are grouped into ―relaxation‖ and ―focus‖ (Figure 6):

Figure 6: MyndPlay © electroencephalograph

Biological Effective emotional biological signals can be measured continuously by monitoring (i) blood Pressure (BVP); (ii) galvanic skin response (GSR); and (iii) respiration. Currently under development at MIT, FEEL is an application using a wristband, which can measure electrodermal activity, which in turn can be correlated with stress, anxiety and arousal (Figure 7). Although still under development, it may prove to be a more practical use for video games than a lie detector.13 1.8: Games and Systems A good comprehension of design elements is essential for an effective Human Computer Interaction (HCI). According to Jacko and Sears, this situation needs to be addressed as early as possible. Their research methodology influenced the execution of this literature review, and the findings established from their review influenced the methodology taken in practical experiments for this project. 14

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Figure 7: FEEL (Frequent EDA Event Logger)

13

Comparative results are also important as they might lead to varying conclusions, based on the following: Reaction time and movement Colors used Text font Screen space User-interface Focused attention Tutorial Sound closure Input-output Icons

1.9: Silent Hill Released in 2009 on the Nintendo Wii, Silent Hill is defined as a survival horror game. The player must undertake psychological trials. During an interview with The Telegraph, the lead designer Sam Barlow explained, ―We wanted something that would integrate the player‘s interaction into the story, but in a way that was both global and personal‖. This approach resulted in the use of short and easy psychological evaluations for the player to complete. Figure 8 shows a questionnaire the player has to fill at the start of the game. The results from each ‗chapter‘ influence the cinematic effects of later stages in the game. This is designed to provide a more ‗personal‘ experience, and such psychological profiling induces the sentiment of fear.

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Figure 8: Silent Hill shattered memories: Psychological questionnaire.

1.10: MyndPlay, MyndBowl and The Assassin MyndPlay offers the player the opportunity to experience gaming, based solely on his/her emotions using an electroencephalograph. By picking up raw data from the pre-frontal cortex (which can be broken down into the individual brain bands of ―alpha‖, ―beta‖, ―gamma‖, ―delta‖ and ―theta‖), the Neurosky headband enables the player‘s emotions to influence the game-play and the cinematic effects. MyndBowl is an application where the user has to focus before each shot, and to bring down as many pins as possible. In Figure 9, the red meter in the bottom left corner shows the concentration meter of the player. If he manages to bring it up to 100% before the elapsed time, a following cinematic will show all pins being toppled by the bowling ball.

Figure 9: Myndplay – MyndBowl © application

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The Assassin is another type of application. More than a game, it is an interactive movie where the viewer (the player) is given the chance to influence the development of the actions, and affect the story of the movie. As shown in Figure 10, the player has to focus carefully enough to see the assassin make a successful hit. In the event of failure, the movie would still continue following another path and thus allow for other possible actions.

Figure 10: Myndplay – The Assassin ©

Myndplay offers, through a simple design, the chance to play a game using nothing but emotions. The advantage of such system is the simplification of the design. During an interview with its developer in London, Tre Azam explained that the measurement icons are provided, but can also be edited, and if the developer chooses – can be removed. The position, the color, and the time (when the icons appear) are the main HCI elements. The use of music and the quality of the storyline can also influence the game-play. For example, compulsive music can generate high level of excitement. 1.11: E-Motiv EPOC According to the information published so far by E-Motiv (see References), the software development kit Affectiv Suite signals emotional states such as excitement, engagement, boredom, and frustration in real time. While these states do not reflect the constant state of mind of the player, they allow for induced emotions of the player to be assessed, by offering a different development tool kit for each kind of application, which the developer intends to create. E-Motiv therefore offers a more userfriendly development platform. Figure 11 shows the headset used to assess emotions. The Expressiv suite uses the signals measured by the neuro-headset to interpret a player‘s facial expressions in real-time. It provides a natural enhancement to game interaction by allowing game characters to come to life. When a player smiles, their avatar can mimic the expression even before they are aware of their own feelings. Artificial intelligence can now respond to players in ways only humans have been able to respond.

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Figure 11: E-Motiv EPOC head set

The Affectiv suite monitors player emotional states in real-time. It provides an extra dimension in game interaction by allowing the game to respond to a player's emotions. Characters can transform in response to the player's feelings. Music, scene lighting and effects can be tailored to heighten the experience for the player in real-time. The Affectiv suite can be used to monitor a player‘s state of mind, and allow developers to adjust the game difficulty to suit each situation. The Cognitiv suite reads and interprets a player's conscious thoughts and intent. It was reported recently that a user can now manipulate virtual objects using only the power of his/her thoughts! The Cognitiv suite allows development of an application for different needs, whereby all design and HCI elements can be adapted to fulfil the required need of the player.

2: Research Design and Methods 2.1: Research design and methods As mentioned earlier, MyndPlay focuses exclusively on emotions to play the game. Even though it can be seen only as an interactive movie, the Myndbowling game requires the player to focus and relax, in order to complete a specific goal. Although there are many other similar games on the market, MyndBowling express emotional gaming in its purest form, as it does not rely on other kind of controls. There are also many constraints on the project. One constraint is time: evaluators do not necessarily have the time to play a game such as ―Silent Hill: Shattered Memories‖. Provision is another important consideration: Myndplay can used on both the PC and Mac, and is easy to install. Evaluations can therefore be carried over distance. For the purpose of clarity, it was decided to focus on one game (instead of a few games), in order to comprehend its key features and evaluate their importance.

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MyndPlay does not really read emotions, but merely captures the player‘s focus and relaxation states at a given moment. However, focus and relaxation are two complex entities, which not only show similarities, but also interact with each other. They both display key aspects of complexity, as explained earlier. Furthermore, depending on the state of mind of the player, the experience can change over time. One of the intentions of this project was to demonstrate that these aspects can be directly influenced by the design of the game. To respond to the question ―can emotions be used to develop video games‖, significant examples must be identified. MyndPlay applications offer numerous advantages inherent to emotional games; arguably, on the analysis of brain signals. Another factor behind the choice was the risk that complex systems can jeopardize the basic concept of emotional analysis. Using an encephalogram (lie detector) as a method to analyze emotions can make it harder to realize where the results come from, and where they are pointing. By basing the study on a restrained environment, the MyndPlay game gives a degree of control that can be identified clearly. The external environment is just as important as internal one, and as explained, external factors can influence emotions. MyndPlay provides a different experience in each scenario, depending on the player‘s the state of mind. In an attempt to decipher how emotions recognition systems can used to play video games, data regarding the user-friendliness of the software was collected. Participants were asked how easily they were able to start and progress throughout the game. The participants in this study were then asked to explain how much they learned during game-play. The research also encompassed the numerous options and features, which the MyndPlay game offers to the user. It is worth noting that this research involved using commercial software, and it is necessary to understand which features are significant to most players (a commercial product is usually designed to suit a restricted range of customers). The primary focus of a video game is to entertain its user, and it is helpful to judge how entertaining the game can be, and to collect feedback related to that. However, it is essential to remember that the experience of playing emotional games is subjective, thus the data collected will be personal and will vary between participants. This study focussed on the presence of key elements mentioned in the previous sections. A questionnaire was designed, which addressed the following issues: Which emotions are relevant to gaming? How compelling is the emotional gaming experience? How user friendly is the system? How easy is it to control the game? How clear are the goals and game-play? This approach was designed to reveal clearly where the game succeeds and where it fails. As the level of skill can vary amongst the players, evaluations of the game will also vary amongst players. During his interview in London in December 2011, Tre Azam, the creator of Myndplay, explained that surgeons and musicians (or anyone having a job requiring a significant amount of concentration) have a tendency to understand better how to win the game. He inferred that only these people are able to win the MyndPlay game, solely on their power of focus and relaxation without the interference of emotions. It is not yet understood how such people can comprehend and win the game on their first attempt.

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2.2: Game Overview MyndBowling is an application, which allows players to use their emotions and state of mind to complete the game. Based on bowling, the headband necessary for play captures the focus and relaxation at a precise time. By using cinematic effects, the course of the game changes over time, depending on whether or not the player is successful. Goal The goal is divided in two parts. First: during the first five rounds, focus on the pins to make sure ball bring down all the pins. Second: relax during the last five rounds to achieve the same goal. Gameplay Once the player has skipped the introduction, he/she simply watches the screen in order to play the game. His/her attention is drawn immediately when the red or blue meter appears on the screen. Simplicity is the essence in this game, whereby the player focuses on the pin. There are three cinematics: (i)

the first one shows a hand holding a bowling bowl making the move (it is at this time the meter – red or blue – appears). The player then understands that he/she has to focus or relax in order to to win (Figure 13);

(ii)

once the first cinematic is over, after five seconds, the meters disappear, and a black screen (one half second long) precedes the second video. The second cinematic shows the bowling ball moving and hitting the pin if the player was successful.

(iii)

The last cinematic is an animation which shows (in an entertaining way) how many pins have been hit.

Progress The progress of the game is divided into two parts. The first half of the game shows only the red meter for the player to focus; the second half requires the player to relax: this is shown by the blue meter (Figure 12):

Figure 12: icons for focus and relaxation in MyndPlay applications

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Focus With the absence of controllers and other manual devices, human computer interaction plays an essential part in the game-play. By using a red meter icon, it becomes more obvious to the player to focus, and not relax. The color red has often been used for negativity in video games. Because of this, the color also induces attention. Therefore, the player understands he/she has to pay attention. Relaxation The blue meter measures the level of relaxation. Blue has always been used in HCI as a peaceful color. Blue is drastically different in appearance to red, and the difference is important enough for the player to understand he/she has play differently with relaxation. New Game The application is launched from the executable (PC) or the .dmg file (MAC). The user then has to load the game he/she wishes to play and, click the Play icon to start playing. Action The action is set up in a very short time period. The first cinematic of the gameplay analyzes the level of focus and attention, in order to decide the course of the following cinematic. Life System Just like a real bowling game, the player can keep playing even if he/she fails. The final score will be displayed on the last screen. User Interface The icons are located at the bottom left of the screen. That choice is important, because their location is apparent to a media player, thus giving the impression that the player not only is playing a game but is also watching an interactive movie. The PLAY icon The Play icon serves two purposes: (i) to start the game or the application; (ii) to resume the game after the application is paused. The SKIP icon Because the game is divided into different cinematics, the player has the possibility to skip any of them, except for the game-play cinematic. The STOP icon The Stop icon can completely stop the game without closing the MyndPlay application. To restart it, the player has to click the Play icon.

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The PAUSE icon The Pause icon allows the player at any time and in any circumstance to pause the game, which can be resumed by clicking the Play icon. The SOUND icon The sound can also be suppressed. (The sound effects are not present apart from when the the movies are played.) If the player turns off the sound, the music, sound effects and dialogues will be omitted. Multiplayer By using two different headsets, two people can play MyndBowling at the same time. The first player plays the second player, and each player is given a few seconds to prepare and focus. End Game The game ends when ten rounds have been played. When that happens, the player has to click the Play icon to play another round. Art Direction The given icons for the relaxation and focus can be changed using the MyndPlay engine, in accordance with HCI requirements.

3.3: Technical Requirements MyndPlay and its applications involve the use of the Neurosky headband set. The latest MyndPlay product uses a biochip, the ―ThinkGear‖, which senses brainwaves, muscle movements and eye movements. It is programmable, enabling a wide range of applications to be developed, although the emotional analysis process is consistent. By collecting neural signals, the ThinkGear chip processes the signal into a usable data stream. This process limitations, and the MyndPlay application, like any other applications, has to stream the data. With the Myndplay game, after the data have been collected, it is analyzed and streamed (Figure 13). The streaming time is displayed with a black screen of up to a few seconds. This chip can distinguish brain signals from ambient electricity noises. By being filtered, these noises do not interfere with the analyzing process. This is accomplished by amplifying the brain wave signals, which are, in return, calculated with an emotional state algorithm coded within the chip memory.

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Figure 13: representation of the Neurosky headset recognition system

2.4: The Survey The evaluation was conducted in two stages: (i) (ii)

evaluation of the application itself along with its design and technical properties; evaluation of the participants‘ responsiveness to the emotional system and recording their reactions.

While measuring the emotions expressed by the participants, the evaluator also recorded his own emotions. The purpose of this was to estimate the accuracy of the game, and to understand the issues that might arise when someone playing does not perform an expected action. The second stage involved participants completing a questionnaire (results in Table 1). Using a Likert scale (but with rankings 1, 2, 4 and 5 and without a ranking of 3), the players assessed each area concerned and were also prompted to explain in a few lines how they reacted to the gaming experience. This empirical method consists of analyzing the relation between the user performance and the proposed system; the findings of evaluators were also combined and assessed (as prescribed by Kessel). The questionnaire examined the flaws and strong points of the game, and thus the results may be used to determine how the game was affected by the use of emotions. 15 The selected group comprised 10 students familiar with video games. The questions answered by the participants addressed the following aspects: Intuitivism: whether or not the player needed to be explained how to use the game; Aspect: to reveal any obvious or inefficient part of the design; Graphics: how the quality of the graphics play; Usability: to evaluate any clever use such as efficiency of the UI with the mouse; Color efficiency: if the appropriate colors are being used;

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Readability: how easy it is to play through using text parameters; Controls: should the given controls of the game be extended or reduced; Sound: efficient and appropriate use of sound effects and music; Quickness: to learn and use the game; and, Learning curve: how much the player learned (this part requires be marked with text)

3: Results and Analysis 3.1: Overview Results of the questionnaire completed by the ten students are summarised in Tables 1 to 5. Table 1 contains the rankings applied to 20 different aspects of the game and the experience. Tables 2 to 5 contain responses from the players on the strengths (Table 2) and weaknesses (Table 3) of the game, on their learning experience (Table 4) and other important issues raised (Table 5). 3.2: Learning how to get started As seen in Table 1, it appeared that some participants initially struggled to understand what they were supposed to do. However, once started, the participants generally understood what was required, and most were proficient with the game controls. None of the participants had played MyndBowling prior to this session. Nevertheless, the technology is designed to be intuitive, and the participants were only given a brief set of instructions at the start. (The different mode of play, focus and relaxation were explained.) The participants then started to play MyndBowling for duration of 15 minutes. It is important to note that during the game a brief message at the start says to the player to use their concentration to bring down the pins. Then, halfway through the game, to relax to bring down the pins. The results show that the explanations prior to and during the game may not have been sufficient, since everyone playing the game failed to win at some stage. On a personal note, the writer of this report also faced the same problem while playing the game for the first time: it took him several tries in order to be successful in the game. As mentioned, it is known that professionals who are accustomed to applying intense concentration in their work (professional musicians and surgeons) can attain a good score on their first attempt. 3.3: How compelling is the game? The first stage of the game - where players have to concentrate – appeared to have de-motivated most of the participants. Consequently, they were less enthusiastic to play the second stage. Despite this, the participants managed to achieve a better score during the relaxation period. This observation beckons the conclusion that the relaxation mode should be the first stage of the game, in order to introduce and entice the player. This is important since the will to win is a primary factor in concentration.

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Table 1: Questionnaire results for the MyndPlay game test (N = 10)

Playersâ€&#x; responses (player ref. no.)

Question

Q1: How easy is it to start the game? Q2: Are the instructions provided clear and concise? Q3: How easy is it to navigate through the game? Q4: How clear is the goal? Q5: How useful is the feedback given when facing a problem? Q6: How easily is help given when accessed? Q7: How friendly is the User Interface? Q8: How compelling does the User Interface feel? Q9: How easy do the controls feel? Q10: How appropriate are the sound effects? Q11: How relevant are the pictures and icons? Q12: How easy does it feel to learn the game-play? Q13: How natural does the gameplay feel? Q14: How relevant is the game-play to its purpose? Q15: How useful is this tutorial? Q16: How motivating is it to learn the game? Q17: How well is the difficulty balanced? Q18: How much do you feel you have learned? Q19: How compelling does the game-play feel? Q20: Does the game achieve its goal?

Average score*

(1)

(2)

(3)

(4)

(5)

(6)

(7)

(8)

(9)

(10)

4 2

4 2

2 2

4 2

2 2

2 2

2 2

2 2

2 2

4 4

2.4 2.2

4

4

2

4

2

4

4

2

4

4

3.2

2 1

2 1

1 2

4 1

2 2

1 1

1 1

4 2

2 4

4 2

2.2 1.7

2

2

4

2

2

2

2

2

4

2

2.3

4

4

5

4

2

4

4

5

4

4

3.3

4

4

5

4

2

2

4

5

2

4

3.3

4 2

4 2

4 2

4 2

2 2

4 2

4 2

4 2

4 4

4 4

3.5 2.4

2

2

4

4

2

4

4

5

4

4

3.4

1

1

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

1.8

4

4

2

4

2

2

2

4

4

4

2.9

2

2

4

4

2

4

4

2

4

4

3.2

4 2

4 2

4 2

2 2

2 2

2 2

2 4

2 2

5 4

4 4

2.9 2.5

4

4

4

4

2

4

4

4

4

4

3.5

2

2

2

2

2

2

4

2

2

4

2.3

4

4

2

2

2

2

2

4

4

2

2.5

2

2

4

2

2

4

4

2

4

4

2.9

* Orange shading: 1-2 range; yellow shading: 2-3 range; green shading: 3-4 range

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Table 2: Major strengths of the game: players‘ comments

Player ref. no.

Comments “This game is easy to use and its general look is pleasant.” “Simple interface.” “It is easy on the eye and not hard to use.” “It’s a good idea of game-play – it works well.” “Good use of screen space. It is quick to get into the game.” “It becomes…addictive when the game gets more difficult.” “It’s nice and simple.” “”The general look of the game gives a good feeling.” “It is fun to play and sometimes addictive.” “It makes you work your brain.”

(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10)

Table 3: Major weaknesses of the game: players‘ comments

Player ref. no.

Comments “It is hard to understand the goal of the game at first.” “The black screen in-between cinematic can be very annoying.” “It lacks explanations…” “Still needs improvement of features like a more explicit game-play” “It is not clear enough from the start what to do and how it…works” “Could use a break sometimes – it’s hard to concentrate.” “You don’t really get what you have to do from the start, it somehow comes on its own with time.” “You don’t know when the emotions analysed is used.” “You are not sure it works properly sometimes.” “You don’t have enough time to rest.”

(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10)

Table 4: ―Q: What do you feel you have learned?‖ - players‘ comments

Player ref. no. (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10)

Comments “The game-play was clearly brought forward and taught me how to focus to play bowling.” “Concentrating like a Jedi(!)” “Focus and relaxation.” “Focus, but I feel like it could have been brought through other ways than just looking at the screen.” “Focus and relaxation.” “Focus and relaxation.” “I think I understand a bit more the kind of approach you have to take with this new kind of game.” “Focus and relax.” “It helps you to think and react quickly.” “Focus and relax.”

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Table 5: Other players‘ comments

Player ref. no. (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10)

Comments “It would be cool to play an updated game with more game-play elements.” “It would be cool to play a Star Wars [themed] game.” “It takes time to understand the game-play and master it, but once you do it can be addictive.” (none) “It should explain quickly from the start how exactly things work.” “I played the game with different scenarios, it was fun.” “It really starts to get fun when you understand how to play and win.” “It’s hard to get in at first, but once you get the idea it’s more enjoyable.” “It can sometimes feel too quick.” “It could use a slower pace sometimes.”

Without proper motivation, the players may be less likely to be successful. This issue is closely related to the game-play itself. Most players - even when focusing on the pins – could not bring them down. A real problem of what is expected from the game may have emerged, and may even be comparable to an issue, which arose more than twenty years ago on the first consoles, whereby it was perceived that games did not react properly to the players‘ input. 3.4: How enjoyable is the game? Despite the fact that the participants failed to achieve a decent score on their first attempt, some of them still appreciated the game as an experience. Many of their ratings shown in Table 1 might tempt an analyst to conclude that they generally did not enjoy playing MyndBowling. However, it is important to note that the results in Tables 1 to 5 are based on a technology still unfamiliar to most of the participants, and that each player rated each question of the questionnaire independently form one other. In general, MyndBowling generated a feeling of curiosity among some participants, and – judging by the comments in Tables 2 to 5 – the participants probably believe the game has potential, although there is room for improvement. Determining a player‘s sense of enjoyment is a challenge in itself. Joy and pleasure are abstract notions. In this evaluation, pleasure was recorded, not as a quantitative measurement, but through personal feedback. Since emotions reflect the way in which a person perceives his/her observations and sensations, each evaluator answer that question based on a version of joy. Some of the participants believed they did not feel a sense of achievement when playing MyndBowling during the session. This may have stemmed from their inability to win the game on their first or first few attempts. Upon reflection, perhaps a mere 15 minutes of game-play was too short for testing a emotional computing product, since many such products are designed with longevity in mind (i.e. there is the assumption that the player may become engaged with the game and play voluntarily for a much longer period of time). Perhaps a different approach is to treat the MyndPlay suite as applications for mental training exercises, rather than for gaming. The MyndPlay store contains a range of applications, which relate to focus and concentration. It may be speculated that if MyndBowling was introduced to the 10

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participants as a simulation engine rather than as a game, the questionnaire may have invited some more positive rankings. 3.5: “How much more is there to learn?” Each player felt at the end of the experience that they may have learned something (but only because the question was asked to them). Even though they couldn‘t score properly, they understood that they might not always have focussed to the required level. This again invites the suggestion that MyndBowling might not stand as a game on its own. It may be a ―serious game‖ instead, where its purpose would be to educate whilst introducing an element of fun at the same time. The pace of learning will vary among game players. The question is not how long does it take to learn the game, but whether or not the user can learn the game-play and the goal. It was observed during the session that the players took a ―serious‖ approach to playing MyndBowling. Despite being told MyndBowling was a game, by acting seriously, the participants might have been able to concentrate and relax to a better degree - which prompts a question regarding Emotional Computing games: where is the sense of Intuition? 3.6: How intuitive is the game? As mentioned above, each player took the game seriously. However, the principle of Emotional Computing is that the media adapts the experience to match the emotions of the player, and thus the game-play should be approachable for easy interaction. A video game does not rest solely on the use of emotions, but also on the skills developed over time. The purpose behind MyndPlay is to help the player learn and understand, whereas regular video games use emotions as a secondary tool for immersion such as storytelling. It is too difficult to quantify how intuitive a game appears to a user, although intuition is a critical game design issue nevertheless.

4: Conclusions and further work The MyndBowling game is an example of how - to a certain extent - emotions in video game can prompt the user into more interaction. However, the results with the ten participants in this study indicate that the instructions could have been more understandable. Many of the ten participants found it difficult to ―master‖ the game, and did not feel very motivated by the 15-minute session. There were some positive rankings and comments on the user interface and ease in using the controls. The limited set of results in this study might only apply to avid video game players, and different views and results may have been obtained from participants who do not usually play video games.

In order to further highlight how emotions can used to develop video games, more research is recommended. Emotional Computing is a technology undergoing constant development, and the findings in this study will soon be obsolete. Furthermore, the session was only 15 minutes, only one product was tested, and only 10 people participated. Few conclusions can be drawn from this small data pool alone, which warrants more extensive research, perhaps using a more intuitive type of Emotional Computing game.

Acknowledgements

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Special thanks to Tre Azam, John Sutherland and Bobby Geary for devoting their time to discussing this research; to John Sykes for providing access into the research lab of the University of Glasgow; to Valve for answering my emails and giving guidance on their upcoming technology; and to all of those who participated in this project by testing and evaluating the game. References 1

2

3 4

5 6 7

8 9

10 11

12 13 14 15

Saari, T.; Ravaja, N.; Laarni, J.; Kallinen, K.; Turpeinen, M. Presence 2004: towards emotionally adapted games (pp. 182 - 189). Proceedings of the DiGRA 2005 Conference: changing views – worlds of play. Copyright ©2005 Helsinki School of Economics, Helsinki Institute for Information Technology, Finland Saari, T.; Ravaja, N.; Laarni, J.; Turpeinen, M. Towards Emotionally Adapted Games based on User Controlled Emotion Knobs. Proceedings of DiGRA 2005 Conference: changing views – worlds in play. Copyright ©2005 Helsinki School of Economics and Helsinki Institute for Information Technology. Picard, R.W. Emotional Computing. Chapter 2: Affective Computers; pp50-52. Copyright ©1997 MIT Press, USA Springett, Mark (2008). Issues in Evaluating Emotional Responses Within Interaction. Emotion in HCI – Designing for People: proceedings of the 2008 international workshop, Frankfurt Institute, Fraunhofer Verlag. Available from: http://www.emotion-in-hci.net/proceedings/emotion_workshop_procs_2008.pdf [accessed 03/09/2012] Ekman, P. Are there basic emotions? Psychological Review 99(3) (1992) pp550-553 Murray, I.R.; Arnott, J.L. Toward the simulation of emotion in synthetic speech: a review of the literature on human vocal emotion. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 93(2) (1993) pp1097 – 1108 Kim, J (2004). Emotion recognition from physiological measurement (“Bio-signal”). Lecture presented at the university of Augsburg. Germany. Available from: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/52040147//EmotionRecognition-from-Physiological-Measurement-(Biosignal) [accessed 03/09/2012] Sebe, N.; Cohen, I.; Huang, T.S. Multimodal emotion recognition and expressivity analysis. Multimedia and Expo (2005) pp779 – 783 Slater, S.; Moreton, R.; Buckley, K. Emotional Agents as Software Interfaces; pp38-43. Emotion in HCI – Designing for People: proceedings of the 2008 international workshop, Frankfurt Institute, Fraunhofer Verlag. Ekamn, P. Handbook of cognition and emotion. Chapter 3: Basic emotions; pp301-320. Copyright ©1999 John Wiley & Sons Ltd Peter, C; Crane, E; Fabri, M; Aguis, H; Axelrod, L. Emotion in HCI – designing for people: proceedings of the 2008 international workshop, Frankfurt Institute, Fraunhofer Verlag Available from: http://www.emotion-in-hci.net/proceedings/emotion_workshop_procs_2008.pdf [accessed 03/09/2012] Cannon, W.B. The James-Lange theory of emotion: a critical examination and an alternative theory. American Journal of Psychology 39 (1927) 106–124 Ayzenberg, Y.; Picard, R.W., 2012. FEEL. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Available from: http://affect.media.mit.edu/projects.php?id=3312 [accessed 10/10/2012] Jacko, J.A. and Sears, A. The Human-Computer interaction handbook: fundamentals, evolving technologies and emerging applications. Copyright ©2003 CRC Press, USA Kessell, A. Evaluation in HCI. Lecture presented as part of an HCI module, Stanford University (13 October 2005). Available from: http://hci.stanford.edu/cs376/2005/10-13/Kessell.ppt [accessed 03/09/2012]

Websites http://emotiv.com/ http://www.neurosky.com/ http://www.myndplay.com/ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/video-games/7166893/Silent-Hill-Shattered-Memories-developerinterview.html

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The „Active Novel‟: an investigation of the creative interface between the graphic novel and the video game Tomas Iverson School of Computing, University of the West of Scotland, Paisley, Renfrewshire, United Kingdom PA1 2BE

Article Information Received: April 2012 Accepted: July 2012 Available: online November 2012 Keywords: graphic novel, video game, comic, Apple iPad, narrative, digital artwork

Abstract Graphic novels and video games are two visual media that share striking similarities - including visual structure of the narrative, and the distaste that society has expressed about them with in the past. With the advancements in technology over the years such as the tablet PC and the smart phone, graphic novels and games have a new audience to appeal to, and are making waves in the tablet/smart phone industry with thousands of applets already on the market. Graphic novels have been emerging from their comic book niche and reaching mainstream audience tablets and smart phones. Games are a fresh new platform to target, and in light of the rise of the e-book and audio book, this paper will discuss how the option of combining the two mediums into an interactive novel, could be a viable option for the future. This was demonstrated through a case study conducted by the author and a team of game developers. The aim was to design a prototype ‗active novel‘, and evaluate whether an interactive novel would be as worthwhile in reality as the idea may be in theory, as well as investigating whether or not two media with such similarities can be easily combined into a medium that shares the best of both, and in turn could appeal to both graphic novel and video game consumers.

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1: Introduction 1.1: The History of Graphic Novels Graphic novels are part of the comic hierarchy, and before they established their own identity, they were resigned to being comics with a darker, more adult orientated content. The idea of visual narrative is not a new one. ―From the cave paintings of the Cro-Magnon to the hieroglyphics of Ancient Egypt, graphic storytelling has been in use as a popular means for communicating thoughts and ideas‖ (S. Tychinski).1 Comics as a medium were first produced in 1827 by Swiss artist Rudolph Töpffer. Töpffer created what would be considered now as comics, for many years including The Adventures of Obadiah Oldbuck, which became one of the first comics to be published in the United States. Töpffer is considered the father of comics, and many others tried their hand at creating published works, such as Wilhelm Blush, a German producer and artist who created the newspaper comic Max und Moritz. It wasn't until 1895 that the first 'comic strip' was created, titled ―The Yellow

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Kid‖, published in New York World by Richard Outcault. This strip was the cause of a major competition between two New York papers. The battle over "The Yellow Kid" strip inspired the term "yellow journalism," in which newspapers aggressively compete for readers with sensational and scandalous stories, exaggerations and other unprofessional means.1-3 During the 20th century, comic strips developed from being just newspaper based, to full length books. In the 1950's comics began advancing towards longer form stories, but it wasn't until the 1960's that longer form graphic novels started appearing through the underground 'comix movement'. D. Fingeroth4 explains that the underground comix movement was a reflection of the culture at the time, challenging taboos, rejection of the establishment and rebellious experimentation. The movement began to push the boundaries of the comic book, by introducing high levels of violence and sexual content. It was due to this movement, that graphic novelists began to create more mainstream work, maintaining a wilder content than average comics. This more mature advancement from violence and sex, spurred Will Eisner, a pioneer of comic books in the 1930's, to explore the graphic novel as it's own medium, culminating in his own work, A Contract with God in 1978. Eisner also coined the phrase ―Graphic novel‖, which describes the medium of a long form of ―sequential art‖.5,6 The next stage for graphic novels came around in 1986 when Art Spiegelman, one of the figureheads from the underground comix movement, created Maus and for this in 1992 he received a Pulitzer prize, consequently setting graphic novels as a serious art form, not to be associated so strongly with comic books, ―The goal of the graphic novelist is to take the form of the comic book, which has become an embarrassment, and raise it to a more ambitious and meaningful level.‖ 7 Modern graphic novels have advanced their art form even further, and began infiltrating the mainstream market, with the likes V for Vendetta, Sin City, 300, and The Watchmen, all receiving an adaptation to the medium of film, raising the awareness of their graphic novel counterparts, and bringing in a much larger audience than the niche that graphic novels have made for themselves over the years. With this continued growth, graphic novels have went from becoming closely associated with the comic medium, to establishing their own identity, being shelved in libraries alongside works of fiction and history, and being looked towards as a possible educational tool. ―Graphic novels offer value, variety, and a new medium for literacy that acknowledges the impact of visuals. These novels appeal to young people, are useful across the curriculum, and offer diverse alternatives to traditional texts as well as other mass media.‖ 8 The next step for graphic novels was to move to the 'e' medium, an already popular source of entertainment and visual narrative, with hundreds, even thousands of graphic novels appearing online every day. Fenty et al stated that, ―Webcomics, in our limited sense, are very much like Underground Comix because they are made and distributed by a small group and have no massive financial backing.‖ 9 Graphic novels are already appearing on the iPad, with the use of Marvel's own graphic novel reader applet, and in the apple iBookstore. Using these forms for the medium will allow graphic novels and comics to ―transcend formal constraints of the printed book‖.4,9 1.2: Contestation of graphic novels and video games That said, sequential art has had a rough time within the world of literacy. As T. Wolf stated, ―for the last hundred years, the subject of reading has been connected quite directly to the concept of literacy.‖ 10 Graphic novels and comics have been scrutinised and slandered, due to the fact that they are not considered to be proper literature, as W. Eisner explained: ―Comics still struggle for

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acceptance, and the art form, after more than a century of popular use, is still regarded as a problematic literary vehicle.‖ 5,10 Comics and graphic novels have however, also been targeted due to other controversial reasons. One of the biggest was in the 1950's in the United States, when the self-regulatory comics code, came into effect. K.A. Nyberg stated that ―the code was originally implemented in response to a public outcry over comic books in post-war America when comic book content was linked to a rise in juvenile delinquency‖. 11 Not only are comics being associated with behavioural changes in children, but they were also criticised for being addictive, much in the same way that video games have been criticised over the years since their inception. Games have undergone scrutiny from the media over claims of addiction, as stated by Deng and Zhiting: ―excessive game play of adolescents is one of the serious problems faced by the information society.‖ 5 However a counter argument by King et al stated that, ―the psychological concept of ―video game addiction‖ has attracted significant controversy. There is considerable debate among academics with regard to whether the concept of addiction may be applied to the activity of playing video games.‖ 12,13 Games have also been attacked due to excessive violence and the psychological effects on children and young adults due to it, with the attack on Columbine high school attributed to violent video games. Today, games are being criticised due to the fact they are not merely violent, but are ―ultra violent‖. Examples include dismemberment in Soldier of Fortune, and highly realistic depictions of murder in the highly controversial Manhunt (which was also banned in various countries around the world, for it's level of violence). 14,15 Video games have also been targeted for degrading women. Dietz wrote, ―the video games that are being played by today‘s youth present an overwhelmingly traditional and negative portrayal of women and that the development of gender identities and expectations among youngsters may be affected by these portrayals.‖ 16 Video games have also faced condemnation owing to their level of sexual content, especially when accompanied with violence, as stated by Bushman and Cantor: ―Media in which sex is combined with violence may have particularly pernicious effects‖. 17 Graphic novels and video games have been the object of scathing criticism, whether the content is too violent, too sexual, or has a particularly harmful or psychological affect on the children and young adults who play/read the content in front of them. Yet it is unlikely that sexual content and violence will be purged from either of these media; indeed, it has never been removed from television, films or books. Graphic novels and video games have often been judged as inferior to the media of books and films, due to lack of multi dimensional characters, emotional involvement, handling adult themes in an adult manner, and due to the fact that written fiction has hundreds of years of tradition behind it, while the film industry is over a hundred years old.18 With that said, video games are improving their integration of narrative almost all the time, in the same way that graphic novels changed the face of comics, with their longer, more narrative-based storytelling. Narrative is another aspect of graphic novels and video games that is shared between them. As video games improve, their designers look to other media, and draw inspiration from media streams including books, films and comics.19.20

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1.3: Narrative within video games Graphic novels, books and comics all have their own variation of narrative structure. Video games are no exception to this, and yet this hasn't always been the case. Games started off as simple creations, e.g. Pong, Tetris and Solitaire. Games became more advanced: with Pac-Man, Space Invaders, Lemmings - although there was not a fully engaging narrative by any means - there was some semblance of a story, e.g. save the lemmings, protect the earth, and so on. Eventually games began to put more of a focus on heavy narrative, although linear at first, with the likes of Myst, Tomb Raider and Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. More recent games provide choices for the player that could change the narrative through the game play. J. Dormans pointed out that, ―the job of the game designer is to create a tool, a semiotic space or machine for the player to use and craft her own stories.‖ 21 Games began being seen as a way to create a compelling plot line, much like that from a book, or film, and let people have control of it, to experience it in a non linear and passive fashion, whilst also combining the challenge, mental exercise, and interactivity that games are created with in mind. Games can also be used to integrate visual narrative, like that from a comic or graphic novel, which is exactly what Remedy Entertainment did with their game Max Payne. This is a typical third person shooter: you make your way through the levels killing anything that shoots at you, with puzzles no harder than finding a key, or pressing a switch. Nevertheless, each section of the game leads to a graphic novel style interactive cut scene, that shows the events leading up to the next game play section, visually set out on screen just as if you were reading a graphic novel, with buttons to turn the page and dialogue spoken by voice actors, to narrate the events in each panel. There are many games that follow similar comic/graphic novel conventions to visual narrative. Point and click adventure games such as Broken Sword and The Last Express utilise fixed perspectives during game play, much like that of a panel in a comic, whilst giving the player the ability to interact with the environment and people within that scene: ―Interactive digital narrative in its many incarnations as interactive drama, hyper fiction literature, interactive fiction and other variants such as interactive cinema and narrative games, heralds not only a change in the technology of representation, and in the opportunities for artistic expression, but also a challenge to existing concepts in narrative theory, such as the role of the author and the concept of a single unified plot.‖ 22 An example of this, would be in the freely available game Façade, or as the developers call it, an interactive one-act drama. This ―game‖ places a heavy focus on a dynamic narrative, the plot line and events of the story changing each time it is played, and the events of the story unfolding whether the player interacts with the characters and situations in the game, or not. Games have also attempted to integrate their elements into audiobooks, due to the popularity the medium has received. According to Rober et al, ‖the idea of interactive audiobooks is simply to combine the narrative advantages of an oral storytelling with additional story-related interaction and game elements‖. 23 Narrative within games has clearly advanced through the years, taking pointers from comics, books and films, and eventually creating its own style of interactive narrative. As S. Poole stated, ―video games are carefully strip-mining our conventional notions of narrative and storytelling for what can be usefully simulated in their own, utterly different, medium.‖ 24 A counterargument to this was made by H. Jenkins in 2001 when he suggested that games had not yet reached their potential, and were at a

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level of development equivalent to early cinema, thus implying that there could be more yet to come from games in the future. 24,25 Whether games have truly created their own version of narrative structure, or are still on their way to reaching their potential, remains to be seen. The influx of new technology on the market today, as well as the popularisation of games through these technologies such as the iPad, should encourage developers to aim for something new, especially considering the advancement of books and graphic novels taking their narrative to new mediums such as e-books and web comics. Now may be the time for video games to improve for the technology in the mainstream today. As G. King and T. Krzywinska stated: ―A recurrent concern in the work of some commentators is with the future potential games might have to aspire towards something more sophisticated, in narrative terms, than their typically existing form.‖ 23

1.4: Advancements in technology The market for graphic novels and books is widening, due to recent advances in current technology such as e-readers, smart-phones and the tablet PC. In the world of games, the advance in recent technology through the use of smart-phones has brought a new world to the attention of developers and the public, known as ―Augmented Reality‖ (AR). This new technology, allows the user to look through the camera on the phone, while the computer itself modifies the image, as stated by A. Henrysson: ―in AR, the computer is transparent and the user perceives the world through the computer. This means that a computer can mix impressions of the real world with computer generated information, in this way augmenting reality.‖ 27 This allows video games to break the fourth wall, and actually interact and integrate themselves into the real world environment, at least through the eyes of the player. This can be seen in augmented reality games such as Arhrrrr, in which a 3D cityscape is created through the camera, with 3d zombies and civilians running about within it. The challenge for the player is to save the civilians, and to do so the use of skittles is required, as when placed in front of the camera the skittle becomes included as a part of the game experience, being used as a bomb in order to defeat the zombies. Whilst advances in technology have opened new markets for gaming, but they have also done the same for graphic novels, comics and books. Comics have transcended from their paper medium and into the world-wide-web in the form of web comics, enabling anyone to create one‘s own comics through digital means, and upload those onto the internet, to be viewed by thousands of web surfers per day. This has opened up new avenues for comics as stated by S. Fenty et al: ―the obvious benefit of the internet as a distribution medium for many web comic artists is the freedom to release comics that the mainstream industry and audience would reject.‖ 9 Much in the same way that comics have transcended their physical format, books have also been making the same leap into new technology, such as audio and e-books. E-books started as internetbased texts, giving one the ability to read online, rather than having to search for a physical copy of a story from a shop or library. P. Garrod stated that, ―e-books are about fast and easy access to information, rather than reading an entire novel online.‖ 28 However, e-books have advanced past the confines of existing solely on the internet, and with the production of the iPad, e-books have a new and wider audience. 28

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―Due in large part to the appearance since mid-2006 of increasingly affordable devices making use of e-Ink technology, the ebook has gone from a somewhat limited market into a real, although presently still niche, contender.‖ 29 It is also of interest to note that the iPad is actually designed with e-books in mind. The iPad contains the iBook application (Apple's own e-reader), as well as giving users access to the iBookstore, which contains both standard e-books and graphic novels. The iPad has provided a new medium for graphic novels, and hence a new digital marketplace. ―With Apple's announcement of their new iPad device, the comics industry is abuzz with the potential for digital comics.‖ 30 The iPad is also the first mainstream computing device that has the required power, interface and true colour screen, to fully present digital comics and graphic novels in the same way as they are on paper. Dozens of graphic novels on the iPad were available by 2011, with major publishers such as Marvel starting to develop for the iPad, using their own Marvel Comics Application. There are also other less well-known groups creating their own graphic novels, such as The Carrier, a 122-page story specifically optimised for the iPad. 30,31 This however, is not the only area in which graphic novels are advancing. Graphic novels have recently become a popular medium, with stories having been transcribed from films, games and TV shows, e.g. the interactive graphic novel series created to accompany NBC's superhero drama Heroes; and the weekly released graphic novel to accompany AMCTV's remake of The Prisoner. It is this idea of an interactive graphic novel, combining the media of video games and comics, that is more recently beginning to appear from developers, such as the interactive novel Exile released in August 2010, for PC and Mac: ―Exile offers a new way to experience a comic book tale through interaction within its pages. A reader‘s attention focuses on certain areas of the screen that will be clicked in order to advance the plot. The soundtrack sets an overall mood from page to page while sound effects and animation bring specific panels to life‖. 32 Another example is Operation Ajax from Cognito Comics, developed for the iPad, with the specific idea in mind to combine video games and graphic novels: ―Burwen believes Operation Ajax is part of a growing interaction between genres, as developers start to bridge the writing culture of animation and film with the technology of video games‖. 32 Interactive graphic novels are even being considered for use in schools, with Classical Comics launching an interactive version of MacBeth: ―Readers can choose to view one panel at a time or sit back and watch in "movie mode", with context notes provided explaining the Shakespearean language‖. 33 However, there has yet to be any popular interactive graphic novels, as it is still in it's infant stages of development, but the idea of crossing two media is theoretically a sound one. 33

1.5: Summary Graphic novels and games both share a creative infancy, in relation to books and film. They have had a short lifetime, and yet are now becoming extremely popular in more modern times. They both create visual worlds for storytelling, and also hold a dubious reputation due to their violent and sexual content, which in turn may be linked with psychological issues among today's youth. Despite calls for censorship or restriction, both forms survive, steadily advancing their respective media to adapt to modern audiences. With the release of the iPad, and the popularity it has achieved, graphic novels and video games are now being seen, read and played by a technologically minded audience, and advances are being made to how both mediums are being experienced, eventually creating the combination of both mediums: an Interactive Novel.

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2: Investigation - Methodology This paper reports on the development of digital artwork for an interactive novel (―active novel‖) prototype, which was developed by three students and me at the University of the West of Scotland during the 2010/11 academic session. This section focuses on my planning and preparation of the digital artwork. The methodology used was key to the success of my work. I chose an iterative form of methodology for the art and design, with high prototyping involved, similar to the Boehm's Spiral development cycle. This was a case of the creation of assets or designs, submission to the team, and then later ―re-visitation‖. Carey Chico, the art director of Pandemic Studios, discussed the idea that prototyping is an essential tool for an artist or designer, ―Why is the cornerstone of useful feedback; if you can't explain why you don't like something, the artist will not understand the feedback and will not know what changes to make.‖ 4 Effective feedback is based on whether or not the product created by the artist is liked within the team, and constructive ideas based on why it is liked are used to amend the product. This was the fundamental idea behind the methodology: if the rest of the team did not approve of the art work and design, we would work together to form reasons as to why it didn't work, or wasn't liked. Based on their reasoning, I then revisited, created anew and/or amended my artwork before re-submitting it for approval. 34 Utilising this methodology throughout the development process enabled me to refine the artwork at a steady pace, based on the feedback received from team members, so that the artwork was designed to a specification that was considered by the rest of the team as fit for purpose. However, during the process of development, the methodology - although still iterative - became more like the Agility development cycle, due to the fact the team was small, and our meetings were held face to face. This allowed the development to be 'time-boxed' for three to four week periods per segment of the product, allowing us to have a smooth sense of progression and refinement throughout the year.

2.1: Investigation: approach For the purpose of this project, I was tasked with designing and creating an 'Active Novel' under the banner of TuDocs Ltd. We were a team of four students, who were given a rough brief of the product - the creation of an Interactive Graphic Novel or 'Active Novel' – by the company directors. The story of the novel was to be based in Scotland, integrating the feeling and style of a graphic novel, with the interactivity of video games, along with having a focus from an educational aspect through historical links and integrated videos. My area of expertise within the team was on the art and design aspects of the novel and application itself. My first task was to create the rough design of the application, the various features and interactive elements contained within, and the game play elements that would be integrated into the novel. I was then to create the storyline on which the entire 'Active novel' would be based, before dissecting this story into segments for storyboarding. Once the storyboarding was complete, the layout and style of the novel was to be designed, and the imagery (including animations) was to be produced for the various panels and sequences within the novel. Finally, I was to design and produce the artwork for the various interactive segments of the novel, making sure that each sequence would not detract from the overall feel of a graphic novel.

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2.2: Story Design (also refer to the after-note at end of paper) This application was to be of a certain educational value, and yet it had to incorporate the dark and gritty style of storytelling, for which graphic novels are justly famous. Creating the story was accomplished by (1) researching the various (and sinister) historical facts of Britain and Scotland and the many myths found within them; and (2) analysing the storytelling contained within conspiracy books and adventure games. These sources of inspiration were used to create a somewhat believable, yet far-fetched gritty conspiracy novel. The most popular line of storytelling found in adventure games and books were always based around secret societies, namely the Knights Templar. This was a good base for the storyline itself, and so the plot for our interactive novel was centred around the Knights of St John, or Knights Hospitaller of Scotland (which was linked to the Knights Templar), in their quest to find a great prize that could help them regain power. In the story, the Templars‘ plan is hampered by a lone detective, as he stumbles upon the conspiracy through a simple mistake made by the secret society. Combining the myths surrounding the Knights Templar with their descendants the Knights of St John, allowed for a dark setting around Scotland, and a tie into a make believe world of historical fact. With the story in place, I created my own contrasting secret society for the plot, based around the many historical figures of Scotland, such as William Wallace, Robert Burns, Walter Scott, and more - who, according to the plot - were part of the society making sure the Templars never discovered this prize of the land. For the purpose of the project the story only spanned three chapters, this was to keep the development within the time frame, while also giving a good indication of the final product from our prototype. Once the storyline was written, it was then to be dissected into various panels and sequences for the novel itself (Figure 1). Looking at various comics and graphic novels gave me ideas on story to panel transposing, as the entire story could never be transferred segment for segment, but instead had to be key moments or actions to give a feeling of flow. The idea behind visual novels is that although they are a mainly visual medium, they also entice the reader to imagine the various 'in betweens' of the story, much in the same way comics almost always stick to an 'action panel' style, wherein you will see the hero at the end of their action pose, rather than extra panels showing the beginning and middle section of their movement. Therefore, when splitting the story into pieces, I had to choose the various segments in which actions were taking place, such as a room being turned over, a conversation taking place, or a crime scene being investigated. I had to also show the interactive panels, and give indications as to how they would be integrated and to what extent of interaction was to be available. These interactive panels had to also be transposed from the story, although this time without the need for a specific sequence of action. Instead I tried to select respective sequences that users could interact with from a game perspective, such as solving a crime, puzzle or possibly escaping or fighting enemies. I also chose which panels could be animated to show a full action sequence, without becoming irrelevant to the plot. This brought the design to the forefront of the project at the time. With the storyboards complete, there was a clear visual indication of layout and sequence separation, but there was no clear idea for the active component of the novel, or how it would flow or react as the user moved through it. Based on the literature I had been researching, along with the various interactive graphic novels out there already, it was clear to me that the applications out there were being developed as either a graphic novel with separate video game style segments, or as a video game with separate graphic novel segments. I had never looked at one that had struck a balance in creating something that was a true combination of both media. Because of this, I designed the layout of the pages to conform to regular

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graphic novel pages, whilst giving the user an interactive interface, enlarging each panel to fit the screen for easy viewing, but also requiring page turns true to a real novel.

Figure 1: Storyboard example (Copyright ŠTomas Iverson 2011-12)

For the purpose of integrating a more videogame-like interface or possible application interface, I designed the idea of a tab system to drop down from the screen, allowing the user to save the game, access a possible inventory, access the options, or quit the game. I then designed the various animations, games and sequences based on the idea that they couldn't detract from the overall style or feel of the graphic novel itself. The animations couldn't be flowing real time movement, as a graphic novel is a 2D paper based object. The interactive novel was therefore based around panels, yet it retained some form of motion. The same was true for the games, as each one had to have a form of motion that if dissected, wouldn't be out of place within individual panels. To accomplish this, I based the animations and game motion off the idea of single panels joined together, with their motion being based around stop motion and flicker book animation techniques, to give a choppier animation. 2.3: Art Style The next issue was the art style of the novel itself, which is a significant part of the development, as art styles for graphic novels vary greatly, with each one conveying different ideas and emotions based on the story they represent, and the colours that they are based around. Due to the plot line of the

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novel being based on noir style comics, games and stories, the art was to be based on black and white high contrast imagery. This was decided after looking at other similarly styled graphic novels such as Sin City and Batman Black and White (Figure 2):

Figure 2: Sin City Š (left) and Batman Black and White Š (right)

This contrasting imagery was based mainly around light and dark, and could change the very feeling of an image or sequence of a story, based around the shadow and contrasting highlights. With that in mind, all of the static imagery for the novel was based around this light/shadow divide, with grittier images being based more towards the dark, and character focused images being based in the light. However, the novel was not to be fully black and white, as select colours such as red and blue, were to be used to highlight prominent features of the image, or certain objects within the interactive sequences. With the art style chosen, and the design of the project laid out, the next step was to create the actual imagery that was to be integrated into the active novel framework. I started by designing the actual static imagery of the panels. These conveyed the pieces of the story in a striking visual fashion, while also flowing from one to the other, allowing the user to create their own mental segments of action or narrative for the in between sections. To create the imagery I opted to use traditional art methods of pencil and paper for the illustrating, while sourcing images of poses and scenes from books, real life, and my own mental imagery of the plot line. Drawing the imagery using a pencil and paper enabled me to have a lot more control over the illustration itself, in turn allowing for my own style to become apparent throughout the art. This is in comparison to drawing digitally, where individual art style is lost due to a stereotypical 'look' from whatever application is being used (Figure 3), mainly attributed to various filters or automatic adjusting from the application. This is most notable in applications such as Adobe Flash, as the vector graphics produced have a somewhat automated filter applied, to give the overall image its own unique cartoon-ish look, rather than allowing for the freedom of the artists own style.

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Figure 3: manual art drawing-based cartoon (left); Adobe Flash© -based art (right) (Copyright ©Tomas Iverson 2011-12)

Once I had drawn an image (which included the outlines of each object in the scene and the details such as wrinkles, cracks and creases), I then worked on creating the contrast in accordance to the dark and light separation. This involved looking at how shadows fell on objects, such as on my own hands whilst in certain positions and different angles in relation to the light (Figure 4). This enabled me to create an outline of the shadows across the faces of characters, accurate wrinkles in clothing, and allow for proper highlights of the light, based on artificial height within the image itself:

Figure 4: scanned image of drawing of hand (Copyright ©Tomas Iverson 2011-12)

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Once these shadows were in place, it was then onto the integration of stylised shadows within the image. These shadows were to go beyond the limits of realism, and either give the image a unique look based on the material it was representing, such as a dead body, or facial close-up, or to take a gritty, dark image and make it stand out even more by emphasising the shadow around the scene. After the image had been laid out using pencil, I took a gel pen and inked around the lines that were to be kept for the final image. This was the stage in the image generation where details that were unnecessary could be removed, mistakes could be omitted, and details could be highlighted. This was also the point where the final image had to be decided upon, as if any mistakes were made, or changes were thought of in hindsight, they could only be implemented digitally (which for the purpose of keeping as much of the image to my own style as possible I was trying to avoid). The image's first stage now complete, I then scanned it through to my PC, and loaded it into an image editing program. This brought the image to the digital stage, where I used a tablet and pen, and the applications own drawing tools to finalise what was to be seen in the final novel. Having the image scanned and open, I began to clean up the various problems that were apparent from scanning. These included off colour pixels, broken lines, smudging and anything else the scanner picked up from the paper. Once this had been done I tidied up the lines and colour of the image, making sure that white was indeed white, black was black, all lines were unbroken, and that any mistakes I had made during the penning stage were now cleared up, such as a hand slip, or smudging of the ink. Once this was complete I was left with a tidy, outlined image, and could now begin the creation of the black and white scene. This stage of the image creation consisted of filling the areas of the illustration with black or white colour (Figure 5), making sure that nothing became invalid after the fact: an example of this was having a character standing in shadow. On paper and in the tidied digital image the outlines are viewable, and so the character and the shadow are clearly separate, but once the black and white fills are added, the character may become one with the shadow, rendering the image itself fairly useless for conveying a hidden character. This is where the highlights within the image, as well as the direction of light, showed significance to the overall style. Knowing where the light was hitting the character, I could create somewhat realistic highlights on the clothing, hair and features, to differentiate them from the shadow they were in, allowing the separation to become apparent again, even as the black combined both objects. I then stylised the highlights and light in general, in the same way that I had stylised the shadows earlier, and so I began to create highlights based around what I wanted or needed to bring to the user's attention, even if a highlight in that area seemed like it was impossible in a real life situation. Combined with the stylised shadows, it added to the art style that I had defined previously, without even realising it at first. It was then just a case of adding striking colour to the image based on content, such as a bright or possible deep red for blood, and blues for gemstones. Once complete, the image was resized to fit the dimensions for the prototype and exported in JPEG format.

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Figure 5: filled image (Copyright ŠTomas Iverson 2011-12)

Each image was completed using a combination of traditional and digital art, and sent to the rest of the team before being integrated into the application. With all static images completed, the application itself began to stand out as a graphic novel. However, something about the overall style did not feel right. Thus the previously decided black and white stylistic art style was abandoned in favour of a full colour style. This was to be more like a classic point and click adventure game or coloured graphic novel, such as The Watchmen. However, a significant amount of development time had already passed before this decision was reached. It was therefore agreed that instead of completely new art being created (which in turn would impact development time greatly, even halting any chance of completing the product within the time frame), I was to edit the art already produced (Figure 6). This was also the point of development when we addressed the issues of multiple chapters and the inventory system for the user. It was discussed that creating any more chapters for the novel would absorb all remaining time for the project. With so much imagery needing to be re-coloured, creating new imagery and new content in general for a second or even third chapter, was not feasible. It was agreed that one fully completed chapter would be suitable for the prototype.

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Figure 6: creation process (Copyright ŠTomas Iverson 2011-12)

The inventory system for the application was altered. As mentioned, the system had been originally developed to hold items from within the game, much in the same way it is done within a point and click adventure (holding items, allowing combinations and giving the player a screen to check for more information on each object that they held). This would have made the novel into more of a game. However, this initial strategy brought up many issues, such as whether there was the option to not collect an object, and how that would affect the interactive panels if objects were needed to complete them. It also broke the flow of the application itself: as also mentioned, the idea of the interactive graphic novel is to create a unique medium, and not to feel like a combined one. With the addition of an inventory system, the player would have to check their inventory for each interactive panel that required an item, possibly combining items, checking within regular panels for information on each item, and again the issue that if they had missed an item how it was to be handled. This constant interface switching would have detracted the reader from the feel of the novel, and interfered with the novel experience. 2.4: Coloured Imagery After these decisions had been reached by the team, my next task was to adapt the black and white images to colour, keeping the stylised shadows and highlights, while also integrating new colour based techniques (Figure 7). The creation of this art was a much more difficult task, as working on artwork previously designed for black and white imagery required me to rework each design individually to fit a whole new style (keeping the reworking of imagery to a minimum owing to limited time). Nevertheless, I succeed in creating a new art style, and I opted to keep the large black shadows for each image, using only the white and highlights for colour. I filled each image in the same way I had done so before, but taking into account height-based shadow for clothing and light direction, giving colours a lighter or darker hue if necessary. The new art style - although still as striking if not more so than before - was now

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missing something after being coloured, and this was due to the fact solid colours with no detail gave the image a bland feeling.

Figure 7: final coloured image (Copyright ŠTomas Iverson 2011-12)

To combat this problem, I used my experience of pixel art to create a second set of highlights for stylisation only, such as darker highlights on light colours, and lighter highlights on dark colours. Each of these highlights would be a lighter or darker shade of the adjacent colour, giving me the chance to create colour variation, wrinkles and other details without detracting from the image, and also giving the reader something more interesting to look at while moving from image to image. This gave the graphic novel another feature reminiscent of video games, as the colours used were kept to bright, yet mild tones, similar to that of the 2D Broken Sword series (Figure 8):

Figure 8: Broken Sword Š : colour example

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As the coloured imagery had been completed and integrated into the application itself, the next task was to create the animations that were to be used in various motion sequences throughout the novel. These sequences were to give the user the feeling of a more interactive application, rather than just a graphic novel with embedded mini games. Each sequence was designed around the notion that having a set of panes to express the actions taken in each animation, would spread the action out too much, becoming unnecessary and tedious to read through. Secondly, at this point in design, it was decided the novel should carry audio narration over the imagery, removing the need for speech and action bubbles to describe what was happening. With this in mind, it gave the animations a unique character, having narration accompanied by panelled animation. At first the animations were to be designed using Adobe Flash due to the graphic novel needing (.swf) files for the animations. During the process of creation this seemed to give the animations a much quicker turnaround than creating them in the same way as the static imagery, but after creation of the first animation, this way of creation was postponed as each 'frame' I had created had a distinct 'flash look', and had lost all form of artistic style for which the static images had been designed. Because of this, it was decided that the animations were to be created in the same style as the static imagery. Even though the black and white art style was abandoned, I still created each image as if it was required to carry stylised shadows and highlights, and still be a contrast of black and white. This was done to keep the animation panels as close to the original modified style. I had to create multiple versions of the same image (or at least multiple 'parts' of the same image), thereby creating hand drawn key frames of animation. Once scanned in, each image had to be editing according to the various key frames I had drawn, such as deleting a segment of a character's arm, in order to replace it with another version within the image for motion. Once each image had been edited in this way, I then loaded them into Adobe Flash. The process of animation was straightforward, and yet the style in which the images had to be displayed was difficult to visualise, and create correctly. In order to ensure that the animations were to be single panels (seemingly intertwined with motion), the appearance was a cross between stop motion choppy animation and flicker book techniques. I used Adobe Flash to connect the images and fade them out in such a way, that the in-between frames gave the indication of motion, without actually showing it in the traditional sense of animation (Figure 9). After the first animation was created, subsequent animations became an easier task, and with the animations complete, the final task was to time them to the narration that was to be played over the top, this requiring some minor rearrangements with the frames in Adobe Flash.

Figure 9: animation example (Copyright ŠTomas Iverson 2011-12)

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2.5: Interactive Panels After the main portion of the imagery was complete, the next stage of development was the design of the game panels. Each game (or interactive panel) had to give an indication of any future interactive panels in the novel. Since we were only developing for the prototype, the games were kept fairly simple, yet each game contained unique aims and goals in tune with the style of the novel, and contained enough interactivity to be a complete game combined with the novel's story line. One of the important facets of the game design was that each panel had to be compatible with a tablet PC-sized screen such as the iPad. The control schemes did not need to apply solely to the mouse and keyboard approach of a regular PC-based game. The first game was designed around a point and click based adventure, with a dialogue between characters throughout, to give the user some possible plot points, background information, and at the same time introduce some superfluous information to keep them immersed in the role of the private detective. This game used simple point and click mechanics to recover various objects from the scene of a crime, one of which would be key to the rest of the chapter. The second game was once again based off adventure games, but would utilise the touch screen of the iPad for the controls. The player would be let loose inside a room; various interactive set pieces would be littered around for searching, eventually allowing the player to find a key set piece that needed to be removed from a wall. However, all this was under the watchful eye of an NPC character who would occasionally leave the room. In adventure game fashion, the player was to be tasked with distracting the NPC, using one of the environmental set pieces, before trying to remove the object from the wall. To do this, the player had to click on one set piece while the NPC was in the room: this would cause the NPC to panic and leave for an extended period of time. When the player then interacted with the object on the wall, they would be given the option of removing it, which in turn was a rocking back and forth mini game: for the purpose of the prototype utilising two keys for left and right (but for the final product, possible motion or finger sliding would be used instead). With this game complete, it would lead the player through a few more panels before entering the third game. This third game was based on the idea of using a touch screen for controlling interactivity, and had a heavy focus on movement based interaction: to place the key object found earlier into a wall cavity; rotate it into position; and then remove it, in order to access a secret compartment in the wall. With the game designs approved by the rest of the team, the same content creation was applied into the static imagery and animations, utilising the same blend of traditional and digital art, whilst also staying true to the desired art style. Due to the fact the mini-games also required motion, the same techniques applied to the animations was also applied into the games, such as the fading and single panel key framed flow. There was a unique issue, which applied only to the game assets: the idea of real time motion. The games as interactive segments had to have some form of motion, especially through segments such as the key turning, or object rocking. The idea that each moveable object in the game was required to have the same motion as the animations, gave way to the thought that, more so in the case of the key, motion should be applied after the player has finished interaction. For example, if the player was to go through the correct button presses of control for turning the key, one could consider that a stage of the game being completed, and the actual animation of the key turning would then play in the same style as the animations, before moving the player on to the next segment of the game. This would

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allow for interaction to take place, while not removing anything from the already pre-determined style, and still allow for motion, based on actions by the player. However, this in itself could prove to be a restriction or possible nuisance with later applications development. If such games were to become more complex (and of course not be a repetition of what came previously), they would also have to implement new game mechanics and situations. With the aforementioned style of motion, real time interactivity may be restricted, and could limit a development team to creating slower-paced adventure game puzzles, rather than something that was slightly more reaction-based for the player. For the purpose of the prototype, real time motion with a possible blur filter was used instead, as the segmented style of animation that retained the overall feel of the novel was beyond the limits of what the framework was designed to incorporate.

2.6: Structures and Education Once the main bulk of content for the application was completed, the static imagery, animations and games were all integrated into a working novel, ready for the user to read from the beginning to the end of the first chapter of the story. At this later stage, the idea of a linear structure was discussed. One challenge in producing an interactive novel is that fragments of the application, if not the whole application itself, could have a non-linear structure, allowing the plot and/or events within the plot changed by the player through the interactive sequences. This would allow for a much greater level of interactivity and a level of replayability that would once again go beyond a traditional graphic novel, and into the realms of the 'Active Novel'. With branching paths of the story, events in an interactive novel need to be changed, pieces of the story need altered, and many different outcomes must be created and integrated into the novel. On paper this seemed like a great addition to the working model of the interactive novel, and giving users branching paths would open up a freedom of choice for them to decide how the story line will progress, given a simple set of options for certain interactive panels. This does come with it's own issues, such as whether or not to have branching paths contribute to a change in the entire story, or just chapter specific plot lines. If it was the latter, the issue would be how to connect each branching path back into the main story itself, which limits the level of deviation each action would effect, thereby eventually having diminishing returns on the idea of branching paths as the story goes on, and possibly becoming an annoyance if the user wished to try the application from the beginning again, as one different choice would change the experience based on the branching path system. It was decided that much like extra chapters, storyline branching could be implemented outside of the main prototype, using basic art and mechanics to give the sense of a multi branching story, without interfering with the work already completed. This enabled us to gain a sense of how a multibranching approach could affect the novel itself, without hampering the work we had already produced, and allowing us to discard obsolete ideas. The next challenge was the integration of educational content within the novel, due to the brief given to us by TuDocs Ltd, stating there had to be an educational connection to the story line, and in the application itself. With the connections to Scottish and British history and myth, there was already a

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base for educational material there, with names of historic icons, objects and places being mentioned as prominent plot points and figures. With this in mind, the idea of integrating educational content through bookmarks, objects, and the inclusion of videos throughout the application was decided upon. Bookmarks would be retrievable throughout the storyline, whether by objects scattered in the interactive panels, rewards from games, or within book pages through text. In the prototype, these could be saved by the user for later use and would provide information on any of the historical links that were made throughout the plot, from the Knights of St John, to William Wallace's birthplace. Once the idea of bookmarks and hyper links was approved, the next challenge was to integrate the videos: this was solved through integration into key points of the novel, e.g. a character opens a book to read about a historical figure, the user would have the option to click on the image of the said figure, and play a video in that frame about that figure, their life and their prominent mark on history.

3: Investigation - Results This section of the paper reports on the progress of the project from its initial stages to the final product. 3.1: Initial Art As written previously, the given task was to create an ―Active Novel‖, with a focus on creating the artwork and visual presence of said novel. Creating the artwork began with hand drawn imagery (Figure 10) which was then digitised and edited to create a black and white noir art style (Figure 11).

3.2: Coloured Art The black and white artwork was changed to colour artwork, requiring a more cartoon-ish styled approach of the previously created imagery (Figure 12), and the animations were to be created utilising the same approach, but from the ground up, as per the initial art (Figure 13). There is also the addition of game art to the product (Figure 14). 3.3: Final Product The final product was a culmination of all artwork within a structured layout for the pages to give the application a proper graphic novel feeling. The application was tested by a group of students at UWS (images of three participants testing the device are provided in Figure 15).

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Figure 10: examples of hand-drawn art (Copyright ŠTomas Iverson 2011-12)

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Figure 11: noir-style artwork (Copyright ŠTomas Iverson 2011-12)

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Figure 12: coloured artwork (Copyright ŠTomas Iverson 2011-12)

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Figure 13: hand-drawn to digitalised artwork (Copyright ŠTomas Iverson 2011-12)

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Figure 14: game artwork (Copyright ©Tomas Iverson 2011-12)

Figure 15: students testing the ‗Active Novel‘ prototype

4: Evaluation At the beginning of development, the task was to design the aspects of an interactive novel, and to create and implement the artwork that would give the novel its visual style. Over the course of the development cycle, I designed, created and revisited each aspect of the 'Active Novel' within a small

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team, and managed to create a full first chapter to this new medium. This raises questions as to (1) whether this new medium will act as intended; (2) how it compares to each combined medium sector as an individual piece; and (3) whether or not it is more of a video game, or more of a graphic novel, or if it stand alones as a unique medium. 4.1: Evaluation Against Current Media The 'Active Novel' itself visually is exactly as it was designed: the visual style borrows from clear graphic novel influences in the artwork, from the angles and details in each image, to the colours used to give it more depth. The animations integrated into the novel fit the style for which it had been created, and retained the feeling of a graphic novel that is in motion. The game or interactive sections of the novel all retain this style as well, whilst also allowing for some degree of 'free motion' for objects, or the ability for interactions to happen in real time without taking the reader‘s immersion away from being inside a novel. However, it is possible that some refinement may be needed, as striking a balance between the interactive portions and the motionless visual segments is not only a difficult task, but also a significant one: the novel itself would appear to either be tacked onto a video game, or vice versa with the games being gimmicky attachments to the rest of the material. The only way to make sure this balance is met is with adequate testing, making sure that neither aspect of the medium combination detracts from the other, whilst also making sure that they compliment each other, and integrate smoothly. It was the opinion among the students testing the prototype that the ‗Active Novel' performed as a graphic novel - not only visually - but also in the narrative of the product. As a video game, it was unclear as to whether there was enough data to give a conclusive answer. The game segments are few for the prototype, and although each one was a clear indication of a game and possible future games, the majority of the application was leaning heavily towards the graphic novel sector. The games did compare to the likes of point and click adventure titles, borrowing heavily from the implementation of puzzles found within similar games. They each worked on their own as a mini-game of sorts, acting almost as action segments to the novel, giving the player control over key sections of the story, whether it would be a segment where the main character learns something new about the unfolding plot, or if there is a key moment in the character's actions. This is similar to how a video game works in practice, with the cut scenes and intermediary sections engaging the player in storyline and plot points, whilst allowing the player to immerse oneself in the game sections, which represent the main character's actions between story segments. How those actions play out may vary from player to player. 4.2: Evaluation of the 'Active Novel' Medium As a new medium, the balance between graphic novel and interactive sections was tangible. Giving a slightly higher focus to the graphic novel sections was the key component to creating the new medium. The reason for this is because interactive segments, no matter how short on paper, are always more prominent and somewhat more important to the experience. Too many interactive segments in the novel and it would be turned into a game with what appears to be cut scenes in a graphic novel styling. Too little, and the product becomes a graphic novel with attached games. Out of the two options, creating a graphic novel with attached games would have been the worst route to have followed, as with that feeling of attachment, the games would soon appear to be annoying subsections to lengthen the overall experience, possibly becoming intrusive to the reading of the story, with users likely wishing to skip the games to get back to the story.

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The opposite problem has affected many commercial games, as the padding videos and segments that fill the plot in video games, can and will be skipped by users wishing to get straight into the action again. Giving only a slightly higher priority to the graphic novel segments prevents the storytelling becoming too lengthy: there is just enough narrative before the player can move to the next game, and with the interactive segments forwarding the story through the character's interactions, it allows the flow of the novel to be smooth and controlled. Another issue can arise: if the games themselves are too easy to complete, they once again feel artificially lengthening, and in my opinion may as well not be integrated in the first place. If the user is given something simple to do in order to bridge the gap between sections, the action is so simple that it appears to be feigning interactivity in order to give the player something to do, and more to the point, something that simple may as well be shown in the graphic novel sections. With too much challenge, the games may become irritating, hard to complete and may leave many users frustrated that they cannot read the rest of the novel. As discussed before, rigorous testing is needed in order to establish an amiable balance, otherwise the application itself may fall into the same trap as have many other interactive novels, i.e. giving users something far too easy to play through, or even skip altogether, which with such a promising new medium, should not be the experience. 4.3: Evaluation of Narrative and Visual Content The narrative content is heavily borrowed from graphic novels, and yet integrated with video game aspects. For much of the application, the user will be moving through still imagery, which is of course the way a graphic novel is read through. However, dialogue boxes and indicators to noise or actions have been removed, and in its place subtitles and a narrator have been utilised, which integrates more of a game feeling to the novel, whilst also only giving the same information that smaller visual dialogue boxes would indicate (therefore removing nothing from the experience of reading a graphic novel). However, the video game aspects of the narrative are slightly different, as the games are in real time. Therefore, real time sound linking to events within the game itself were utilised, which may or may not break the graphic novel immersion, as characters reacting to actions within the game, and making sounds or references to the main character of the story, is an entirely video game prospect. Visually, the 'Active Novel' is very much a graphic novel. All elements of the application were created in the same way, and the style was noticeable throughout. Everything was kept in line with what could be seen on a physical paper based format. As far as this aspect of the medium is concerned it fits within the graphic novel realm, whilst retaining a video game style in terms of 2D point and click adventure game graphics. It gives the active novel it's own visual charm, and allows it to stand out as both a graphic novel and a video game, in fulfilment of the project aims. Although this stands true for the created art, the integration of video segments into the artwork itself felt unconvincing. Due to this being a brief for TuDocs Ltd, the idea of educational content was to be integrated, and this took the form of hyper links and videos pertaining to the background information of the storyline, such as the links to the Templars or Scotland itself. The integration of full motion video may or may not detract from everything around it, which in an educational sense may not be too important, as the rest of the novel created around it in that instance may be more educationally minded. Nevertheless, if the application is more story- or game-based, giving the player or user a video to watch about the background of the Templars may diminish one‘s immersion in the rest of the product, and takes away from both the graphic novel and interactive segments of the novel, as well as

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becoming distinctively disassociated with the overall visual style that has been promoted throughout the rest of the application.

4.4: Future Work The project was considered a success, in that it was an effort to combine two distinct mediums. However, there were many design elements that could not be implemented due to the scope of the project and the time available. These elements may or may not have attributed to the overall feel of the product, and some are discussed below. Areas of the novel that were not implemented due to time constraints include the non-linear progression of the storyline. This would be a significant aspect to include in the novel, as it takes the idea of free progression from video games, combining the actions of the player during the interactive segments and giving them consequences that could change the progression of the storyline. This would give the novel a significantly different feel to it, knowing that the player could follow a different path than someone else, whilst not losing anything overall from the uniqueness of the combined media. This would also have to be tested, as changing a storyline midway through - based on interactions - may work for a video game; but to create a compelling story that still links up in many different ways throughout a good number of chapters, would be a considerably difficult feat to pull off correctly. Further research and development is required to gauge the overall success of the ―Active Novel‖ medium, including testing on portable platforms such as the iPad or any tablet based PC. Gauging how successful this medium truly is would also require numerous surveys into two distinct sets of audiences: graphic novel readers and gamers. Each audience may overlap, which for the purposes of testing and surveying would be an advantage: who better to give an opinion on this new medium, than people who love both games and graphic novels? There is also a point of note in the testing of the technology, as the idea of the active novel based on this gesture technology is riding on the idea that the gestures will allow for a level of interactivity that cannot be reached with other means, such as controllers, mice and keyboards. Although this is true (considering the graphic novels already released on platforms with gesture based technology), due to this being of an interactive nature, other features on, for example, the iPad, would be utilised. This includes the accelerometer for tilting and shaking, and - depending on the interactive segment - lots of screen tapping. Whether this variant of interaction is something that will be enjoyable to use is something that will become apparent during the testing phase. If there had been enough time in this project to debate these further issues, the final product would have been very different. It could be argued that even without our testing programme, studying the gesture-based technology on a tablet PC would still benefit and enhance the experience of the final ―Active Novel‖ product. This is due to the fact that graphic novels themselves are a physical medium that requires the reader to take a hold of them and turn the pages. The added functionality of shaking and finger tapping allows integration of the universe of video game interaction, allowing for what would normally be two completely unique and separate experiences to mix together, due to the technology having the ability to utilise both sets of functionality in one package.

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4.5: Possible Development and Changes If the project were to be undertaken again from the beginning with the knowledge that I have now, the development would have gone far differently than the way it did. I know now that certain drawing packages react in certain specific ways to alter the images, and that there is a certain work flow to the art pipeline. If it was possible, my experience could influence and enable me to refine my design of the overall project, as well as allowing the development to be slightly more streamlined. As far as the art is concerned, the only facet of the novel in need of refinement is the in-game art and animations. Due to limitations with our development time, as well as functionality within the Actionscript framework, the animations and sense of motion within the interactive panels done in real time, with real-time movement, e.g. as the rotation of the pendant during one of the games. Although this worked well within a game context, it did not fit within the style of motion that was presented throughout the rest of the application. If given more time, or another chance at development, this would be rectified and made to fit within the same style. In terms of functionality, the ―Active Novel‖ should be far more refined than it was at the end of the project, possibly even taking a different approach at the user controls and feedback from the application. With the prototype, the application enlarges images from each page to fit the screen. This functionality is significant due to the fact if it is experienced on a tablet PC, filling the screen allows users to clearly see each image, animation, and interactive segment, allowing for a userfriendly experience. However, once each image was enlarged it then shrunk again to fit the page, moving to the next panel, which also needed to be enlarged via interaction from the player. This method of interaction and feedback may be viewed as highly cumbersome, and if it could be redesigned and implemented again, allowances should be made for the image to be enlarged or read as is, to allow for progression in the novel. If the panel is enlarged, I would allow the next panel to be viewable directly after, without the need to shrink down and move on manually. In this way the flow of the application would be much smoother and user friendly than the way it is now, whilst also giving control of the flow to the user's themselves. The dialogue would also require some redesign, as my experience with graphic novel creation is somewhat limited. Designing the dialogue for each panel came from breaking the storyline into segments, but finding the dialogue that felt right within each panel was an incredibly difficult task. This was made easier by the fact it was to be narrated and subtitled, but if I had another opportunity, I would advise giving the player the opportunity to view the novel in two or three distinct ways through the options menu: -

comic/graphic novel style dialogue boxes, outlining each panel and giving the user even more of a novel experience; the subtitle narrative route, which would allow people who wanted slightly more depth, a more game like experience; or, some audio accompaniment to the panels.

Interactivity within the ―Active Novel‖ also has a lot of scope for redesign or additions, by way of making each page it's own 'sandbox' for the user, allowing them to read the story by tapping on panels, which would allow them to enlarge, move or play the animation within manually. This could allow panel rearrangement; enlargement by pinching gestures to the size the user wants (rather than predefined values); and animations to play in panels as they are being enlarge/moved…thereby giving the player a fully interactive novel, which would still retain the visual aspects of a graphic novel.

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This would allow the interactive segments to integrate a lot more easily, on the provision that the rest of the page would also fit into the interactive category. Creating something along these lines, would give the medium a more unique aspect to it, and would necessitate further research. After-note Following the Brievik killings in Norway, TuDocs Ltd aborted its project on the Knights of St John/Knights Templar-themed „Active Novel‟. Despite this decision, the storyline and artwork remain copyright of Tomas Iverson.

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Waddington, D.I., 2006. Locating the wrongness in ultra-violent video games. Ethics and Information Technology 9 (2007) pp121-128

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Koenitz, H., 2010. Towards a theoretical framework for interactive digital narrative. Lecture Notes for Computer Science vol.6432. Copyright ©2010 Springer-Verlag, Germany

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Henrysson, A., 2007. Bringing Augmented Reality to mobile phones. Norrköping : Department of Science and Technology, Linköpings universitet. Available at: http://liu.divaportal.org/smash/get/diva2:16967/FULLTEXT01 [accessed 26/12/2010]

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Motivation in video games: a literature review Gavin Reid School of Computing, University of the West of Scotland, Paisley, Renfrewshire, United Kingdom PA1 2BE

Abstract Video gaming is a firmly established leisure pursuit, which continues to grow in popularity. This paper is an examination of what motivates people to play computer games, and the relevance of such factors to the positive and negative aspects of computer gaming. When all of an individual‘s motivations to play video games are for the pursuit of ‗fun‘, it is said that an intrinsic motivation is the most prevalent motivation. However, the primary motivation for playing video games among periodic gamers is different from the primary motivation of regular gamers: periodic gamers are driven by extrinsic motivation, whereas regular gamers are driven by intrinsic motivation. The pursuit of a challenge is the prevalent motivation reported by regular gamers of both genders. The Theory of Flow Experience, and the Attribution Theory have contributed to the understanding of why games may provide a safe medium, in which to learn about the consequences of actions through experience. Computer games may facilitate the development of self-monitoring and coping mechanisms. If the avoidance or escape from other activities is the primary motivation for playing video games, there tends to be an increased risk of engaging in addiction-related behaviours. This paper reports on the findings of previous research (into the motivations for playing computer games), and on industry reports containing data relating to gamer motivations. The aim is to build a picture of what motivates people to play computer games, and how motivation is associated with the main positive and negative aspects of computer gaming. Article Information Received: July 2012 Accepted: September 2012 Available: online November 2012 Copyright of the author ©2012 • Reproduction rights owned by The Computer Games Journal Ltd ©2012-14

1: Introduction According to Boyle et al, since their introduction in the 1970s, ―computer games have had a transformational impact on how we spend our leisure time.‖ 1 Extensive research has been conducted into the factors, which motivate people to play computer games and which sustain their engagement. This paper explores the different theories of motivation and their application to video gaming.1 According to the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), 72% of American households play computer or video games. This popularity is similar within the European Union (EU): the Interactive Software Federation of Europe (ISFE) recently estimated that there were 95.2 million adult video gamers across the EU. The ESA also identified a relatively balanced gender profile, with 58% of gamers being men, and 42% being women. Although the pan-European demographics are slightly different, the UK market mirrors this gender balance. It was reported in both surveys that video gaming was not just something for the young, with 29% of American gamers being over 50 years old

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(ESA, 2011), and almost 30% of 30-49 year olds playing video games in the EU. As a consequence, the video games market is profitable: earlier this year, Price Waterhouse Coopers has recently predicted that the global video games market may be worth $83.0 billion by 2016.2-4 Despite their popularity, or perhaps because of it (given Griffiths‘ and Davies‘ assertion that video games are designed to compel the gamer to play), video games are not universally viewed as a positive influence, with the promotion of violence, gender stereotyping and addiction the most commonly cited concerns among the general public. Rosa et al highlighted these problems, and also mentioned an immersion effect causing alienation as the most commonly studied negative effects of video games. One example of the public perception (that video games are violent) was contained in the results of the ISFE (2010) survey, where 17% of the non-gamers surveyed cited computer games being too violent as their primary reason or secondary reason for not playing video games.1,3,5,6 Perhaps unsurprisingly, the negative aspects of computer games have been the subject of prolonged initial research in the field. In more recent years, some research (such as the work of Durkin and Barber; and Van Deventer and White) has focused on the positive impacts of video games, and their potential application to learning and development. There is also one specific area of research, which is relevant to both the positive and negative aspects of computer gaming: what motivates people to play computer games, and what sustains their engagement in them once they have started to play the game? 1, 7-9

2: Theories of Motivation Motivation is a psychological construct. According to Ryan and Deci, ―To be motivated means to be moved to do something.‖ 10 They further argued that this motivation is individual and temporal, varying in intensity and orientation, orientation being ―the underlying attitudes and goals that give rise to the action‖. These different orientations give rise to the concepts of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. 10,11 Intrinsic motivation is the idea that people engage in doing an activity for its inherent enjoyment or satisfaction, rather than because of external factors, including its consequences or products. The source of an individual‘s intrinsic motivation is therefore very individual, which is why not everyone will enjoy similar tasks. There are specific individual and interpersonal factors, which enhance intrinsic motivation - namely challenge, fantasy, curiosity and control (in terms of individual factors) – and cooperation, competition and recognition (in terms of interpersonal factors). 10,12,13 According to Ryan and Deci, intrinsic motivation is also quite easily altered by environmental factors. It tends to be stronger in a safe and relatable environment. Positive feedback also tends to increase the level of intrinsic motivation in a task, whereas negative feedback often has the opposite effect. Ryan and Deci also noted that intrinsic motivation could be undermined by the introduction of a desirable level of external reward. They further hypothesised that this was because extrinsic motivation is activated, causing the individual to become less involved in the task for enjoyment and more for the proposed reward. This indicates that intrinsic and extrinsic motivation cannot be maximized simultaneously, and that an optimum balance needs to be found. 20, 33, 40 Extrinsic motivation is the idea that people are motivated to perform a task purely to obtain the potential reward for completion, or in order to avoid the potential sanction for non-completion. However, they also argued that this is an overly simplistic view of the construct, since extrinsic motivation can also vary in the degree to which it is autonomous and to which the individual chooses to engage. This embeds extrinsic motivation in the Theory of Self-Determination. 10,13

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The Self-Determination Theory is the idea that humans inherently want to grow and develop, and hence exert effort, agency and commitment to activities, which potentially fulfil these aims. The theory also purports that the amount of effort, agency (etc) that an individual chooses to exert at a given time and in a given situation is highly variable. The theory also theorises that people have psychological needs that also mediate this engagement. There are three needs that must be satisfied, in order to allow optimal function and growth to occur: competence: the desire to control the outcome and experience mastery; relatedness: the desire to interact and engage with other human beings and to experience positive emotional reciprocity; and, autonomy: the desire to be in control of one‘s own life and destiny and to act in a way that is cognisant with one‘s own values and beliefs. 10 In relation to extrinsic motivation, the Self-Determination Theory (SDT) provides a sub-theory Organismic Integration Theory (OIT) - to explain how extrinsically motivated behaviour is regulated. OIT describes four types of extrinsic motivations: external regulation, which is completely external; introjection, which is somewhat external but has some ego involvement in terms of a focus on approval from oneself and others; identification, which is somewhat internal, the person both recognising the value of the activity and its goals; and, integration, which is fully internal since the activity and goals are fully congruent with the individual‘s own values and beliefs. 4,10 Self-Determination Theory (SDT) also provides another sub-theory that relates to intrinsic motivation, Cognitive Evaluation Theory (CET), which focuses on the need for competence and autonomy to be present, in order for intrinsic motivation to be activated. 10 Csikszentmihalyi‘s Theory of Flow Experience is also linked to intrinsic motivation, but is based around the concept of flow. Flow is a state of mind whereby a person is fully immersed in a task. This goes beyond putting one‘s full attention towards a said task: emotions are not merely contained and channelled, but are positively energised and aligned with the task. All of the person‘s focus goes towards the task and to nothing else. 14 There are nine elements to a flow experience, although not all individuals require all elements to be present to experience flow. These elements are: clear goals and a good grasp of what to do next; direct and immediate feedback; a good balance between the skill required and challenge provided; focused concentration on the task alone allowing actions and awareness to merge; a lack of awareness of bodily needs and one‘s environment; a loss of self- consciousness; absence of the fear of failure; a distorted sense of time; and, engagement in the task for its own sake. This last element appears to describe complete intrinsic motivation, which is perhaps why Csikszentmihalyi referred to a person in a flow experience as fully motivated. 14,15

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Csikszentmihalyi also hypothesised that specific personality traits enhanced an individual‘s ability to achieve flow, and defined these traits as an ―autotelic personality‖. These personality traits were (i) curiosity, (ii) persistence, (iii) low self-centredness, and (iv) a high rate of performing activities for intrinsic reasons. 14,16 The rewarding nature of the flow experience motivates individuals to try and replicate it, and this fosters individual growth as - while their skills progress - they seek out more complex challenges. Furthermore, researchers have found that achieving flow is positively correlated with optimal performance in various fields. 16,17 Another theory of motivation, which links to gamer motivation, is Weiner‘s Attribution Theory. This is an idea of people forming causal explanations for events and behaviours, in that they make judgements about the cause of events or reason for particular behaviours based on their perceptions, whether those are accurate or not. To understand how these attributions impact on motivation, one must consider the causal properties. According to Weiner, there are three underlying causal properties: locus: whether the cause is external or internal to the person; stability: whether the cause is unstable and temporary or stable and constant; and, controllability: whether the outcome can be impacted on by one‘s volition. 18 According to Harvey and Martinko, an individual‘s bias to assign specific causal properties to either negative or positive situations can create specific attribution styles: optimistic: where negative situations are viewed as external and positive as internal; pessimistic: for the reverse bias; and, hostile: where negative situations are viewed as external but stable and constant. 19 These researchers further stated that these attribution styles have associated motivational states. They suggested the following: “learned helplessness” (the belief that failure is inevitable) is associated with a pessimistic attribution style; aggression - either instrumental or hostile - is associated with both a pessimistic attribution style and hostile attribution style (but with hostile aggression being more closely associated with a hostile attribution style); and, empowerment is associated with an optimistic attribution style. 19 Interestingly, according to Weiner, ―the significance of the causal properties is that they map into what are considered the two main determinants of motivation—namely, expectancy and value‖. 18 Having considered the different motivational theories that are relevant to gaming, it is now appropriate to consider how these theories link to the positive and negative aspects of playing video games. 18

3: Positive aspects of gaming As previously discussed, gaming is an incredibly popular pastime, which continues to grow in popularity year on year, and is also a significant and growing segment of the entertainment and media market. As a result, gathering data about gamers‘ motivations to play games has become common for both sociological and commercial reasons.

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In 2010, the ISFE gathered such information from just over 4,000 gamers across Europe as part of their market analysis. They found that the main motivations for playing games were (i) to pass time (26%); (ii) have fun (25%); and (iii) to relax and de-stress (23%). 3 These results do not support the views of Sweetser and Wyeth that player enjoyment is the single most important goal for computer games. Nor do they support the assertion by Sherry et al that the expectation of enjoyment is the most prevalent (although not the only) motivator of video game usage. However, they do mirror the findings of a survey conducted by Phillips et al, who reported that ―the challenge of the game‖, ―using my imagination‖ and ―learning new things‖ (all intrinsic motivations) were cited as the main motivation for playing games by 6%, 1% and 1% of gamers respectively. 20-22 Given that fun is the only intrinsic motivation that is highly reported, this appears to evidence that extrinsic motivation is a more common primary motivator for gamers than intrinsic motivation. It also potentially indicates that the Self-Determination Theory and the Flow Theory are less important in games design than is suggested by Sherry et al. 21 That said, the ISFE survey sample included only adults aged over 16 years of age, and included in the subset of gamers all gamers, including the 31% of gamers who engage in gaming intermittently rather than regularly, which may account for this finding. Indeed when the results of the ―committed gamers‖ (who made up less than 7% of all gamers) were examined, they were more likely to quote fun and excitement as motivations evidencing intrinsic motivation, whilst less committed gamers were more likely to report filling time and playing with friends (extrinsic motivators). Furthermore, when main and secondary motivations were taken together, the vast majority of gamers (86%) reported fun as a motivator, and 38% reported the challenge of the game as a motivator. However, passing time and relaxing and de-stressing remained significant factors (at 79% and 76% respectively), whilst using one‘s imagination and learning new things were less common factors (at 13% and 10% respectively). 3 Sherry et al reported a number of studies targeted at adolescent and young adult gamers with more than 1,000 participants. These studies recorded very different motivation profiles from the ISFE survey, with competition, challenge, social interaction, passing time or de-stressing, fantasy and arousal frequently reported. The factor of challenge was reported most frequently, followed by arousal. 3, 21 Sherry et al also found that video games were enjoyed most when the level and speed of the game matched the players‘ optimal mental and motor capacity, a view supported by Vorderer et al. It appeared that this synergy is closely linked with ―flow‖; and enjoyment was reported frequently in their research. These findings supported their earlier assertion that ―video games possess ideal characteristics to create and maintain flow‖. 14,15,21,23 Interestingly, Hainey et al recently suggested that the findings by Sherry et al indicated that Flow has a strong influence on other motivations. Nakamura and Csikszentmihalyi found that the rewarding nature of the flow experience motivates individuals to try and replicate it. These findings would appear to indicate that the likelihood of games to induce a flow experience may be part of the reason they are so compelling, and for the motivational reasons for playing given by the gamers in three of the aforementioned studies. 5,8,17 Hainey et al conducted an analysis of higher education (HE) students conducted over four years and involving 2226 participants with an average age of 26.54 years. Of those who reported playing games, their average time spent playing games per week was 7.46 hours, making them committed

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users according to the ISFE 2010 survey classifications. Hainey et al also found ―challenge‖ to be the most common motivation for playing video games. However, they did not find the element of Fantasy to be a common motivator, finding it to be ranked lowest by participants. 3,5 Interestingly, although the study by Hainey et al identified gender differences in playing time and in ranking the importance of different motivations, there appeared to be no gender difference in the motivational reasons for playing games. Nevertheless, the researchers did find that participants who preferred multi-player games rated challenge, cooperation, recognition and control as more important motivations than their single player game playing contemporaries. Online players also reported experiencing more challenge from playing games than their offline counterparts. Interestingly, online players also played longer than offline players, which may be explained by the link between challenge and experiencing flow, as cited by Csikszentmihalyi. 14 The studies of Sherry et al and Hainey et al would appear to evidence that ―younger‖ gamers play games because of an intrinsic motivation to do so. This argument links well to the finding by Przybylski et al, that playing games helped to fulfil the player‘s need for competence and autonomy. According to Deci and Ryan, competency and autonomy enhance intrinsic motivation. Interestingly, Shernoff et al argued that an individuals‘ skill level closely matching the challenge is a key factor in experiencing flow - further suggesting that this balance is difficult to achieve. By contrast, if the player‘s understanding and abilities are not up to the task, apathy, anxiety or relaxation may be experienced rather than flow. This would indicate that achieving this balance is important for sustained engagement. 8, 17, 21, 24, 25 Given that aptitudes in general terms vary between the different genders and many video games use aptitudes that are more prevalent in the male population, this could potentially explain the different lengths of time the different genders play games. Despite this, it is generally desirable for learning to be driven by intrinsic rather than extrinsic motivation. Since both genders report intrinsic motivations, there is a temptation to propose that gaming may be a useful medium for skills development among younger people, although Hainey et al purported that educational games may be more suitable for male learners than for female ones. 8, 26 Although Malone and Lepper suggested that computer games are an effective learning tool for learners, and argued that there is therefore a potential for their application to the educational context, Hainey et al argued that the weight of research evidence suggests that skills enhancements mediated by games play is more likely to be to ―lower level attentional and visual perceptual activities than higher level skills‖. 12 There may be exceptions to this assertion: in particular, Van Deventer and White found that gaming enabled gamers to acquire expert skills; and Steinkuehler and Duncan observed online players evidencing higher order scientific reasoning skills in their discussions. Cordova and Lepper also observed that students learning using games outperformed students using more traditional methods, and that their control, context, curiosity and challenge increased. Other researchers such as Becker argued that games can be adapted to support a more diverse range of learning styles, in contrast with traditional teaching methods. Serious games* also provide evidence of the application of gaming to learning. 1, 9, 27-30

* Games which have been designed to facilitate learning, skills acquisition, provide training or support attitudinal and hence behavioural change. 8

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4: Negatives aspects of gaming Violence in video games has been the subject of extensive research. Anderson and Bushman researched the analysis from 33 independent tests involving 3,033 participants, and concluded that playing violent video games increased aggression. In more recent research, Bijvank et al concluded that violent video games were a risk factor for aggression in young men of below-average academic ability. 31, 32 However, Emes concluded that although some research indicated that gaming or watching games preceded violent or aggressive behaviour, the researchers concerned had only examined behaviours shortly after exposure. Furthermore, Emes stated that the reliability and validity of the procedures used to measure aggression were questionable. Ferguson also contested the conclusions drawn by researchers such as Anderson and Bushman, arguing that their correlation was created by publication bias…and that when the results were corrected for this, such research did not support the hypothesis that video games increased aggression. 33, 34 Furthermore, Jansz hypothesised that violent video games may actually support positive emotional development by providing the gamer with an ―emotional laboratory‖ to learn safely from experiencing positive and negative emotions and acting on them. Interestingly, Przybylski et al found that graphic violence did not necessarily produce feelings of enjoyment (once competence and autonomy were taken into account). This - along with the finding that the motivation to play games is intrinsic; along with the Theory of Flow Experience - would appear to support this hypothesis, as does the work of Emes, and of Fontana and Beckerman. The context proposed by Jansz would also appear to support the development of an optimistic attribution style and hence empowerment. This style of learning would appear to foster the development of an internal locus of control: the belief that negative outcomes can be unstable and temporary, and a belief that one‘s will can impact on the outcome. 8,14,19, 25, 28, 33, 35

Addiction is probably the other most commonly perceived negative aspect of gaming that is closely linked to motivation. Indeed, Bozarth defined addiction in terms of motivational toxicity, and describes it as a motivation for one thing that is so strong that it prevents the individual reacting to other motivational stimuli. Interestingly, it was reported in the ISFE 2010 survey that committed gamers also engage in a range of other leisure pursuits, suggesting that addiction is not common in the sample of committed gamers who participated in the survey. Addiction has been the subject of research, although often in conjunction with other addictions or addictive behaviours or in relation to specific types of video games. 3, 36 Parker et al explored addiction-related behaviour (internet use and gambling as well as video gaming) in adolescents in the context of emotional intelligence (EI). They found that EI scores could be used to predict addiction-related behaviours, including excessive gaming. They also found that a poor score on the interpersonal dimension of EI was the strongest indicator, although they were unable to predict if this was an antecedent or consequence of the addiction-related behaviour. 37 Hainey et al stated that online gamers experienced significant levels of competition and cooperation and rated these as important motivations. Sherry et al observed that competition and social interaction were among the most frequently reported motivations for playing video games. Both studies indicated that the gamers surveyed had at least a reasonable degree of EI on the interpersonal dimension. It may be suggested that they were less predisposed to addiction than others. 8, 21

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However in relation to online gamers specifically, the exploration by Kim et al of addiction to online games was concluded with the assumption that, ―certain psychological characteristics such as aggression, self-control, and narcissistic personality traits may predispose some individuals to become addicted to online games.‖ This is an indication that a proportion of the population may be susceptible to addiction. 38 Lee and LaRose (who explored gaming in the context of Bandura‘s social cognitive theory of selfregulation, and Csikszentmihalyi‘s theory of flow experience) concluded, ―Concern about video game addiction may be exaggerated and that excessive video game play should be self-correctable for most people.‖ The fact that Bozarth‘s description of addiction frames it as an extreme extrinsic motivation - whilst most committed gamers are motivated intrinsically - may explain this finding. However,Ryan and Deci‘s assertion that intrinsic motivation can be switched off by a powerful extrinsic motivator would appear to contradict this. 10, 14, 36, 39-41 Interestingly, Phillips et al found that the individuals who had high scores on their addiction rating scale were more likely to use video gaming to avoid other activities than any other reason, indicating that they were extrinsically motivated. That said, they further argued that their profile (of results) evidenced secondary addiction rather than primary addiction, and they reported that there was insufficient data to classify this group as having a ―home video game addiction‖. (So it is possible that their sample of participants did not include anyone who was actually addicted to computer games.) The above findings (in relation to the primary motivation for playing), are mirrored by those of Billieux et al, and of Hellstrom et al. Altogether, these findings may therefore provide a potential mechanism for identifying at-risk individuals. 20, 42, 43

5: Conclusions Video gaming is an extremely popular leisure. When all of an individual‘s motivations to play video games are considered, it has been found that Fun - an intrinsic motivation - is the most prevalent motivation among the gamers who have participated in surveys conducted by researchers cited in this literature review. The profile of gamers is in a state of flux: although the demographic is widening, nowadays, more people who are described as gamers engage in gaming on a periodic rather than regular basis. Furthermore, the primary motivation for playing video games of these periodic gamers is different from the primary motivations reported by regular and in particular committed gamers. Periodic gamers report extrinsic factors as their primary motivation; whilst regular and committed gamers report that they are primarily motivated intrinsically. Competency and autonomy enhance intrinsic motivation, hence why the fact that games fulfil players‘ need for competency and autonomy may explain why motivations are most commonly intrinsic for regular gamers. The ―flow‖ experience may explain in part why games are so compelling. The concept of a challenge is closely linked to the flow experience, and it is also the most prevalent motivation reported by committed gamers. Online players also experience more challenge than their offline counterparts, which may explain why they play games for longer as they are more likely to experience flow. Challenge, cooperation, recognition and control are also more important to players of multi-player games, than to their single player game-playing contemporaries. Achieving a synergy between the level and speed of the game and the mental and motor capacity of the player is the important aspect of challenge, in order for enjoyment and persistence to be realised. This synergy links closely to the concept of experiencing flow, but it is difficult to achieve and if the

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wrong balance is struck players may experience apathy, anxiety or relaxation rather than flow. In these circumstances engagement with the game is often not sustained. General aptitudes vary between genders, and many video games require the use of aptitudes that are more prevalent in the male population. This may explain why males generally play games for longer periods of time than females. The intrinsic motivation to play games makes them a potentially fertile medium for learning, but this potential has not been fully explored or tapped to date. Although there is research that links playing or watching violent video games to the negative expression of aggression and violence, the validity of this research has been called into question. There is also research evidence to suggest that violent games provide a safe medium for gamers to learn about the consequences of violent actions through experience, and may help gamers to develop self-monitoring and coping mechanisms (a hypothesis supported by the Theory of Flow Experience and Attribution Theory). Although true addiction is a major concern, evidence suggests that it does not affect a large proportion of the video gaming population. The modern gaming experience would also appear to provide opportunities for gamers to develop their interpersonal emotional intelligence, which should in turn reduce their risk of engaging in addiction-related behaviours. However, given that addiction is also related to specific personality traits, gamers with these personality traits are still at higher risk of developing an addiction to video games. If avoiding or escaping from other activities is the primary motivation for playing video games, there may be an increased risk of engaging in addiction-related behaviours, and this assertion may be used for identifying at-risk individuals.

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A sociological exploration of a female character in the Metroid videogames series Katherine Roberts School of Social Sciences, University of the West of Scotland, Paisley, Renfrewshire, United Kingdom PA1 2BE

Article Information Received: April 2012 Accepted: July 2012 Available: online November 2012 Keywords: functionalism, interactionism, Metroid, female videogame characters, stereotype, user feedback

Abstract Within the industry of videogames, the customers can have a substantial effect on the games, which are further developed. The users of videogames can be vocal in their approval and disapproval, and in their suggestions on future implementation and changes. It has been demonstrated that their comments and requests have a direct effect on the next game, or future game, to be produced. The players are not passive receptors to videogames media, but active participants in a mutual relationship with those who create the videogames that they play. This paper provides an exploration of videogames, and on how their use are significantly embedded in the portrayal of female characters, in that portrayals and stereotypes can be (and are) both reinforced and challenged, and are in perpetual modes of creation and recreation through dynamics of interaction between game developers and gamers themselves. This study focused on the portrayal and perceptions surrounding the female character Samus Aran, the main protagonist featured in two of the Metroid games series: Metroid Prime and Metroid: Other M. Opinions regarding Samus Aran were sourced from online forum websites and games magazines including IGN.com, EDGE magazine and Metacritic.com. The evidence suggests that the videogame players‘ opinions and requests for various gameplay elements did influence the Metroid developers‘ later designs and modifications to the Samus Aran character in later versions. Abbreviations FPS - first-person shooter; RTS - real-time strategy; RPG - role-playing game; MMO - massively multiplayer online; MUD - multi-user dungeon (sometimes called a multi-user domain); MMORPG - massively multiplayer online role-playing game. (e.g. World of Warcraft); 3D - three dimensional; 2D - two dimensional; NPC - non-player character; PC - generally, personal computer, may also mean player character; NES - Nintendo Entertainment System; SNES - Super Nintendo Entertainment System; GBA - GameBoy Advance. NB: some quotations in this paper have been censored or edited. Copyright of the author ©2011-12 • Reproduction rights owned by The Computer Games Journal Ltd ©2012-14

1: Introduction The advent and rise in popularity and proliferation of videogames has resulted in some interesting changes in the way female videogame characters are portrayed, both in physical appearance and otherwise. Although there have been numerous studies regarding certain aspects of the portrayal of

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the female in videogames, there has been limited examination into the patterns of change within an era, a genre, or even within a singular game series; and in particular how these changes are the effect of the feedback loop between videogame users and videogame developers/producers. This study is an exploration of the latter issue, and focuses on the iconic Metroid series published by Nintendo, a series with a strong and ever-present lead female character named Samus Aran. The aim was to examine the nature of the changes to this female lead character over time, in order to ascertain whether or not these changes resulted from the feedback given by critics and users. The reception of the Metroid games by players was examined by identifying comments by online game critics, reviewers writing for specialist publications, and comments from individual gamers. This exercise employed an analytical framework, which placed emphasis on a ―bottom-up‖ interactionist approach, rather than a ―top-down‖ structuralist approach. Whereas a ―top-down‖ approach sees a superstructure hovering over society and determining everything below it (e.g. structuralist models), the reverse applies for a ―bottom-up‖ approach like interactionism, where all of society is understood as emerging from its basic units (individuals and their actions). It was therefore considered more suitable to frame a research question from an interactionist point of view rather than, for instance, a functionalist approach. The latter considers norms to be established or socialised at an early age and are thus permanent fixtures of a society's function. This would imply that once a game is created, it would not then evolve. However, there is much evidence to contradict such a model. Video games are in constant modes of evolution and change. This research was an attempt to explore to what extent the transformations that a game undergoes may be the result of the interactive dynamics between users and game developers - where information being fed or streamed to the player is negotiated, interpreted, contested - and in turn fed back into future game development. This specific approach to the analysis of gaming dynamics has not received much attention: there is no known research background from this particular point of view. The methodology was drawn from research of this nature applied to other areas of media, particularly that of visual media. The empirical investigation focuses on revealing how the embodiment of the lead character is in constant change, according to the modifications undergone in each instalment of the game series.

2: Functionalism and Interactionism A central theme in sociology concerns exploring the possible reasons why individuals' actions and practices are similar to one another. It is widely acknowledged within sociological circles that it is the social environment, which determines such similarity, by 'socialising' individuals to the ways and norms of a particular culture. Two prominent theories of socialisation are Functionalism and Interactionism. According to the functionalist theory, individuals are thought to be socialised to the norms of a culture in the early years of infancy in which individuals internalise the core of the normative system of a group or society. Such socialisation is understood as essential for the functioning and integration of society. This includes the internalisation of social norms: rules are individually internalised and then acted upon, and these norms become part of each individual's personality. Functionalism is an individualistic approach, in that it envisages individuals as having internalised a set of beliefs, which are then continuously acted upon in an individual fashion. What directs someone‘s behaviour is what he/she individually believes to be right or wrong; appropriate or inappropriate. Similarities also emerge

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because individuals also similarly internalise social status, roles and sanctions, which are evident in the mutual expectations of how people ought to behave. Therefore, according to a functionalist model, individuals agree and reach a consensus, because each individual has equally internalised the set of norms and values prevalent in a specific social environment. 1 With the interactionist point of view, individuals are in a permanent mode of socialisation. That is, socialisation happens throughout their lives and not only in early childhood as argued by functionalists. Instead, emphasis is placed on every interaction between individuals, and is therefore an ongoing continuous creative process. Therefore, for interactionists, the most relevant aspects of social life are the dynamics of interaction, where definitions of reality are learned, used, contested, and sustained by individuals - that is, their meanings, interpretations, and how they are disputed and negotiated. Central points of the interactionist account include an emphasis on the self as a core concept. Socialisation processes form a thinking, reasoning, and acting 'self' where the 'actors' reflect on their own actions and the way others respond to them. Interactionism is a form of social constructionism, where individuals are faced with situations, which they have to 'interpret'. A significant point for interactionist accounts of social dynamics is their focus on the creative capacity of individuals, where cultural norms and rules are not given determinants of individual action, but are continually built up and broken down among individuals as they interact. Thus socialisation is not the internalisation of pre-existing fixed norms and values, but a process of internalisation, where pre-existing norms and values keep being renegotiated and changed in every encounter. It follows from this that interactionism places its emphasis on change, and how human cultures and the organisation of social life are in permanent flux. 2 Such permanent interpretation and signification does not, however, prevent or halt the emergence of social order. For social interactionists, social sanctioning is central to the stabilisation of social life. Thus, the mutual monitoring of behaviour, for interactionists, involves all parties to 'frame' the meaning of a given situation and appropriate behaviour. In simpler language, we 'construct' our realities as we interact. Another important aspect is the seeking of approval from others, where stability, social order and social agreement are achieved via social sanctioning processes. In these processes, individuals are mutually susceptible to signs of approval and disapproval from other individuals in their immediate social environment, and particularly from those individuals who possess specific social 'statuses' (e.g. parents, teachers, bosses, and 'popular' friends). 1 Erving Goffman's theory (which will be expanded upon in further sections due to its relevance to this research) regarding the presentation of the self is central to this interactionist account. It has been argued by Goffman, in particular, that a focus on mutual sanctioning mechanisms - both positive and negative in nature - is vital to our understanding of social interactions: positive sanctions encourage particular forms of behaviour; whereas, negative sanctions discourage other forms. 3 Sanctioning can be explicit (in the forms of laws, norms, and cultural beliefs); or diffuse in the forms of gossip, ostracism, satire, and ridicule. Meanings are constituted through micro-interactive processes and individuals. Appearance and bodily practices are central to this interaction process. Social interaction is governed by a shared code of embodied practices where we become what we see reflected in others. According to Goffman, we are perpetually performing roles to present our 'selves'. The body is constantly produced, sustained and presented in everyday life in and through a variety of socially regulated activities and practices. Thus the body is fashioned, crafted, negotiated and manipulated always in relation to ritualised social situations. 3,4

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This embodied information takes place during face-to-face interaction, which in public is highly coded and regulated. Social 'norms' emerge from this embodied interaction: what is considered 'normal' or 'deviant' is often embodied. In what is called embodied stigmatisation, the body provides clues to 'inconsistencies of character' (e.g. blushing, stuttering, flatulence, etc.). Here, embodied 'signs' with potential to damage the self and social integrity of an individual are stigmatised. Bodily stigmas are thus a metaphor for that which is socially unacceptable, ridicule being the main 'diffuse' negative social sanctioning. Embarrassment is also a universal emotional reaction. Interactionists therefore highlight that attention to the management of embodied impressions is important, in order to maintain the integrity of social interaction and for one to avoid becoming discredited or disgraced. 3,5 It is from this interactionist approach that this research was conducted, especially in accordance with Goffman's theory regarding the embodied representation of self. Interactionism is particularly suited to the aim of this research as was evident through this empirical investigation - in particular, via two main aspects: it is through interaction that individuals learn, share, negotiate, contest or reinforce meanings, knowledge, norms or any aspects of social life; and, individuals do so in an effort to enhance their self-image, mostly through embodied images of self. 3 The result of this dynamic is that an individual's activity is constantly implicated in constituting new forms of social reality. This is the framework that informs an empirical investigation of the changes to a female videogame character.

3: General introduction to media Since video-gaming is a form of media, it is important to examine the media itself, beginning with the introduction of some basic aspects:

3.1: Different analyses of media Traditionally, media studies have focussed on power dynamics and the production of cultural stereotypes, as well as the ideological manipulation of the population. However, other analyses of media have stressed a different understanding of its dynamics in relation to its reception, in particular that there is less of a one-way communication, rather more of a mutual influence. It is this second analysis of media, which is considered more relevant to this study, since it embraces the interactive and multi-input nature of media use. 6

3.2: Marxist vs. Interactionist views on media Whereas traditional Marxists view media as a tool wielded by the powerful (in which consumers of media are passive recipients of ideological messages), interactionists place emphasis on the presence of a more mutual influence of media on the consumer - and vice versa. From the interactionist point of view, the receptor of messages is not seen as a passive agent, but rather one who has an active influence on the media messages themselves. 7 The approach to this study is taken from an interactionist perspective, in order to explore the connections and mutual influence between the consumer and the media developers.

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3.3: Functionalist view of media The functionalist view of media offers the opinion that media informs and confers status to people. Media is proclaimed to serve several functions in society (e.g., surveillance, status control, enforcer of social norms, socialisation and the transmission of culture). Additionally, there is the 'narcotising' function of media, where the public is 'narcotised' by being overloaded with information or stimuli, which then leads to a population that is desensitised and superficial, and content to know rather than do. 8 It is this latter view, which is most often applied to the study of videogames media and to the negative connotations involved in desensitised and potentially behaviour-altering consequences. Although potentially one-sided in its perspective, this kind of argument understands the relationship between media and the consumer as the consumer being both the passive recipient of media, and as being susceptible to being ‗acted upon‘ (or influenced and also able to ‗act‘ in turn on the bases of what has been imposed on him/her). Increasingly, media studies implicitly reflect that the relationship between the media and the consumer is not so one-sided. The functionalist view on media has been considered in this study, since it reveals there is more to be learned from changes in media and its growing utilisation of interaction in various media forms. (Nevertheless, this sociological perspective was not considered as suited to this research as interactionism.) 8

3.4: Symbolic Interactionist view of media The interactionist perspective argues that individuals create shared symbols in society. According to this view, the media then uses persuasion techniques, which make viewers think in certain ways about said symbols, and they react accordingly. The symbolic interactionist perspective directs people to consider the symbols and details of everyday life, what these symbols mean, and how people interact with each other. According to this perspective, people attach meanings to symbols, and then act according to their subjective interpretation of these symbols. Thus, symbolic interactionists give serious thought to how people act, and then seek to determine what meanings individuals assign to their own actions and symbols, as well as to those of others. As opposed to focusing on what is portrayed in the media, symbolic interactionists are interested more in how people interpret and use the messages sent out by the media. Interactionists are interested in the meanings people derive from media messages and how those meanings are created in and through social interactions. Society attaches general meanings to symbols, although individuals also maintain their own perceptions of what these symbols mean. 9 Back in 1933, Herbert Blumer conducted research on young people and cinema, and the latter's ability to influence the creation of role models based on stereotypes. His study suggested that films taught individuals certain attitudes, hairstyles, behaviours and mannerisms, etc. In this study, the embodiment of the female lead character in a videogame series is investigated using the symbolic interactionist perspective, which shares some parallels with Blumer's research (e.g. cinema and videogames are both visual forms of media). It should be emphasised that interactionism does not see media consumers as passive receptors, but as users actively engaging in the reception and constitution of media messages. 10 The interactionist approach proves useful to analysing the media of videogames. The school of symbolic interactionism includes views and tools, which appear to be vital to the study of aspects of videogaming in general, due to its interactive nature.

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4: Introduction to videogaming 4.1: Videogames and immersion A videogame is a type of game that uses computer hardware and software accompanied by user interaction via electronic data input, to manipulate images and generate visual feedback on a video or display device. The specific nature of this form of games is that it involves interactive dynamics between the game and the user, where the player is provided with a set of possibilities, and whereby the player has the capacity to react and make choices regarding consequences. Videogames' unique nature is that it is constitutive of, or 'plays' with, virtual realities where players can adopt a persona by virtual means. This results in what is termed 'immersion': in all games a main character or avatar (a person, creature, object) represents the player, and directs the action. This is how the player becomes part of the game, by adopting the persona (which is an active role) in the game (even in games where manipulation is not visually evident). The game can do little or nothing without the user's input; the game does not play itself. A basic requirement of video games is for a player or players to interact with it. This dynamic of interaction is the most significant aspect of videogames. 4.2: Interactive media as distinct from other media Whereas other forms of media can be said to be passive (passively absorbed or witnessed by the spectator/consumer) (e.g. audio recordings or transmissions, visual recordings or transmissions, or printed works/words), the prime trait, which separates video-gaming from other forms of media, is that it involves direct interaction from the player/viewer/listener/consumer. All videogames require involvement and participation to varying degrees, and all input generated from the consumer directly affects further events or actions in the videogame media being used. It is in this way that videogaming is the epitome of interactive media. With ongoing developments and advances in computer technology, the interactive dimension of this medium continues to progress at a great pace, and is changing continually. 4.3: History of videogames: emergence and evolution of its interactive nature 11-15 The origin of videogames occurred in the late 1940s, with simple games being developed during the 1950s. By the late 1960s, videogames were becoming more sophisticated and complex. The videogame industry has humble beginnings, with individuals using university mainframe computers to create programs, often clandestinely. These students created computer games solely for the joy of making them, and received no financial reward or support. The rapidly evolving home computers of the 1970s and 1980s enabled computer owners to program simple games. An important point should be emphasised here: from the beginning, the users/players have exercised control over games and how the user should interact. The interaction was programmed into the game by the players themselves. Establishment of different types of videogames in the 1980s The 1980s witnessed a proliferation of videogame types and titles. Most videogames in the 1980s required standard levels of interaction on the part of the user. That is, the player would control the action in the game by use of a control pad, joystick or keyboard buttons. These games were single-

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player games, where one user at a time could play the game. Some examples of these game genres include (i) adventure games; (ii) 'beat 'em up' games; (iii) maze games; (iv) platform games; (v) roleplaying games; (vi) racing games; (vii) stealth games; (viii) shooting games; (ix) survival horror games, and (x) vehicle simulation games. Some categories later became combined, such as the platform-adventure genre. The original Metroid (1986) game falls into that category. Other videogames, which were created and made popular in this decade, had different aspects of interaction other than the single-player capability or standard controls. For example, games such as Karate Champ (1984) allowed two players to go head to head in combat, while other titles such as Mario Bros. (1983) allowed two users to engage in simultaneous cooperative play. Multiplayer games evolved from this basic gaming ability for more than one player to work together towards common gaming objectives. Another example of videogames that set themselves apart during this time period were rhythm games such as Dance Aerobics (1987), which allowed players to create music by stepping on Nintendo's Power Pad peripheral. It has been called the first rhythm-action game, and was an innovation in game/player interaction. The results of this progression of interactivity are evident in today's many Nintendo Wii peripheral controllers and motion sensors; Sony's PlayStation and Microsoft's Xbox 360 have also recently developed and released similar interactive controllers and motion sensor devices. 1990s and beyond The videogame industry matured into a mainstream form of entertainment in the 1990s. Thus began a decade of innovation that gave rise to several genres of games, such as: (i) the first-person shooter (FPS); (ii) real-time strategy (RTS), and (iii) massively multiplayer online games (MMO). Before the end of the decade, the evolution of the genre continued through 'graphical MUDs' into the first MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online role-playing games), which brought persistent virtual worlds to the mass market. Internet multiplayer capability became a requirement in almost all FPS games. Few new genres have been created since the advent of the FPS and RTS, with the possible exception of the third-person shooter, which still retains the basic elements of an FPS. Nintendo's interactive revolution Console gaming largely followed the trend established by Sony's PlayStation toward increasingly complex, sophisticated, and adult-oriented game-play. This trend in hardcore console gaming would partially be reversed with the release of the Wii by Nintendo. Emphasis on interactive gameplay turned comparatively simple games into unlikely runaway hits, e.g. Wii Sports (2006), and Wii Fit (2008). The ways in which gamers interacted with videogames changed dramatically, especially with Nintendo's wholesale embrace of motion control as a standard method of interaction. Microsoft and Sony have since each released their own motion controllers, the Kinect and PlayStation Move, respectively. 4.4: 'Who plays?' - the gender balance of consumers One of the most significant aspects of videogames is the nature of its users. Chiefly, these aspects concern age and gender. It is frequently considered of vital importance to examine 'who' plays. While age is an important consideration, this study focuses on the other important aspect, the gender. Most studies that investigate the gender of videogame players agree that the ratio of male to female players is unbalanced, with the majority of users being male. More recent studies, however, observe that the number of female players is indeed growing, and is likely to continue doing so. In addition to

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the gender balance of consumers, many of these studies also focus on different aspects of the issue of gender. 16 For example, Schott and Horrell's study on female gamers and the gaming culture addressed female players of games, rather than females in games. Through interviews and ethnographic game-play observations, their study revealed that female gamers possess a different playing orientation and style of play. However, a study by Griffiths et al (Breaking the Stereotype) not only revealed that the average gamer is not indeed the stereotypical teenage reclusive boy (but rather, gamers span all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds as well as both genders). Their research also challenges research that focuses on the negative aspects of gamers and the gaming culture. 17, 18 In another study conducted in Hamburg by Reinecke et al, qualitative interview methods were used in order to examine the attitudes of female videogame players, and not just their demographic number. This study also includes aspects of identification with the female avatar or female non-player characters (these are most commonly referred to as NPCs). 19 Bryce and Rutter's study regarding the gendering of computer gaming looked at how gaming 'spaces' vary between genders, and how there is a blurring of boundaries between domestic and public leisure spaces. Their paper argues that there are still in existence constraints in gaming spaces along gendered lines. Hartmann and Klimmt's German study Gender and Computer Games examined the dislikes of German female game players, rather than a comparison of numbers of male to female players. The portrayal of the female is included in this study, but most game preferences mentioned by the study participants revolve around other game-play elements, objectives and content. In a study conducted by Futurelab in Bristol (based on researching how gaming might be used to support children's learning), a review of the role of gender in computer gaming was undertaken. It was revealed that not only is there a rising proportion of female gamers, but this might be related to increases in social gaming in both online and offline multiplayer options (including games on social networking sites). 20, 21 Other studies include The First Noble Truth of Cyberspace (by Schiano and White), which describes the experiences of players in a MUD (multi-user domain/dungeon) environment, and integrates aspects of gender as related to both consumers in the proportionality of male to female players, and characters, based on character gender selection. 22 4.5: 'Who gets played?' - The gender balance of characters Another significant publication was Still a Man’s Game: Gender Representation in Online Reviews of Video Games, written by Ivory. This study investigated gender representation in online reviews. The reviews used in this study were taken from a series of game reviews on the website Gamespot (http://uk.gamespot.com/), which was the only source used. Ivory‘s findings suggested that females in videogames were found to be underrepresented and proportionally more sexualised than their male counterparts. The study also pointed toward using reviews as a promising area for future study. Additionally, this study looks at a multitude of games reviews (one hundred were selected) from various genres using one site for reviews. 23 The research behind this paper is different in that only one game series was investigated, and reviews and opinions concerning the game were sourced from multiple sources, from both online and in printed publications.

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Another literature source is the study, Shirts vs. Skins, written by Beasley and Standley. In their study, the authors concluded that clothing was used as an indicator of gender role stereotyping in videogames. They examined the physical portrayal of the female as compared to the male, although factors other than dress were only mentioned briefly. 24 4.6: Reception and evaluation When investigating studies on consumer reception and evaluation regarding gendered aspects of videogames, it was found that much of the material comprises articles, opinions and polls pertaining to the 'top' or 'best' female game characters. Such forms of consumer evaluation are easy to find, yet their rankings tend to be varied, i.e. one opinion poll or article cannot be held to be indicative or definitive without further investigation and comparison with similar polls or articles. 25 - 28 Included in this category of polls and opinions are reviews given by journalists and videogames industry press, such as interviews conducted with videogame industry developers, or reviews by videogaming publications like EDGE magazine, and videogame industry websites such as Eurogamer (http://www.eurogamer.net/). Most reviews or articles conducted with gender as its focus, or touching at some point on gender issues, concern the embodied portrayal of the female in videogames media mostly via physical representation in a single instance and not a series. Some authors and journalists have taken interesting viewpoints and consideration of such factors as race and character motivation/ambition in addition to gender. However, none of their views served to be representative of a series or genre, or examines the dynamics of change and interaction exclusively. 29 - 32 4.7: Gender stereotypes in videogames Previous studies such as Shirts vs. Skins tend to use limited criteria to gauge gender role stereotyping: in their particular research, clothing was used as the primary indicator. Alternately, some theorists such as Bryce and Rutter claimed that many studies examining gender stereotyping tend to centre on a single unchanging figure, such as the character Lara Croft from the videogame series Tomb Raider. Some other studies, such as one by Burn et al, explored interesting changes in patterns of gender, age, ethnicity and sexual orientation in character selection and how many stereotypes are continually reconfigured - primarily that of the stereotype of the typical videogame player being an adolescent male. 24, 33 - 35 4.8: Masculinity ―Hegemonic masculine norms‖ in character gender selection - particularly in MMOs (massively multiplayer online videogames) - is a topic, which was examined by Daric Thorne. Thorne explored the gendered construction of identity exploration (the choice of gender in gaming avatars). He defined hegemonic masculinity as a normative system "which encourages aggressiveness, strength, drive, ambition, and self-reliance", and noted that structures which serve to reinforce these aspects may devalue feminine or other non-masculine characteristics. The resulting objectification of anything (or anyone) non-masculine in nature can then transfer into videogames from reality via games developers and players themselves, in an effort to reinforce or maintain their perceived masculine identity, echoing Goffman's theory regarding the enhancement of self-image. According to Thorne, in most cases females are underrepresented in player base samples than males, possibly because ―women were sexually objectified by a majority male audience‖. 36, 37

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4.9: Femininity As pertaining to femininity, the article The Next Frontier (by Meloni) exploreed female gaming demographics, and revolved mainly around women as a marketing target, as consumers (both as purchasers and players). Bryce and Rutter noted that there is a general lack of female characters in videogames, and those that are present are highly sexualised and prone to stereotyping. Cassell claimed that females may feel alienated due to the lack of characters available with which they can identify. This in turn has led to a movement within the videogaming industry, regarding both hardware and software, often termed as ―pink it and shrink it‖ - where such items as pink gaming consoles, or games with a doll theme, are produced in an effort to capture more of the female market. 38 - 42

5: Research aim and hypothesis While there has been research involving the analysis of female characters, no specific analyses (of how consumers have an impact on what is subsequently produced) were found in the literature or online. This study was an endeavour to fill a specific gap, investigating to which extent there has been a dual direction in the changes in the Metroid videogames series. The guiding research question is whether or not consumers have an impact on the transformation of the videogames. This paper focuses on the evolution of gender aspects, by investigating a specific female character within a specific game series. The focus on gender is a means of investigating a general question about the mutual influence between users and developers. The research question invites further questions, for instance: what are the changing narratives of female videogame characters? What do these changes mean, signify or represent? Most importantly, how do game players influence these changing narratives? Indeed, Bryce and Rutter concluded that the gendered aspects of videogaming are a "complex and rapidly evolving issue", which need researched within a wider social context. 33 Research to date has focussed on many aspects of videogaming, ranging from demographic studies of players, player profiling, behaviour studies, profiles of specific single games, and many others some of which are briefly mentioned above. This paper is an exploration of the dual direction of change between videogame players and videogame developers, in an effort to demonstrate the hypothesis that changes in a female videogame character are influenced by the players. The research aim is to show a feedback loop of interaction, a mutual influence of gamers and developers upon one another through videogames media. The research aim and hypothesis are built on the assumption that the changes in the videogames series in this study can be discussed usefully, with respect to the changing portrayal of the embodiment of the female characters. The (i) effect of changes to female videogame characters upon the responses among the videogame gamer; and (ii) the effects of these responses on the next generation or instalment of games in the series, were studied. This is conducted by examining press reviews and gamer opinions expressed via forums and/or polls, in order to gain a clearer understanding of the progression of change over time as evident in each subsequent instalment of a game in the series chosen for the purpose of this study.

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6: Methodology 6.1: Review of feedback and commentary The methodology was based on the above research question concerning the interactive and mutual feedback loop between users and game developers, and hence attempts to demonstrate evidence of this. Information was elicited via analysis of existing secondary data including online and printed sources of both critics and users of games. The Metroid series of videogames was chosen for several important reasons. Metroid was one of the first videogames to feature a lead female character, and the way this character was revealed caused a huge impact on videogame players. As one user commented: "Something that surprised me was that Samus is a girl. It is kind of weird that a girl would destroy so many creatures and bosses." (IGN user review, 24 April 2009 43) Another reason the Metroid series was selected was due to its longevity in the videogame industry, and the fact that nearly a dozen games have been produced in this series over a 25-year lifespan. These attributes, along with others, have contributed to Metroid's success and reputation. Due to the nature of this research, the nature of the medium and the subject of this study, most of the sources were found online rather than in academic books or journals (i.e. secondary sources of data). Primary data from gamers was gathered via online fora and message boards. The empirical investigation consists of varying means of analysing data, including discourse analysis. Discourse analysis takes words and deconstructs them in the sense that it tells us why people use the words they do, e.g. adjectives and descriptions, and not others, and additionally what these descriptions tell us. Their use is believed to be the means of conveying a particular ideology. 31, 44 For the purpose of making the study manageable, it was decided to focus on two iconic games within the Metroid franchise: Metroid Prime (2002), and Metroid: Other M (2010). There are several reasons why these particular games were selected: although the Metroid videogame series began in 1986 with Metroid on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), at that point in time, widespread accessibility and usage of the internet was still in its relative infancy. Online resources and discussion forum/message boards were not in widespread use at that time, and therefore secondary data (e.g. reviews and user comments) are not readily available and/or accessible. 45 From the point in time of the release of Metroid Prime in 2002, internet usage had then become mainstream, and there is a wealth of data available from which to sample and review. Another reason for choosing Metroid Prime is that it was the first Metroid game to be developed in a first-person 3D perspective. There was much hype about this at the time, much anticipation, much apprehension and expectations to be fulfilled. It therefore received a large amount of attention both from critical press and from the gaming community at large. Metroid: Other M was chosen as it is the latest instalment in the Metroid series, having been published just last year in autumn of 2010. It is therefore the most recent release of any Metroid game, with the current incarnation of Samus Aran.

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Metroid: Other M was also chosen as it has developed the lead female character in a new and different way, i.e. Samus has undergone extensive character development by a different development team, Team Ninja. By comparing Metroid Prime and Metroid: Other M, it is hoped that the differences in the way Samus Aran is portrayed may be highlighted. The sources chosen to access data included: EDGE magazine: this is because, for its longevity and reputation among the gaming industry as being a reputable news and review source for gaming information, it becomes a rich and insightful source of data; IGN.com: because of its widespread popularity and usage and for its huge archive of both critic and user reviews; Eurogamer.com: because of its reputation as a reliable review and news source for the videogame community and industry it is also rich source of data. User comments, specifically from Metacritic.com, a user and critic review site that provides a summative and cumulative rating and review for a vast archive of individual videogames. This is a website that is often used as a benchmark to videogame players and producers alike, as success of a given game is often based on its Metacritic score. As mentioned, the research was initiated with a set general hypothesis, that videogame users and developers engage in a feedback loop of interaction, which has resulted in changes to the female lead character in a videogame series. However, the general categories under which this hypothesis was tested were left open-ended. This approach was chosen in order to prevent constraining the data to a biased account, and to allow the data to ―speak for itself‖, so that no important areas and categories ere excluded. As expected, the data categories began to change throughout the data gathering process, and some category themes were discarded later. Detailed spreadsheets of commentary from the above sources are contained in 18 appendices (appendices I through XVIII). 6.2: Categories Although a significantly large number of categories could have been used, it was decided to use those considered the more clearly emergent and more viable for stability of the data. These categories are: references to physical appearance: o Metroid Prime references in Appendix I; o Metroid: Other M references in Appendix II; references to mental attributes: o Metroid Prime references in Appendix III; o Metroid: Other M references in Appendix IV; references to weapons/tools/abilities: o Metroid Prime references in Appendix V; o Metroid: Other M references in Appendix VI;

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references to character action/character movement: o Metroid Prime references in Appendix VII; o Metroid: Other M references in Appendix VIII; references to labels: o Metroid Prime references in Appendix IX; o Metroid: Other M references in Appendix X; References to dialogue, voice and sound: o Metroid Prime references in Appendix XI; o Metroid: Other M references in Appendix XII; references to Samus in general (personality, traits, etc.): o Metroid Prime references in Appendix XIII; o Metroid: Other M references in Appendix XIV; user immersion/gender identification with Samus: o Metroid Prime references in Appendix XV; o Metroid: Other M references in Appendix XVI; and comments relating to previous game(s) or wishes for future game(s): o Metroid Prime references in Appendix XVII;and, o Metroid: Other M references in Appendix XVIII. Comments within these categories were also coded -, 0 or + (according to their positive, neutral or negative aspect respectively) with the following two variations: the ―user immersion/gender identification‖ category was also coded for the gender identity of the user/critic; and, in the ―comments relating to previous game(s) or wishes for future game(s)‖ category, comments were coded positive and negative for past game(s) and the current game; and the presence of a desire for change in future games was also indicated. Further identifying aspects were coded in order to help identify the specific data source (e.g. date, gender, game rating, general data source). However, some categories that were coded may not have been useful when analysing and making them connected to the research question. Hence they may appear in the chart but have not been analysed

7: History of Metroid 7.1: What is Metroid? As of 2011, the Metroid series consisted of eleven videogames spanning several generations of Nintendo consoles, from Metroid's original release on the NES in 1986, to the latest release of Metroid: Other M in 2010 on the Wii (see Appendix XIX). Each instalment of the Metroid series focuses on the adventures of Samus Aran and her various missions to protect the fictitious Galactic Federation by defeating an assortment of threats and enemies.

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The Metroid series is notable for having one of the first female protagonists in a videogame, as well as for its nonlinear game-play elements. In all Metroid games, the player controls Samus Aran, the lead protagonist. 7.2: Franchise history It is reported that midway through the development of the original Metroid, one staff member said to his fellow developers "Hey, wouldn't that be kind of cool if it turned out that this person inside the suit was a woman?" The idea was accepted, and thus Samus Aran, the female bounty hunter, was born.46 Throughout the history of this videogame series, there are numerous instances, which illustrate at least one aspect of this research. In 1999, Retro Studios, a developer based in Austin, Texas, was given the project for Metroid Prime. This was an exceptional occasion in which Nintendo allowed a high profile title to be developed by a studio outside of Japan. Metroid Prime, released in 2002 for the Nintendo GameCube, was the first Metroid game to introduce 3D and FPS elements to the series; and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption was the first game in the series to use extensive voice acting for some characters in the game. However, Samus remained a silent protagonist until Metroid: Other M. The fact that Samus has undergone such a significant change in a short span of time is of interest to my research. Metroid: Other M was released on the Wii on August 31, 2010. This title was co-developed by Team Ninja (a successful Japanese game developer) and Nintendo, and was directed by long-time series director Yoshio Sakamoto. As Sakamoto has been involved in nearly every Metroid title to date, this provides a consistent background aspect to this research. In other words, the changes that Metroid and Samus have undergone can be more directly attributable to an evolution of change (as the games have been directed or overseen by the same key personnel) and the feedback from videogame players, rather than attributing changes to the transfer of the Metroid franchise to a different developer for each title. 7.3: Developers / producers The central figures in the production and development of the Metroid series are: Yoshio Sakamoto, who has directed or supervised the development of all Metroid games (excluding Metroid II); Gunpei Yokoi, who headed the R&D1 team and produced the first three games before his death in 1997; Makoto Kano, who directed and designed the first three games; and Hiroji Kiyotake, who did the original designs for Metroid. The Metroid series has been primarily produced by Nintendo, and has been published by them exclusively. Many of these designers, producers and directors have had a hand in every instalment of Metroid, thus providing this research into the nature of changes within this videogame series with a persistent base. The changes made to Metroid and Samus can be gauged more precisely and more confidently, since the games have had many of the same people working on them in some capacity since the Metroid series began. 47 7.4: Special endings The original Metroid had five different endings based on how quickly a player could complete the game - a feature literally unheard of at the time. Super Metroid is one of the most popular games for 'speed-running', which is the act of completing a game in the fastest time possible, and helped to

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popularise speed-running in videogames. In the Metroid series, the tradition has always been: the faster the completion, the better the ending as a reward (e.g. Samus shown in her Zero Suit - a tightfitting, figure-hugging outfit in most cases, a bikini in others). However, in the Prime trilogy, with its increased focus on exploration, the secret endings in the games were unlocked not by the quickest time, but by the higher the number of items and objects the player had collected to achieve a 'perfect ending'. Indeed, a complaint of some players was that they did not get to see Samus in her Zero Suit, as they had come to expect from previous games in the series: "The game's most serious flaw is that you don't see Samus without her suit at the end of the game. I'm serious here, that's the worst thing I could say about this game." (Metroid Prime IGN user review, 26 October 2003 43) This change is significant, as it was highly contested by players, and in the latest release of the Metroid series, Samus' portrayal has not only reverted back to seeing her in her Zero Suit at the end, she is seen even more often in this way throughout the game itself. 7.5: Success of Metroid As mentioned previously, the Metroid series has been highly praised by critics, both for its ingenuity in creating a female protagonist (and for initially keeping it secret, which is discussed further below), and for its engaging game-play. It is for these reasons, among others, that the series has enjoyed a lifespan of over 25 years consisting of 11 separate released titles, and is considered very successful. For example, it has been ranked by IGN as the eighth best franchise ever. The games have also sold very well, with Super Metroid, Metroid Fusion, Metroid Prime, and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption each exceeding one million copies sold. Metroid Prime was considered one of the best games ever upon release, winning 'Game of the Year' from various publications and websites (IGN, 2003). It is one of Nintendo's most successful franchises with 16 million games sold. The series' reputation and standing are important to this research, in that Metroid is a high-profile title, and as such is consistently scrutinised in each instalment by both critics and gamers. 43, 48 The Metroid series' huge success and resulting readily identifiable lead protagonist, Samus Aran, can be initially attributed to the fact that the player did not know that he/she was playing a female character until 'unlocking' a special ending in the first Metroid game where Samus would take off the mech suit. Indeed, the game manual, which accompanied the original game in 1986 used male pronouns in order to keep Samus' identity a secret: "The space hunter chosen for this mission is Samus Aran. He is the greatest of all the space bounty hunters and has successfully completed numerous missions that everybody thought were absolutely impossible. He is a cyborg: his entire body has been surgically strengthened with robotics, giving him superpowers ‌ but his true form is shrouded in mystery." (Original Metroid game manual text, tsr's NES Archive, 2000 45) Only upon achieving a 'successful' ending to the game would the user discover Samus' mysterious "true form". This is significant because it demonstrates that developers deliberately planned for this game to have an impact on users, and to cause them to react. It is certainly possible that the developers might have initially concealed Samus' gender out of concern or uncertainty regarding gamers' reactions. However, the game (and gender revelation) was met with resounding success and approval, and thus having a lead female character won Metroid and Nintendo accolades, as it was

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different than most if not all other videogames on offer at the time. This success might be attributable to the way the female character was portrayed. Throughout the history/evolution of the Metroid series of videogam, there are examples of how the reception has been influential in the future development of the next generation of games. The key illustration is that there is a feedback loop between gamers and developers and users' reception. For instance, since the inception of the game, Metroid has very much been a game that people made comments about. For example: ―GameTrailers noted that the Morph Ball, first introduced in Metroid, "slammed an undeniable stamp of coolness on the whole experience and the franchise".‖ (GameTrailers.com, 2011 49) "A game which is so well designed that it‘s held up as the ideal way to make a 2D sidescrolling action platform game … Super Metroid is a game that anyone and everyone should play. It‘s top-notch in all regards and is an integral piece of gaming history and game development done right." (Video Games Blogger, 2011 50) It appears that the latest release in the Metroid series involved Samus undergoing a change, which is seemingly attributable to the feedback from videogame players.

8: Findings and analysis 8.1: The Gender Dimension in Metroid Physical appearance As we can see through the following illustrations (Figures 1 through 10), there is an interesting gameplaying with the gender stereotyping of this character. The mech suit signifies clearly a very powerful "bad-ass" image (also see Appendix X), in a very masculinised representation. However, at the end of the game when the player discovers that inside the suit – the Zero Suit – the character is a woman (as in the first Metroid), or reveals Samus underneath the armour (when it is already known to the player that Samus is a woman), paradoxically she becomes extremely sexualised. It is worth observing a few graphic representations of this character, which clearly illustrate this juxtaposition.

Figure 1: Metroid © early concept art

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Figure 2: Metroid © screen-shots

Figure 3: Zero Suit Samus at the end of Metroid ©, Metroid II and © Super Metroid ©

Figure 4: Metroid Fusion © cyborg design

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Figure 5: Samus Aran in her cyborg suit in Metroid Prime ©

Figure 6: concept art for Metroid: Zero Mission ©

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Figure 7: Zero Suit and cyborg for Metroid Prime 2: Echoes ©

Figure 8: Zero Suit and cyborg in Metroid Prime: Hunters ©

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Figure 9: Zero Suit and cyborg in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption ©

Figure 10: Zero Suit and cyborg in Metroid: Other M ©

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As can be seen in the figures above, Samus is not only portrayed in a very sexualised way, but also as a very young, fragile and vulnerable looking woman. This presents a surprising contrast with the outer image conveyed by her powerful suit. As shown in Figures 3, 5 and 7 to 10, she has long blonde flowing hair styled as in a young girl. She also has long legs, a narrow waist, large breasts, and a fragility to the limbs that suggests a total lack of musculature implied by both the mech suit and her character's actions. Appendices I through XVIII contain hundreds of evaluative responses from critics/users. Evaluative responses are either positive or negative. Thus, as with all the data, references to physical appearance have been further divided into positive or negative comments. Samus' face is that of a very young woman, almost like a Barbie doll. Somehow, developers are playing with the juxtaposition and creating a paradoxical image about both the frailty of the real character underneath, juxtaposed with the power she acquires when she dons the mech suit. For instance, as several players note in their reviews/comments: "They make Samus have a very girlie image, something you would not expect from a bounty hunter who has killed the mightiest of enemies in her past." (IGN user review of Metroid: Other M, 31 August 2010). "The makers of the game tried to portray Samus as the archetypal useless girl prevalent in Japanese anime" (IGN user review of Metroid: Other M, 6 September 2010). "Samus is a battle hardened and grown woman. Unfortunately, Nintendo casted the voice of a monotone 18 year old girl reading out of her diary. She doesn't SOUND like a woman, or a serious battled hardened one at that. She sounds ...cute‌and feminine" (IGN user review of Metroid: Other M, 1 September 2010). Curiously and significantly enough, the comments that users make about Samus Aran are almost always related to her physical appearance or physical abilities, rather than any mental attributes. As my data shows (see Appendix IV), there are two very brief comments for Metroid: Other M: "Samus is smart enough to vault over smaller objects by herself" (IGN user review of Metroid: Other M, 1 September 2010). "Metroid: Other M made Samus appear to be somewhat of a mindless grunt." (IGN user review of Metroid: Other M, 18 September 2010).

However, no comments for Metroid Prime were found. This may indicate it is the physical character, which is mostly praised by her physical attributes and abilities, rather than any mental qualities. In comparison with the reams of comments reviewers made about her physical appearance, there are possibly no comments regarding her mental attributes. This may be highly significant in that it reinforces the stereotype that female identity mostly operates at an embodied level and as such is objectified as a sexual one. Character Action / Character Movement The data recorded for this category were very similar in both games being examined, both in tone and in quantity. The comments recorded were predominately positive in nature and stated similar

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approvals. There are examples of gender stereotyping in this category through the aid of discourse analysis (in that the use of specific language reflects stereotypes which are concurrent with the idea of what is considered a feminine character). It was interesting to analyse whether the vocabulary used to describe Samus was masculine or feminine: would these words be used when referring to a male, or were they significantly feminised? As can be seen in the data in Appendices VII and VIII, the descriptive words used when commenting on the character's action or movement were significantly feminine in nature. Despite the fact that Samus wears an extremely masculinised power suit, she is described as "agile" and "liquid". Other descriptors, such as the character having "grace" and "poise" were also revealed to be gendered comments toward a female character. In addition to the character action / character movement category, the data for labels given to Samus also revealed gender stereotypes. For example, as can be seen in Appendices IX and X, when the character is in her armour, nearly all comments where a label is applied is masculine. Indeed, five of the eight comments in this category for Metroid: Other M, label her character as a "bad ass". However, when Samus reveals her face, or is shown in her Zero Suit, she is given such feminised and sexualised labels as "hottie" and "gamebabe". One user even refers to her as a "princess", the quintessential feminised label. This clearly shows the gender stereotyping of the female character, in a primarily sexualised embodied way. Immersion The data contained in the appendices revealed another significant aspect – that of immersion. In this category there was a significant difference between data gathered for both games in this study (see Appendices XV and XVI). Among 74 comments recorded for immersion in the Metroid Prime data, only one comment was coded as being negative; that is, the gameplay or character portrayal did not make the player feel 'as one' with the game. Immersion is a highly desired and praised aspect of videogames as it allows the player to feel they are a part of the game. While only one comment of a negative nature was also coded for Metroid: Other M, there were merely 8 comments in total, which were coded from the data for this category. The increased character development of Samus Aran in Metroid: Other M may account for a marked decrease in players' ability to identify with the lead character, or affinity for immersion. In particular, the increased gender stereotyping evident in the later game may be accountable for players' negative (or absence of) evaluations of immersion. For if the users do not agree with the stereotyped way that the character is portrayed, they are far less likely to identify with her and gain any sense of immersion in the game. This appears to be irrespective of the player's gender, as no correlation between the user's gender and data for immersion was found in this analysis. Analysis of the dynamics of mutual influence between gamers and developers As noted, there are several ways of understanding the relationship between media and users. This research attempts to argue that the symbolic interactionist approach is more suited to understanding media dynamics between users and producers. It may be argued that, following the interactionist approach, one should not understand individuals as passive recipients or receptors, but rather that people actively engage with the media they are using. In doing so, they have potentially the power to effect changes and influence the evolution of the media with which they have been engaging. Weapons / Tools / Abilities

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Comments regarding weapons, tools, and abilities were very informative, and numerous. A distinct difference in data patterns between the two games can be seen in this category. Of the 74 comments recorded in this section for Metroid Prime, an overwhelming 70 of them were positive (with 3 neutral, and 1 mixed). However, when examining this category of comments in the Metroid: Other M data, what emerges is a striking two-thirds percentage of negative comments. These negative comments can be loosely divided into two main themes: one is regarding game health/weapon dynamics, but the other is far more important, in that it concerns Samus' inaccessibility to her usual arsenal due to her unprecedented subservience to a former male colleague. Samus' acting in this way is highly representative of gender stereotyping as discussed above. Thus, this is a fundamental change to the character, which has resulted in strong feedback given by both critics and users alike, where the majority of comments disapprove of this change in portrayal of Samus and are vocal in their evaluations. For example: "…the fact that you CHOOSE not to use some weapons until Adam gives the order. That is absolutely the DUMBEST thing I've ever encountered in a game! You're just going to choose to not open the hatch with a Super Missile just because Adam said not to, even though there's an energy tank that could save your life? Screw that, blast the **** out of it! You don't answer to him anyway!" (IGN user review of Metroid: Other M, 1 January 2011) These comments centre not on the weapons themselves, or lack of them, but on the fact that Samus does not use certain weapons or abilities until a former male colleague authorises her to use them. This is not merely that she cannot use them, that they are not functional unless this fellow pushes a button or activates them for Samus by some other means, but that she chooses not to - even when her life is in danger. One particular IGN user review reveals a 'spoiler', which shows that later in the game, she no longer waits for authorisation for something in particular, and activates the ability of her own accord: "Why would Adam allow Samus to suffer, and potentially get killed by environmental hazards that an ―unauthorized‖ suit ability would rectify immunity? What‘s more frustrating is that there‘s a point in the game (spoilers) that Samus will authorize a new ability on her own.‖ (IGN user review of Metroid: Other M, 15 September 2010). This makes the fact that she does not do so from the outset all the more questionable. As this occurrence happens in the latest game only, and not in previous instalments of the Metroid series, it is worth presenting the argument that users and critics reject this change vocally and/or verbally. They have not passively accepted that this is now the way things are meant to be. They openly protest at this new development and request it be changed in any other subsequent game: "I can only hope that Samus' characterization is fixed in future games." (Metacritic user review of Metroid: Other M, 11 September 2010).

"Can you hear me, Nintendo? Bring back Retro Studios and let Team Ninja go back to their…games." (Metacritic user review of Metroid: Other M, 31 August 2010)* The above irate comment illustrates how users are not passive bystanders or consumers of these products. They interact with the games they play, and have plenty to contribute in the development of future games. They analyse games, make sense of them, interpret them and judge and evaluate

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them. In doing so, they send clear messages to the game producers; indeed, a game is not successful if it has no gamers to play it. Dialogue / Voice / Sound The data that was collated for this category displayed a distinct pattern. As similarly seen in the data for weapons/abilities, the data shows a large difference between Metroid Prime and Metroid: Other M. This category is important, as it is a significant aspect of Samus as a character, and the way she is portrayed. It was necessary to examine as much information as possible regarding how her character is perceived, e.g. visually, aurally, etc. The category for dialogue/voice/sound was populated with many comments. As exemplified below, the majority of comments recorded for Metroid Prime are negative, and concern a complaint that Samus does not have a voice, that she does not speak. For example: "The only flaw in this game is that it doesn't have any dialogue.‖ (Metacritic user review of Metroid Prime, 5 January 2003) "they should of given Samus voice acting and maybe some talking in the game. Like maybe to even get contact with friends she knows from other planets." (IGN user review of Metroid Prime, 26 March 2004) "Some voice work would really have been appreciated." (IGN user review of Metroid Prime, 27 December 2005) The majority of comments recorded for Metroid: Other M are also negative, yet concern just the opposite: that she does have a voice, that she does speak. For instance: "Her stilted, tranquilised vocal performance goes a long way towards destroying the bounty hunter's hard-won air of mystery" (Eurogamer critic review of Metroid: Other M, 27 August 2010) "My first, and probably biggest complaint is this. Why is Samaus talking?? … Samaus talking actually ruins the game at first site, because everyone remembers Samaus as a silent bad-ass bounty hunter. Well she's not silent anymore. … I'm sure hardcore Metroid fans feel the same about Samaus talking. It isn't right." (Metacritic user review of Metroid: Other M, 14 February 2011) "The bad voice acting. Why does Samus sound like a whiny preteen? And why are all of her voice-overs so monotone?" (IGN user review of Metroid: Other M, 6 September 2010) The other modification, which has taken place, is the increased character development that Samus has undergone, and the fact that in Metroid: Other M, Samus is fully voiced for the first time. This aspect of Samus has always been commented upon, the fact that she is the silent heroine, yet the most deserving of having a voice and having a huge story worthy of telling. In this instance, comments regarding a desired change in Samus have resulted in that very change (albeit to middling reviews and an overall lukewarm reception). The change, or development, of Samus has been ongoing throughout the entire series, something Sakamoto states as culminating in Metroid: Other M's enhanced story in order to introduce and familiarise more of the population with Samus Aran and who she is. 23

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It is thus in this category where there is evidence of an interactive element between gamers and developers, where feedback has been given which further affects future development and change. What can be seen is a clear example of a change to Samus (i.e. giving her a voice) that was voiced/requested at the time of Metroid Prime and that has been implemented into a later game, specifically the game of Metroid: Other M. That these changes did not meet with a popular reception after the latest game release does not contradict the research hypothesis, as it is still an example of a feedback loop between gamers and developers. Thus, this serves as an illustration of an interactionist view of media. Generalised References to Samus What can be observed from the data collated under this category is a definite shift in user perception of Samus Aran's overall embodied character. As can be seen in the data collected for Metroid Prime (Appendix XIII), comments are, for the most part, positive and fairly general in nature (e.g. "selfsufficient", "versatile", "most lethal bounty hunter in the galaxy", etc.). Comments recorded from Metroid: Other M (see Appendix XIV), however, are nearly three times as numerous, and are split equally between positive and negative in viewpoint. For example, there are positive comments such as: "The human face painted on Samus finally lets you know what kind of heroine she is after all these years of guiding her through the Metroid series and never understanding who she really is" (IGN user review of Metroid: Other M, 1 September 2010) "Players will witness Samus' traumatic scars, sensitive side, and vulnerabilities. This serves well to remind us that although Samus is a hardened bounty hunter, she is not without a personality and emotions." (IGN user review of Metroid: Other M, 18 September 2010) Yet there are an equal number of negative comments, for instance: "they changed Samus in a number of ways that could have been left alone, and probably would have been better left alone instead of shown off and/or altered." (IGN user review of Metroid: Other M, 2 October 2010) "who is the whiny, weak willed, soft, nostalgic female that is wearing the Chozo armor? I swear it looks like Samus but she acts nothing like her. ‌ in this game she is scared of a lot of things. Totally not the Samus I've come to know. Next thing you know, Lara Croft will be cooking pancakes for Samus as they attend knitting classes and sing hymns. I cannot express how disappointed I am at the dumbed down and whiny scared Samus." (IGN user review of Metroid: Other M, 2 October 2010) "Remember me? No Samus, you've changed too much" (Eurogamer user review of Metroid: Other M, 28 August 2010) Additionally, the comments made in this category regarding the later game contain a dominant theme concerning the character development of Samus that has been implemented in this instalment in the series. Comments revolve around Samus' new emotionally weakened state, her vulnerability, her insecurity and general 'softening' of the hard-line bounty hunter of previous games (e.g. one user refers to her as like an "every day teenage girl" (Metacritic user review of Metroid: Other M, 14 February 2011)).

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There were occasional comments recorded from Metroid Prime data regarding desires for more character development in Samus, but the response from users upon review of Metroid: Other M shows a mixed reception at best to these embodied changes. The data in this category helps to illustrate that the users of this media are not passive receptors, but instead are actively engaged in giving feedback regarding their own evaluation of these games. Gamers actively negotiate, interpret, contest, and appraise aspects of videogames. This is central to the interactionist approach. Comments Relating to Previous or Future Games Comments relating to previous games or future games were the most numerous in this study. Comments were coded as being positive or negative about any reference to previous games, positive or negative about the current game (the game being reviewed), and then comments were further coded as to a desire for change, a desire for more of the same, or if the position was unclear or unspecified. The positive and negative coding was important in order to ascertain levels of approval regarding changes that had been made or that were desirable. Of the comments recorded as requesting change in the Metroid Prime data (see Appendix XVII), four general themes emerged. Two of these concerned game-play elements (e.g. backtracking, and requests for multiplayer), and the other two concerned Samus herself. Of these two, the first was a desire to hear her speak, as mentioned extensively. The second was a complaint that the 'best ending' of Metroid Prime did not result in seeing Samus without her armour, in what is known as her Zero Suit. This was the first game in the series that did not favour a dedicated player with a visual of Samus as a more feminised, sexualised, being. For Metroid: Other M, comments requesting change (see Appendix XVIII) were in general far more varied, but a general overarching theme is the request for the next game to be nothing like Metroid: Other M. Indeed, one user wished for Nintendo to "forget this game ever existed" (Metacritic user review of Metroid: Other M, 21 October 2010) when creating the next Metroid game. Another general dissatisfaction and desire for change can be inferred from the weapon/abilities category, where a large portion of user opinion dislikes Samus' refusal to use some of her abilities as she has not been told by a male colleague that she may do so. The comments requesting change are a direct reflection of users providing feedback on a videogame in the hope, or with the expectation, that their requests will be listened to by the developers of any future Metroid title. This is an essential aspect of interactionism and the feedback loop, which is the focus of the research hypothesis. Other modifications in relation to users/critics reactions The outstanding complaint amongst comments recorded in reviews of Metroid Prime was the lack of multiplayer capability, which was an aspect of gaming that was fairly new and highly popular at the time. Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, released 2 years later in 2004, included 1 to 4 player simultaneous play functionality in response to this. However, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, released in 2007, went back to single-player mode only, and Metroid: Other M is also exclusively for solo play.

Although data from Metroid Prime 2: Echoes or Metroid Prime 3: Corruption was not examined, there is not a single comment amongst the data examined or recorded for Metroid: Other M which mentions a renewed desire for multiplayer capability. It could be argued that the multiplayer element that was implemented in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes was a direct result of much of the review sentiment given on Metroid Prime shortly after its release.

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The withdrawing of the multiplayer setting from consequent games could be the result of a diminished interest in multiplayer play for the Metroid games, or simply a decision taken by the developers to revert back to single player game-play only. Indeed, Yoshio Sakamoto (the director of Metroid: Other M, and director or producer of all other Metroid titles) stated in an interview that the reason there is no multiplayer mode in Metroid: Other M is that it was not one of the core design ideas of the project. Rather the main focus was the character development of Samus. 51 Whatever the case, Metroid: Other M reviewers and players do not mention multiplayer aspects - or the lack of them - in this game. It may be speculated that this functionality of the game is no longer important, or less important than during the time when Metroid Prime was released. Additionally, and perhaps crucially, Metroid: Other M director Yoshio Sakamoto can be directly quoted as saying how he is influenced by the reception and desires of the players: 51 "I've been working on 2D Metroid games all the way up until now, so when we had a chance to see the Prime games, which suddenly take the series to the 3D space, we realized people found it to have a really good visual impact, and they really did want that kind of enhanced visual experience. And so, I have to say I'm certainly influenced by people's desires in that direction." This admission by an executive of the Metroid franchise could give no more concrete proof that the videogame users do have an interactive effect on the games that are subsequently produced in the series. 8.2: Comparison - Metroid Prime and Metroid: Other M Variations of comments concerning Samus Those who comment on Samus, in general, either mention how "badass" she is, or how they desire to ogle her in her Zero Suit. The latter, I believe, may be possibly even more desirable to players as in order to view Samus in this way, you need to have 'proven' yourself as a fabulous player - a player dedicated and proficient enough at the game to have achieved certain challenging objectives. This gives the player an ego boost, as well as rewarding them with a visually pleasing image i.e. Samus in her tight-fitting Zero Suit. Likewise, when people comment on how "badass" or powerful she is, what they are really saying is how they feel when playing her, which is another positive stroke to the player's ego. Paul O'Connor, a lead game designer, in his 2004 article Deepening Emotional Involvement With First-Person Video Game Heroes, discusses how character design and game design are importantly focused on how to involve the player in more than a superficial way. This shows an awareness of the user audience and attention to what is liked/needed/required/desired by them from a game, and especially from a videogame character himself/herself. 52 Results of these variations The above variations regarding how people comment when referring to Samus point at modifications in different incarnations of her character. This may be by implementation of new weapons and abilities for Samus in new instalments of the series, particularly ones which make Samus even more powerful and more awe-inspiring than before. This tends to attract the player, to draw them in, as they want to feel good about themselves and this facilitates it, as mentioned above and also as reinforced by Goffman's theory regarding self-image as seen in section 2.0. Also there are some specific variations of comments which directly correlate to changes in Samus, e.g. the desire for her to speak, which she does (some say excessively) in Metroid: Other M. Also, somewhat tangentially,

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accessing views of Samus in her Zero Suit has changed, and may continue to change in order to keep the player interested, e.g. you see much more of her this way in the latest game, for the first time without having to have achieved the 'perfect ending' as a prerequisite. Players have often wanted to see more of her without her mech armour, and in the latest game they are provided with numerous cut-scenes and images of her in her Zero Suit.

9: Conclusion The research question in this study was whether or not videogame players and developers influence each other in a feedback loop – in that can it be demonstrated that videogame players affect changes that are made in future games. The analysis in this paper has addressed numerous aspects of the two games used in this study, and has uncovered evidence that helps to support the research hypothesis. This research was an endeavour to gain an understanding of the themes of acceptance and/or rejection, which the Metroid fanbase and critics have displayed over the lifespan of the Metroid series, in order to determine whether or not comments made in critic and user reviews are reflected in future games. This exploration was an attempt to uncover how users' opinions of the games they review have an impact on the industry, e.g. how multiple requests for game-play functionality have resulted in the desired outcome in the next instalment of the Metroid series. Metroid series director Yoshio Sakamoto has also acknowledged that the developers/producers/directors aim to please the fans and provide what they think is desirable to players. 51 In the case of Metro: Prime and Metro: Other M, it is apparent that in the industry of videogames, the user has a substantial effect on the games that are further developed. The users of videogames are very vocal in their approval and disapproval, and in their suggestions on future implementation and changes. It has been demonstrated that these comments and requests have a direct effect on the next game, or future game, to be produced. The players are not passive receptors to videogames media, but active participants in a mutual relationship with those who create the videogames that they play. This is an example of how some videogames and their use are significantly embedded in the portrayal of female characters, and that portrayals and stereotypes can be (and are) both reinforced and challenged, and are in perpetual modes of creation and recreation through dynamics of interaction between game developers and gamers themselves. Acknowledgements I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to my family and friends for their patience, love and unwavering support. Special thanks also go to my supervisor Irene Rafanell for her outstanding mentorship and advice for the past year. I would also like to thank the videogames industry for providing an exceptional wealth of material and entertainment, and to the many videogamers, some of whom unknowingly contributed to this study.

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APPENDIX I Pos / Mentions of Physical appearance - Metroid Prime neg +/+ Prime is so polished you can see Samus' face in it. 0 Thermal visors explode with flare and Samus' face grimaces in the reflection Perhaps our favourite touches though are those on Samus Aran herself. Gases billow against her suit's visor; + electrical attacks fizzle and char, as the bounty huntress raises her arm to protect her face; and the light even reflects off her shiny metallic ball shape as she rolls through tunnels like a marble chase-cam. + adorned with so much beauty + Samus, the various creatures, and the gigantic boss figures are all tremendously detailed. + the X-ray visor is so precise it even reveals the bones in Samus's hand - the models aren't especially high polygon -

The graphics are perfect, apart from the polish on the suit, if you look at samus on the elevator, the grooves in her suit arent too great,

+ Samus looks really cool in this game. Effects such as Samus' face reflecting off the shield is totally awesome. I sometimes find myself looking for places to blast so I could witness the reflection of her face. . It LOOKS great because of the attention to detail (rain on the mask, your facial reflection when light hits + just right) +

+ This game has excellent graphics. Get about 75% complete and ya' get to see Samus's hot face. MP is one of the most beautifuly detailed and expansive games I've ever played. From the character model of Samus to the tiny details of each area. I love to see Samus as you save your progress or when you begin from your last save, it's one of the only + times you get to see her as your playing in first-person. +

+ swinging on the Grapple Beam and seeing Samus's skeleton arm in the X-Ray spectrum Very few lead game characters are women. More often than not, a clever game designer imagines a new anatomically incorrect woman, gives her a gun, a sexy name, and a mission of revenge. Such paltry stuff + only leads to bad games. Thankfully, Samus Aran gives us more than just a pretty face and odd, massive boobs. The only bad graphics that I ever saw through the course of the game was Samus' suit close-up while she's on the elevator-thing + Samus' suit has been perfectly designed, and it's shiny in the right places, as to give off a perfect look 0 there are no humans or real animals in the game except Samus but you don't really see her -

you can see the eyes of Samus as she goes down an elevator, you only wished to get a full-body glimpse of her in 3-D. Oh well, some things are better left imagined.

+ Samus looks great in 3-D

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+ the fact is: Samus is in 3-D now... and boy is she sexy + I love the way they disigned things like the Creatures, Maps, and Samus her self. + Samus is back and she's absolutely beautiful + Plus you'll get your first glimpse of the hottie in the armor suit without her helmut on in full 3-D. Sweet! 0 Clad in her distinctive red-and-gold power suit, Samus is a self-sufficient and versatile, 0 Samus' unique body armor was crafted by a mysteriously vanished race of birdlike scientist-philosophers You'll actually see Samus clasp her free hand on her blaster when she aims up or down, and she has some difficulty craning her neck all the way forward or back, as well she should in that hefty suit of hers. When Samus ship lands and she appears for the first time is a real magic moment. Her suit looks so + realistic it's like you are actually there The game's most serious flaw is that you don't see Samus without her suit at the end of the game. I'm serious here, that's the worst thing I could say about this game. +

+ And Samus herself looks spectacular! (too bad we get to see so little of her!) The suits in general are so cool and theres actually 3 different one or 4 if you connect to the gba for another cool one. It is so detailed that you can see rain on Samus's visor, and when there is an explosion near by you can see + her eyes reflect in her visor BEAUTIFUL, GORGEOUS, MARVELOUS, OUTSTANDING....From the details of the large environments, to + samus's face plate +

+ The bosses look awesome along with Samus's suit + Samus's character model looks really nice + Reflective surfaces on Samus's armor + the really cool hud where you see through Samus's eyes and get to see all of the info in her helmet. + samus never looked so good + Samus is well represented in 3-D. + Samus looks awesome in the Varia and Phazon suits, she is very well detailed. + Unbelievable. You can see the Samus's eyes Samus's Power suit is realistic. If you gave a science team billions of thousands of dollars, they could probably come up with something close to a Power Suit The only complaint I had was during the elevator rides, when the camera zooms in on Samus, her chestplate is a bit pixelated

+

+ The character models are spectacular. Samus never looked so good. A nice touch Retro made to the graphics was the fact that Samus is in a suit. While playing, you'll notice the outline of her visor, and the incorporation of the visual displays as part of her visor are a smart more + also. You'll also see that if you let off a blast right in front of you, Samus' face lights up, and reflects off the visor. It freaked me out a bit, but it's a nice touch. + very comfortable on the eyes -

you might see a flaw or two in Samus' armor. It becomes not so slick and metalic. A little flat. I think actually it might be a bug. If so, it's a rare one

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+ Subtle details like the bones in her hand when you use the X-ray visor is amazing + Samus comes to life before you + Samus looking better than ever + Samus Aran looks like she's almost in real-life + A female bounty-hunter with a kickin' suit + Wouldn't you like to see Samus at her best Seeing Samus in different suits is mesmerizing. One of her suits is an all black Phazon suit with red in it + that without a doubt makes her look that more chic. Aside from looking nice, it enables her to survive in hot places the character model, Samus herself! The character model in this game is absolutely gorgeous! The shine on + her suit will blind you! + Everything is gorgeous; from the enviornments, to the enemies, to Samus herself +

Samus must do her thing to save the universe again, oh and she does it so well (despite us samus-lovers not seeing her in a thong or anything else sexy).

+ I liked the menu and how you could see that model of samus 0 you see Samus going down or up an elevator and looking around +

The graphics were amazing, especially Samus herself. I had never seen such a great looking game character before.

+ Samus's suit alone is worth the price of admission +

Everything from the models of Samus and baddies, to the environments are all so smooth, slick, detailed, and textured. Flawless.

+ The Samus model is fantastic + The neat reflections of her armor is really neat and you will want to look at it more. + The creatures are highly detailed and so is Samus + Samus aran ,the enemies and all bosses looked great + Great character models + Samus is presented thoroughly and beautifully in 3D Something that surprised me was that Samus is a girl. It is kind of weird that a girl would destroy so many creatures and bosses If you beat the game 100% you will see an ending cutscene of Samus without her suit. I just find it weird + how a girl coul be so violent. +

+ Samus has never looked better on a TV screen graphically. + Samus looks awesome in that suit + metroid fusion was the last time samus didn't look horribly ugly (zero suit samus). + the way this looks in 3D s amazing i was surprised how real it looked. + Samus' funky yellow-and-fuchsia suit from Metroid Fusion + if you have 100% items, you see the Metroid Prime emerge as Dark Samus.

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+ samus takes off her suit and show her real self + Love at first sight

APPENDIX II Pos / Mentions of Physical appearance - Metroid: Other M neg +/while the roving cut-scene director never misses an opportunity to perv over the famous bounty hunter's + jumpsuited body. 0 Samus keeps her clothes on most of the time after that + I just spent the last hour just moving Samus around, because her animation looks so good. + Samus looks awesome + Samus is portrayed well + Samus's suit is nice and shiny, and has great detail -

They make Samus have a very girlie image, something you would not expect from a bounty hunter who has killed the mightiest of enemies in her past

+ she doesn't look quite as super tough as she did before. And that's ok. the colours are just to bright and vivid. Take Samus' suit this tme. All the colours used are the ones a five year old would colour her suit. On the topic of her suit, I just don't like it. It is not nearly as complex as the one in the Metroid Prime series, and would better show off that she herself is complex, and not your everyday saviour. + Samus's armor and the detail when she takes it on and off + the character models, and the environment look amazing + All of the characters animate smoothly and they look realistic In past games, if you complete it 100% you get to see Samus in her Zero Suit. However, in this game you - already get to see Samus in her Zero Suit numerous times in cutscenes, so I was hoping for something else, like a tie in to Metroid Fusion or, you know... no Zero Suit. But nope, all you get is Hard Mode. You mean there isn't even a little bit of volleyball involved? [the fact that other m was made by team ninja, responsible for doa volleyball]

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APPENDIX III Pos / neg + / -

Mentions of Mental attributes - Metroid Prime

ZERO

APPENDIX IV Pos / neg + / Mentions of Mental attributes - Metroid: Other M -

+ -

Samus is smart enough to vault over smaller objects by herself Metroid: Other M made Samus appear to be somewhat of a mindless grunt.

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APPENDIX V Pos / Weapons / tools / abilities - Metroid Prime neg +/+ the diversity of Samus' arsenal The excitement of acquiring a power-up that finally unlocks progress to new areas of the map never diminishes some new upgrade, a new toy to play with, could lurk around the next corner, and each of them is + increasingly useful and exciting to use. Perhaps the strongest point of Metroid Prime is the way the upgrade system works. Almost everything you + achieve in the game is rewarded with a new weapon, or upgrade +

+ Take advantage of Samus's many powers using new suits that enable her to gain new abilities + Samus's combat, scan, and visors -- elements crucial to your success + many familiar weapons, such as the Wave Beam, Ice Beam, and some all-new ones as well Equipped with a scanning tool, one of many useful features of the Power Suit that protects the hunter's body, Samus Aran can uncover important details about the past and present As Aran, you begin your quest with nothing. Your most important Power Suit features -- the ability to roll + into a Morph Ball, jump higher, carve through ice, etc. -- must be gained through exploration and persistence. The rewarding sensation of discovering new areas and powering up your arsenal of weapons and tools is + unmatched +

- the main thing that bugged me is the lack of new power-ups (other than visors) + The visor effects kick some serious ass! + Samus arsenal is very creative and unique.The controls are a bit complicated and not that orthodox + Samus's constant power-ups kept the otherwise overdrawn game alive and spontaneous +

All the classic Metroid elements are there such as Morph Ball, Missiles, Wave Beams, and Graple Beams. There are new tricks as well such as the space jump and gravity suit.

- More weapons would have been nice; Samus having her standard power beam and missiles, along with three additional beam upgrades and four beam-missile combos A new addition to the Metroid formula comes in the form of Samus's four visors, which change the way you interect with the world around you. You begin the game with the combat visor and the scan visor. The first represents the standard viewing mode in which you can make good use of Samus's arsenal of weapons, but it is this second visor which gives Prime it's trump card. The scan visor allows the player to scan almost + every conceivable element of the game world -- items, enemies, technology, landscape, Space Pirate computer terminals, the list goes on -- and retrieve images and data which are then displayed on the screen whilst the game action pauses. Not only do these entries provide necessary clues to solve the game's numerous puzzles, but they are fascinating in their own right +

+ The weapons are very effective in varying game play along with the enemies.

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Changing beam weapons and visors have a smooth transition and the only problem is trying to remember which is which. Each visor has their own use The Varia Suit allows you can take extreme heat, the Gravity Suit allows normal movement in water and + with the Phazon Suit you are immune to the effects of the corrosive substance. There is just so much to this game it's amazing! The guns are only the beginning of the upgrades. You will get the Morph Ball, bombs, Spider Ball, Boost + Ball, three new combat power suits, four visors, energy tanks, missiles, and many others +

+ One thing in the game that I loved was turning into the morph ball. + The Metroid series is famous for its wide range of beams that Samus is able to wield. Prime is no different + New to the series is the addition of different visors that Samus can take advantage of. Take advantage of Samus's many powers using new suits that enable her to gain new abilities and revisit + earlier worlds to uncover many hidden secrets :Master Samus's combat, scan, and visors -- elements crucial to your success The story will get you hooked, and the way it is told is ingenious, that being the scan system, which ties in + neatly with Samus' abilities. You have a vast array of accessories, listed here: Suits and Sphere -Power Suit -Varia Suit -Gravity Suit Phazon Suit -Morph Ball Arm Cannon Weapons -Power Beam -Wave Beam -Ice Beam -Plasma Beam -Up to 250 missiles -Up to four charge combos (combination of missiles and beams) -A secret weapon revealed + only in one part at the end of the game!!! Bombs (accessible in Morph Ball form) -Morph Ball Bomb Power Bomb Visors -Combat Visor -Scan Visor -Thermal Visor -X-ray Visor Locomotion -Space Jump Boots Spider Ball -Grapple Beam 0 One of the game's key mechanics is Samus' ability to switch between a number of different "visors," Unlike in previous Metroid games, none of Samus' weapons are ever replaced--her arsenal only grows in size, and all her available armaments remain tactically useful throughout the game. Gone are the Speed Booster and The Screw Attack (until Metroid Prime 2 that is!) but the Grapple Beam, + Space Jump and Morph Ball have been brought in. The weapons are Traditional Metroid Series Weapons. There are 5 beams. The Starting pea-shooter Power Beam, the electrocuting Wave Beam, the freezing Ice Beam, the destructively fiery Plasma Beam and the add-on Charge Beam. To go along with these is the Missile Launcher which also has 4 charge combos, The Super Missile, The Wave Buster, The Ice Spreader and the Flamethrower (which in real + attention to detail doesn't work underwater). The Morph Ball has the Bombs, Boost Ball, Metroid II's Spider Ball and the Power Bomb while Samus has many suits such as the Traditional Power, Varia and Gravity suits to go along with a special suit which has its very own beam... Of course all these weapons are combined with Samus' Space Jump Boots and Grapple Beam etc. +

+ Enough weapon upgrades to make you wonder what else could they possibly come up with. +

Retro has done of fine job of adapting Samus' gadgetry, from the Space Jump to the Grappling Beam, and all of it is easy to use and adds a lot of depth to the game

+ oodles of weapons and items to blow stuff up. You have 4 beams and 4 visors. All incredibly cool looking with many effects to discover. AS you progress + you will gather a wealth of upgrades and other cool things for both your beams and suit in general. The morph ball just takes the game to a new level. 0 you can unlock a Fusion Suit for Samus + I was very impressed by the technology the suit has too. + All the guns are cool but I think I will only go into detail about my fave, THE FIRE GUN! +

Samus has a number of abilities at her disposal. She can jump, double jump, shoot with on of five beams, launch missles, transform into a morphball which also has some of its own abilities as well

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+/- Scanning is a nice, new feature, but I think that there is too much of it + , a butt load of missile expansions, energy tanks, bomb expansions + a mechanical suit that has a computer and a gun for a hand + Many upgrades to collect + All the upgrades this game obtains is no less than amazing 0 upgrades for your suit eg ball, missiles, new visors and weapons + The weapons are fun and attractive. + I like the different visors that Samus finds, kinda spices things up I like about the game is the way you can upgrade your suit. Samus can upgrade her suit by finding more + missile packs, or getting more visors, or getting more suits that protects that allows her to see or go through more areas. + your amazing arsenal + you just feel so damn good using them. +

The Morph Ball, although unexplainable as to how Samus can do such a thing, is so fun that you may just want to do it alone for an hour

+ Samus's old weapons along with some cool new ones + excellent weaponry also + Her arm attachment can morph into new abilities as she acquires weapon upgrades. + weapons have really pretty effects + adapted the environment perfectly to Samus' abilities + I loved the first person style and the way the visor and Arm Cannon was portrayed + Samus's suit alone is worth the price of admission Another thing i love is all the up grade that you can get. From Wave beams to thermal scan, samus is fully equiped allow Samus to tranverse the environments using her morph ball capabilities, also showing off the + impressive range of suits you'll aquire +

+ Retro Studios has even added new items and weapons that fit perfectly into the universe. + nice weapons + But whats really cool is the upgrades for your weapon + the upgrade system with all the cool weapons and items is excellent With upgradable arm cannons, four suits, and three visors, it's a game that takes you to places unimaginable. Love the morph ball, enough said. Also, Samus's arsenal is hugely updated, with classic weapons like + Power Bombs and Missiles reappearing, but also with new powerups like flamethrowers, Phazon suits and homing beams. +

+ New weapons make for some great puzzles as well. their is a number of suits avalible as well as new morph ball add ons. if you don't know what Morph ball is + then read on. morph ball is Samus Aran alternate form. it involves her rolling into a ball and going through small gaps Gadgets: Different beams, missles upgrades, suit upgrades, double jump, powerbomb, combo attack, + morphball upgrades, grapple beam. JUST AMAZING + Weapon implementation is great and varied

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+

you'll get a cool red and black varia suit known as the phazon suit, and it also has the coolest metroid beam of all time IMO the PLASMA BEAM!

+ you can upgrade your suit: Visors, missles, energy tanks, etc., + while the number of tools at her disposal grows in size

APPENDIX VI Pos / Weapons / tools / abilities - Metroid: Other M neg +/- Samus' suit has all its abilities but she'll only use then when 'authorised' to...well, it's a bit rubbish The morph ball perhaps needs a little jazzing up: it does all the usual things in Other M, which is - to say it's an essential and fun tool throughout, but it's not the most exciting part of Samus' armoury + The tools you're given to fight the horde are decent as well + Other M adds real style to Samus' traditionally rather utilitarian arsenal. Samus has all these features from the start. She decides, out of respect to the commanding officer Adam Malkovich, to deactivate everything and only reactivate them when he gives the OK. a story payoff towards the end for Samus' subserviency but it doesn't make up for the absurdity of Samus - being somewhat of a mindless drone and refusing to activate her normal functions simply because Adam didn't say it was OK -

+ with similar features from super metroid like all of the awesome beams n suits + I don't mind having to wait for equipment to be "authorized" for use. considering she's following the orders of someone else and not just doing her own thing, she figures out of + respect instead of going buck-wild and blowing the entire place up with super missiles and power bombs, she would wait for proper confirmation, like a soldier should! + it has the best/most intens charge beam action of all Metroid games Forget about finding upgrades to become more and more powerful like previous games. That's nonexistent here Samus's gun also auto-aims, so most of the time you can just shoot blindly down a corridor and not worry about whether or not you hit anything. every Metroid in the past had some idea of how Samus loses her suit powers. In this game, Samus already + had the upgrades and only used them when needed -

- Samus' stupid commander in the game has to "give authorization" to use cool weapons and suits - Samaus gets more missles and gets healed by thinking about it really hard. That's just goofy. Why they opted to get rid of the life-restoring pick-ups from Prime, and instead went for healing via a process called charging leaves me perplexed. the fact that you CHOOSE not to use some weapons until Adam gives the order. That is absolutely the - DUMBEST thing I've ever encountered in a game! You're just going to choose to not open the hatch with a Super Missile just because Adam said not to, even though there's an energy tank that could save your life? -

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Screw that, blast the crap out of it! You don't answer to him anyway! + all the weapons are really cool + all i care about is her kicking ass w/her badass weapons. + great use of Samus' weapons and abilities - Samus' abilities where restriced, it'd have been beter to have more abilities or at least different suits. -

-

-

-

-

-

In this game to replenish health and missiles, you have to hold the wii remote vertically and samus "concentrates". I DON'T LIKE IT. since when did Samus ever have to get permission from anybody to use her own equipment? Why is she getting her butt kicked when she could use one super missle and end the situation but instead she relies on someone else to tell her it's ok? Right Why would Adam allow Samus to suffer, and potentially get killed by environmental hazards that an “unauthorized” suit ability would rectify immunity? What’s more frustrating is that there’s a point in the game (spoilers) that Samus will authorize a new ability on her own. you cannot even use your Varia Suit function to resist heat until Adam gives you permission. Since when do you need permission to use a safety feature? a cumbersome regenerative health system, one that I felt was poorly conceived and executed. Tying into that, with the ability to regenerate your missile ammo, it makes the previous acts of acquiring missile expansions almost unnecessary. Why hunt down a missile expansion when you have, in effect, unlimited ammo? Baring the illogical nonsense of Samus even obeying a man who has no genuine authority to authorize anything she has, Adam's timing is usually awful, or even cruel. A quick look around will find many similarly wondering why Adam won't authorize Samus to use heat-proof armor in a lava level, or why Samus just doesn't tell him to shove it and turn on her own heat-proof armor. Apparently she'd rather burn to a crisp rather than disobey his orders, for some reason. The way this is explained is that Samus is "concentrating". Somehow, she's WILLING missiles and life force into existence by thinking about it REALLY HARD. Yes, really. You practically have unlimited missiles. You just press a button and Samus THINKS the missles into existence Samus has all her abilities from the start but doesn't use them without permission. This means that when you enter hot areas, you have the heat resistant suit upgrade (usually the Varia Suit, don't know if they respected the naming this time) but simply do not use it because dreamhunk clayface Adam would rather have you roasted.

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APPENDIX VII Pos / neg Character action / Character Movement - Metroid Prime +/-

Limited by Samus' non-enhanced repertoire of actions

the ability to circle strafe, and dash, around your target makes combat entertaining, and never at any stage a chore - Samus is somewhat less versatile than in her traditional 2D outings.

+

You would think by wearing that heavy suit Samus would control like a tank, but she's actually quite agile + and the controls are responsive. Once you get her movement down jumping will become second nature, especially after you get the double jump upgrade. That's not to say Samus is sluggish or ungainly. In fact, she has all the grace, poise, and skills that made + 1994's Super Metroid such a great game to play. While targeting a foe, she can perform quick lateral evasive leaps to stay out of harm's way, and her own aim is almost flawless. + Samus naturally jumps high and far, the mechanics of Samus' morph ball ability are more enjoyable here than in any previous game in the + series. At the same time, those unfamiliar with Metroid will be really surprised when they first see Samus roll up into a perfect sphere that can hurtle about like a living bowling ball. Samus' ability to roll up into a ball has always been one of the strangest, most distinctive parts of the + Metroid series + Samus' moves have been brought into 3D with well by Retro Studios + She moved with ease and with out little struggle. + Samus controls like she's been taking commands from a joypad for years ('cause she has), Samus can jump higher with the Space Boots, can open different types of doors with the differents beams, can use the Grapple Beam to access some far away sites. Clearly superb controls making you do everything samus can even imagine. And the feel of the controls is + perfect Retro has managed to do what many before them failed to. That is, they've implemented solid jumping in + a first-person game from the cutscene of Samus jumping off her ship. To her travelling down her elevator-no sharp edges, + very liquid +

+ Samus is very versatile and the game have an excellent feeling of action + Controlling samus works so well + youll be moving Samus like a bodily function -

Samus just walked or ran to slow

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Samus doesn't jump high enough

Samus moves from room to room from fight to fight without a single interruption + Retro Studios got the jumping just right. allowing Samus to handle multiple enemies at the same time while she jumps and dashes + out of harm's way +

APPENDIX VIII Pos / Character action / Character Movement - Metroid: Other M neg +/+ The animation of Samus is smooth + and new features that make it much better like dodging attacks and combat moves + Moving Samus around the game world gives you a really great feel of movement + Samus' moves are very nicely animated. + Samus is quick and very agile - she never flips, wall jumps, never really runs for that matter, she kind of controlled like a tank + fast, nimble and has all of her tricks and moves ready to go there is also the dodge technique Samus has called SenseMove. It works like a dream, a quick dodge and Samus auto-locks onto the closest enemy. This also auto-locks you in first person, so you can quickly + dodge and dive into Samus' visor for a clean shot. On top of all this, there's also the Overblast technique's, where you jump on your enemy's head and fire a charged shot straight into there head + Samus moves with the agility that you would expect from the greatest bounty hunter in the universe -

there was no feeling of how agile Samus can be as a character and after all agility should be Samus' stockin-trade.

+ Samus moves are quick and fluid + all i care about is her kicking ass w/her badass weapons. + Samus can run in any direction you want her to go, and fire in any direction too. + Samus will roll or flip out of the way. A new addition to the Metroid franchise is the use of melee combat. The melee moves are cool to execute and watch, and aren’t too difficult to use. Samus is once again able to perform her signature flips, wall jumps, higher jumps, and overall acrobatic + moves in full detail. Combat also works fairly well with the beams stacking on top of each other and more signature moves being unlocked as times passes. +

+ All of the characters animate smoothly and they look realistic + The new dodge mechanic and melee moves add a lot +

Samus moves faster than ever before, and moves like the Sense Move, Overblast, and Lethal Strike really get my heart racing. Once you learn those moves you can never go back

+ Samus sprints through environments, picking off enemies left and right often followed by brutal takedowns + intense combat in Other M. You're no longer limited to just shooting. Samus has melee attacks

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+ Character animation is well done; especially Samus's fatal strikes +

but it's kinetic and dynamic, and it's here you see the spill-over from Team Ninja's action-touch. Samus has never moved faster or finished her opponents off in so cinematic and brutal a fashion

APPENDIX IX Pos / neg + Labels ('babe', 'bitch, etc) - Metroid Prime /+ +

The bitch is back ya' get to see Samus's hot face.

+

Plus you'll get your first glimpse of the hottie in the armor suit without her helmut on in full 3-D. Sweet!

+

our space-hopping princess

+

Premiehunter Samus , a gamebabe hunt on monsters

APPENDIX X Pos / Labels ('babe', 'bitch, etc) - Metroid: Other M neg +/-

+ bad ass Yes, Samus is stall absolutely badass, but now we see her as a person instead of a stoic force of nature, and some people are seeing the emotions, the weakness, as sexist, but it + really doesn't gel. After all, if you went through what Samus did, and then ended up in that situation, male or female, you'd probably do exactly what she did. + Samus is still badass to me...). If I hear the word "baby" one more time in this game, I swear I will chuck my remote out the window - she's not the bad-ass we remember, + battle hardened smart ass + glass-ceiling breaking battle-hardened warrior + stone-cold badass veteran

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APPENDIX XI Pos / Dialogue / voice / sound - Metroid Prime neg +/- sometimes you just long for a cut scene to tell the story in a more movie-esque, coherent sense + Every mechanical sound that Samus's Power Suit utters is almost exactly as you imagine it would be - The only flaw in this game is that it doesn't have any dialogue. - no cutscenes where there is actual communication. - With the lack of dialouge and stroy, it feels very boring. - what is with the crappy music and sound effects? + All the sound effects of Samus's weapons and abilities also fit perfectly + Sound effects of weapons, abbilities and enemies were done with uncanny accuracy - . I do wish we could hear Samus's voice, but I suppose a scream will suffice. 0 . It's actualy kind of funny there are no speaking parts but yet it still has a great story. + The sounds are perfectly done here. + The sounds were just excellent, from the moans of the enemies, to the screams of Samus + Listening to Metroid Prime with full Dolby Pro Logic II support is like auditory sex. + Samus makes her own sounds - might have been cool to hear Samus talk, but I'll take what I can get. +

sound effect is added in a way that doesn't draw attention to itself but sounds natural and adds to the atmosphere.

0 There is no speaking, no other characters they should of given Samus voice acting and maybe some talking in the game. Like maybe to even get contact with friends she knows from other planets. the sounds of Samus' footsteps, and the sound effects of her various weapons are all very crisp and fit + extremely well into the setting of the game -

0 There are no long cut-scenes, and no voice work. There is no voice acting, but I am not that much of a fan of voice acting for Nintendo game because I think + it would kind of ruin them. I wouldn't want to see voice acting in a game like Zelda and Metroid because they would probably end up having goofy voices. + voice narrationg is a great addition - no voice

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+ Great sound effects, suit voiceovers, + sometimes, you can hear her breathing which was another nice touch -

I would like to say that I would hav liked to see some voice actinf in the game. I believe that in the whole game that there was not one sound of a voice

- Lack in character voices. - it could have used more sound though. - No voice acting +

And lets not forget Samus' suit. Her suit sounds exactly how you think it would when you change into or from a morph ball or switching weapons or displays.

+ gentle hum of your powersuit - theres no voice acting - not a SINGLE word of dialogue spoken the entire game The game dosen't have any dialogue, although you get writing on the wall and on computers to fill you in + on the smaller details. The game is all about atmosphere, and the feeling of desolation and suspence, and sometimes awe. Adding more plot, and ANY dialogue would destroy that. Samus (who's grunts and screams are provided veteran video game voice actress Jennifer Hale, who is + known as the female Shepard from "Mass Effect", and Naomi Hunter and Emma Emmerich from the "Metal Gear Solid" series) As for voice acting, there is none, but that's not really a problem since no one ever talks in this game. I + mean, Samus is the only human in the game - She never really talked though - it's not perfect. I wish there were voices, it feels like an isolation instead of an epic journey + the metallic clank of Samus’ feet on the metal floors - Some voice work would really have been appreciated. - Not having voice work is a little annoying. - Lack of voice work hurts. What makes Metroid Prime so different from other games is the fact that there isn't a single word spoken in the game. Samus Aran is completly silent during the game with the exception of hearing her scream + whenever you die. The thing is, that Samus doesn't need words, her actions and her weapons do the talking for her. This is very effective. + Even dying has cool sounds + Thank God that Samus has not got a voice - Also there is no voice acting for the game dude!!!! just how well retro did the whole ''alone'' thing. there are only two voices you hear through the whole game, and even they come rarely, and are not main roles. one is your computer chick, who just tells you when you + have recieved new info and stuff, the other is the some dude who explains the plot at the start and finish. how lonely - the lack of any spoken dialogue besides "Evacuate immediately." +

The sound effects also do a great job. From the mechanical sounds of Samus suit to the humming of the missiles power-ups

- No voice acting

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APPENDIX XII Pos / Dialogue / voice / sound - Metroid: Other M neg +/- bizarrely delivered dialogue - and she saves her dull observations on all things cosmic for the cut-scenes - that inane rambling from Samus -

Her stilted, tranquilised vocal performance goes a long way towards destroying the bounty hunter's hardwon air of mystery

- a character that always expresses herself best through her moves rather than her speech Samus, a character who's been in Nintendo's arsenal since pretty much the company's videogame beginning, gets a voice for the first time. In the past, Nintendo's been hesitant in establishing a voice for its franchise + characters beyond basic sound bites, but here, Samus is a full, fleshed out character with personality and emotion, and is someone you can connect with almost from the first line she speaks. It's fantastic to see Nintendo finally embrace contemporary storytelling with motion-captured acting and + voice-over. while the voice acting can get a little stilted in places, more often than not the dialogue – and Samus's + frequent monologues – are professionally acted. + Excellent voice work - The plot is well done, dialogue a tad hammy but overall well written and the plot is just fine. - Yeah, Samus has a voice. It's usually her talking to herself. - infantile dialogue - I found Samus Aran's voice to be sort of bland, + but its nice having voice acting 0 the writing is eh at times, as is the voice acting Remember the feeling of isolation you felt in every other Metroid game before? I think other than Zero Mission, you rarely got orders or had regular conversations with outsiders. Well forget all of that. In this game you are constantly meeting up with other humans and accessing control panels that trigger dialogue with whomever. the game would have been far far better if they just stripped about 95% of the cutscenes out and all of Samus's dialog - an emotionless monotone voice - A bit of stale voice acting - The voice acting is cheesy - Samus sounds strangely monotone -

plus with added mushiness, so much so i though i was watching a chick flic. I mean samus is weak and pathetic scared and talks way to much.

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+ The voice acting is not that bad, in fact it's often quite good; again it's much better than anime. - the storytelling shoves it a bit too much in our faces because this is the first time we get her to talk. - horrible dialogue and voice acting I can only hope that Samus' characterization is fixed in future games. And, preferably, that they bring back Jennifer Hale as a voice actress, as the new VA speaks in a dull monotone throughout the entire game.… i think there is to much narration, sometimes i wish samus would shut the hell up and talk out of her mouth lol the English voice-over is annoying for me at least. It could've been better. I have no idea where they casts these voice actors. . In relation to the voices of the characters have no reason to complain, i do not understand why there are so + many people complaining ... they wanted for the voice of Samus Angelina Jolie ...? -

- the dialogue is a little amateur A silent Samus may increase the emphasis on self-exploration, but a reflective one does more to solidify the loneliness of her 'lone wolf' status far from diminishing it. In particular I don't think people should mistake + the dispassionate dream-like tone of Samus' voice actress as a failure for actress to relate with her character, as it does more to solidify the muted quality of the feelings Samus experiences given the infrequency of her human interaction than to enfeeble her. The only main drawback to the game is the wooden dialogue that sometimes interferes with an otherwise interesting story. - Some of Samus Aran's lines in particular are a little too Emily Dickinson for me. - the dialogue is not the best +

Some people complained about the narration in the game, but there's really not that much of it, and I don't feel it gets I the way of the story

- It has poor voice acting - If I hear the word "baby" one more time in this game, I swear I will chuck my remote out the window - the naration terrible It's at it's worse when Samus talks. I don't have a problem with her new character because despite her - constant inner monologues she technically stays silent for most of the time. But her voice actress is awful and makes the plot more like a B SyFy movie then the epic story it could be. My first, and probably biggest complaint is this. Why is Samaus talking?? Samaus talking is the same thing as Link talking, the point is, THEY DON"T TALK! Samaus talking actually ruins the game at first site, - because everyone remembers Samaus as a silent bad-ass bounty hunter. Well she's not silent anymore. My gosh, if anyone ever makes Link talk in the next Zelda game, I'll have to hurt somebody, and I'm sure hardcore Metroid fans feel the same about Samaus talking. It isn't right. Having Samus voiced for the first time was a controversial move for Nintendo, and one that in my opinion + has payed off. It gives Samus a much greater sense of depth, and though some will find the voice acting quite monotonous, I found that this gave Samus a much more steely character. + the voice acting was great as well + I was so excited for this game to come out. "SAMUS HAS A VOICE!!!!!", I screamed, Unlike every other Metroid game, Samus has a voice this time around. In every other game, the only sounds 0 she makes are just those grunts you hear when you’re dying, but in Other M, Samus has probably the most dialogue out of every character. this is the first Metroid game where Samus actually has voiced dialogue, and she speaks more then any + other character. Every character is voice-acted, so there is no silent dialogue. The voices are clear and easy to understand, so you won’t have to have subtitles to understand them speak. Once again, nicely polished! + very professional voice acting +/- This is actually the first time Samus has had a voice actor that doesn’t just grunt and scream in pain. She

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narrates the story and talks frequently, but she can use too many words in some occasions to describe the obvious which is a little bit irritating, but it doesn’t the harm Samus’s character. + Hearing Samus' voice in this game will be a little awkward at first but you'll pick up on the story fast - This is the only other game besides SSBB that Samus has a voice. (Bad decision?) - Cons: Samus has a voice (It doesn't seem right) - It's all well done, but Samus just didn't sound right for some reason. - Yes I admit the voice actor doesn't emote well 0 for the first time Samus speaks + the fact she actually has a voice in this one is amazing on it's own Voice acting is very, very good. The people chosen to voice act the characters did a good job all throughout, even if not stellar. Samus' storytelling voice does get rather hard to listen to, however, seeing that she is + monotone throughout her storytelling. However, in active game, the voice actor does a good job of displaying emotions that she would normally express. + For the first time in the series, the protaganist, Samus Aran, has a voice . . . and a good one at that The voice acting is hit or miss, especially with Samus. Jessica Martin sounds extremely boring and +/- emotionless when voicing Samus' monologues yet she pulls off the cut scenes where Samus speaks out loud perfectly. - the characters to explain things in more words than is really needed another alteration that Team Ninja added to the franchise is presenting Samus as a fully developed character. This would make it one of Nintendo’s first fully voiced characters among their expansive roster. , don’t expect much. Very few times does Samus express emotional dynamics; and throughout most of the story, Samus narrates the events that take place in a flat tone just as robotic as her Chozo Suit.

0

+ the voice actors do a decent job despite sounding a little corny at times. The Bad: -Voice Acting. Why does Samus sound like a whiny preteen? And why are all of her voice overs so monotone? For the first time, we get to hear her speak and get a better understanding of her background. Unfortunately, - her lines are badly written and the actor sounds bored in her delivery. The result is a hero that sounds as if it is a chore to say anything about her life. At times, you might even wish Samus didn't say anything at all. The voice acting is not terrible, but Samus does not show enough emotion. She rarely actually speaks to - other characters, as most of her talking is through monologue. Seeing her interact with others is what I looked forward to, but monologue is what we get instead. horrendous voice work. The narrations are dull and dry, drawn out needlessly as Samus narrates her every thought and action, even as that same action is carried out on screen -

0 the voice acting was spot on, but a lot of the time I was wondering if I'd purchased a game or a DVD Samus is a battle hardened and grown woman. Unfortunately, Nintendo casted the voice of a monotone 18 - year old girl reading out of her diary. She doesn't SOUND like a woman, or a serious battled hardened one at that. She sounds ... cute. And feminine The script is absolutely terrible. Samus uses her monotone monologues to use WAY TOO MANY WORDS - to describe something that you or me would blurt out "THANK YOU CAPTAIN OBVIOUS!" to anyone on the street, and she does it repeatedly. Never ending. Over. And over. And over again. Samus's inner dialog will carry you through most of the non-playing scenes, and it is so corny you want to jump off a cliff halfway through the game the cutscenes are terribly voice-acted, not skippable (and believe me, you'll want to skip them), melodramatic, monotone, tweenage angst filled, emo bullshit that is a travesty to Samus' character, and worse of all, 1/3 of your game time. The writing doesn't even make sense. Game driven by story? Good idea. Game driven by 12 year old anime girl's diary? Don't even bother. - I felt Samus was at her most human in silent exploration of an uncharted world...

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- i indeed fear a lot of hearing Samus talking - all the narrative stuff - ugh, do not want AT ALL. Too bad we can't pick and choose. Boyfriend. Boyfriend. Samus's ex-boyfriend. Honestly, MPrime 3 was bad enough but this ... this is just inexcusable. And Samus talking is like giving Mario a gun. I always thought the Metroid series could go one step further with its storytelling and Samus of all the Nintendo characters deserves a voice. If they had to give one Nintendo character a voice, whether Link or + Mario or any of them be in the running - it would have to be Samus. She has a story to tell and i'm hoping this is the game that does it. The dialogue is unusual and the expository elements - an early example being a young Samus refusing to issue an apparently customary "thumbs up" gesture at a military briefing, supposedly coolly replacing it with a thumbs down - are just odd. Later, you hear through narration that Samus has decided to call a potential imposter, "the deleter"... :-/ -

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APPENDIX XIII Pos / Comments re: Samus in general (traits, Personality etc) - Metroid Prime neg +/- the main (and only) character has no depth + one of the all-time best Nintendo characters + Samus Aran, a bounty hunter like no other 0 trained as a warrior 0 Samus is alone +

As you all know Samus is a High Profile Space traveler, she is out to stop evil on which ever planet it lies. Armed with her cannon, Samus will blast everything in sight

+ You play as the female bounty hunter, Samus Aran. She is one bad ass lady. + the fact is: Samus is in 3-D now... and boy is she sexy +

And don't you think; from coming from one of the first games to feature a female protagonist, all the way to this superb adventure; it's really quite amazing.

+ Clad in her distinctive red-and-gold power suit, Samus is a self-sufficient and versatile, Samus' integrated targeting systems aim for you at the touch of a button. For this reason, even from the get+ go, you'll distinctly get the impression that Samus is very powerful, and that few enemies could stand toeto-toe with her. This makes sense, as she didn't become an interstellar bounty hunter for nothing. + a protaganist who is equal parts Jesus and Boba Fett + She is back and better than ever! + Samus kicks ! + This game puts you behind the visor of the most lethal bounty hunter is the galaxy +

for once you get to play with a girl rather then a guy always being the hero but I guess thats how Metroid has always been

+ Samus is back baby! + That lad (wait, 'he' is a female. Sorry) is back for the extreme action! + Samus is a female +

Samus had not appeared since way back in 1993, the year of Super Metroid and many had seemingly forgotten about her. Except her fans

0 the birth of the infamous Dark Samus. 0

you play as Samus Aran who if you've played the previous 2D metroid games wil know of her bewildered past life

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+ the herioc bounty hunter named samus aron, the best of her profetion in the cosmos + you'll watch Samus become a very powerful hunter

APPENDIX XIV Pos / Comments re: Samus in general (traits, Personality etc) - Metroid: Other M neg +/+ Samus has always been powerful + It makes Samus about as brutal as a Nintendo character's ever likely to get 0 +

+

+ +

I walk away from Metroid: Other M with the feeling that it was greenlit to flesh out Samus as a character more than it was created to advance the classic Metroid gameplay. meant to introduce Samus to an audience that might not understand just how independent and bad-ass this intergalactic bounty hunter truly is. Samus, a character who's been in Nintendo's arsenal since pretty much the company's videogame beginning, gets a voice for the first time. In the past, Nintendo's been hesitant in establishing a voice for its franchise characters beyond basic sound bites, but here, Samus is a full, fleshed out character with personality and emotion, and is someone you can connect with almost from the first line she speaks. a story payoff towards the end for Samus' subserviency but it doesn't make up for the absurdity of Samus being somewhat of a mindless drone and refusing to activate her normal functions simply because Adam didn't say it was OK an engaging story that turns one of Nintendo’s beloved characters into something more than a kick-ass bounty hunter On the topic of story... Samus is given personality and it's different from the whole "lone wolf" that we've been led to believe. They've attempted to give Samus this sort of "motherly" personality. Which isn't so bad I guess, but it feels so different.

+ Samus have a epic personality. +

even with all the insecurities and "daddy issues", she still puts her most bad ass self as her exterior. I think that makes her even more of a bad ass in my book!

+ Excellent exploration of Samus as a woman Also the way handled Samus would be the same if they made a Superman movie where Superman cried any - time he saw or thought about anything in his past and had to ask for permission from his boss to use any of his powers or punch somebody, - We wanted Samus the bounty hunter but we got Samus the insecure plus with added mushiness, so much so i though i was watching a chick flic. I mean samus is weak and pathetic scared and talks way to much. A look into Samus' past shows us that you don't need to be an emotionless robot to be fitted with a space + suit, in fact it's refreshing to know the original space-suited lady actually has a lot of depth they decided to turn Samus into a weak character with a poor and unoriginal personality that goes contrary to fan opinion and apparent characterization in the past. -

+ Finally we know something about Samus other than that she is a bounty hunter. Metroid Other M tells us an in-depth character development of Samus, flashbacks on her past and how she came through becoming a bounty hunter. Yes, Samus is stall absolutely badass, but now we see her as a person instead of a stoic force of nature, and + some people are seeing the emotions, the weakness, as sexist, but it really doesn't gel. After all, if you went +

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through what Samus did, and then ended up in that situation, male or female, you'd probably do exactly what she did. I find it amusing how some people criticize Samus as an emotional character, this is turning a robot into + something more human, this is an advancement in the gaming world; After seeing the emotion in Samus when she saw Ridley, it added more emotion to the other games, seeing + how she was actually feeling whenever he showed up adds to the whole story Samus is portrayed well but her innocence and insecurity almost contradicts the style of character that we have seen in previous games. + The personality of Samus was, in my opinion, well put across A silent Samus may increase the emphasis on self-exploration, but a reflective one does more to solidify the loneliness of her 'lone wolf' status far from diminishing it. In particular I don't think people should mistake + the dispassionate dream-like tone of Samus' voice actress as a failure for actress to relate with her character, as it does more to solidify the muted quality of the feelings Samus experiences given the infrequency of her human interaction than to enfeeble her. + the enigmatic Samus Aran + expressing the inner feelings of Samus + a complex, emotional story. Samus Aran is finally a humanized character - someone with depth and a past. - an attempt to make Samus more "Human" failed, and came off as cliche. - They have killed Samus as a strong female character - The game's biggest flaws lie in its poor characterization of Samus + You'll witness the human side of Samus as she struggles to deal with her past The other thing about Samaus is her personality this time around. Like I said, everyone knows here as a bad-ass bounty hunter, but in this game she sounds like a regular every day teenage girl. Speaking of character depth, Samus has more than one side to her in this game - for about the first half you + will see her as you always have - a merciless bounty hunter. Until a certain character from Samus past returns and she simply freezes in her place, unable to even fight -

+ Samus still on form

-

+ + +/-

Peolple complain about Samus being too emotionable and they rather have her being the tough samus they knew and I'm one of them in other M samus is always talking about the super metroid like it's her child and obeying orders from adam.In my opinion they based samus of the first Manga and not the second one (For those who did'nt read the manga in the first one shes very emotional and in the second one shes like she is in the prime series except she talks much more often.)Heres an actuaul sentence from the gameinformer review "I refuse to believe that a badass bounty hunter would refuse to activate her armor’s heat-resistant Varia suit as she marches through the heart of a volcano with her health constantly draining -- an actual scenario from the game."I've been there and when her health was draining it was like one energy every 2 seconds.OMG 1 energy shes gonna die even though she has about 400 energy!!!She hasn't seen adam for a long time and shes acting out of respect,she says it herself,Adam was the only person who understood her I thought there was too much emotion from Samus. Call me a purist, but [however] the mysteriousness that Samus displayed throughout the text-based talking was great. I knew that she was struggling with things, but it wasn't in my face. I just don't approve of all the emotion that she so easily displays, that's all. I think that she should remain hard and cold to an extent, and not really worry about what others think of her While she doesn’t come off as the badass/strong silent type she tends to be in every other game, Other M shows off a more human side to Samus, The human face painted on Samus finally lets you know what kind of heroine she is after all these years of guiding her through the Metroid series and never understanding who she really is I'm not sure if I can consider this a negative but the way Samus was portrayed throughout the game will throw seem people off. You can definitely tell this game was made in Japan. They make Samus have a very girlie image, something you would not expect from a bounty hunter who has killed the mightiest of enemies

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in her past. They try to push emotion through the game, which is not a negative. I think it makes it more realistic. It makes Samus more human. - Did they do a perfect job of interpreting Samus? No, in my opinion - Too much emotion in the story (Makes Samus seem less tough) - WHY ARE ADAM AND SAMUS IDIOTS IN THIS GAME 0 +

0

-

-

+

messing up Samus' personality. And I admit, she doesn't look quite as super tough as she did before. And that's ok. Just because she says stuff, and has a PTSD attack, doesn't mean the story's ruined This game was made by a Developer that has been known for its heavy action sequences, and in this game they excelled with it, showing that while she has a sensative past, she can be brutal and awesome when she needs to be. Metroid: Other M was almost solely intended to add depth to Samus as a character. And they did that quite well. But it is this aspect of the game that makes so many people dislike it. It is true that the script could be improved, and that there is some overacting, but when you add depth to a character, that implies that you add emotions as well. But it seems that people do not want Samus to have emotions. Apparently, the majority of Metroid fans don't care about Samus as a character, and would rather have an empty shell of a powersuit while they go find another missile expansion. they changed Samus in a number of ways that could have been left alone, and probably would have been better left alone instead of shown off and/or altered. meant to flesh Samus out as a character and turn her into an even more super version of herself. This game certainly did that, but not to the extent that I would have liked the fact that Samus sort of has her character taken away by certain segments of the story. She is seen showing fear, something we all know Samus doesn't show. Sure, fear of losing someone is a big thing that could possibly make sense for her, but her seeing a certain someone later in the game means that she has this sudden freakout? No...no, that just doesn't fit her. That well-acted voice work, the cinematic recreation of the events at the end of Super Metroid, and the glimpses of why Samus left the Galactic Federation to become a bounty hunter make her feel like a fullfledged character and give the series an emotional resonance for the first time.

+ the very strong and capable Samus

-

-

-

+

-

-

who is the whiny, weak willed, soft, nostalgic female that is wearing the Chozo armor? I swear it looks like Samus but she acts nothing like her. Since when did Samus lock up and back up from Ridley? Oh that would be never, not from anything or anyone but in this game she is scared of a lot of things. Totally not the Samus I've come to know. Next thing you know, Lara Croft will be cooking pancakes for Samus as they attend knitting classes and sing hymns. I cannot express how disappointed I am at the dumbed down and whiny scared Samus. Samus’s added personality is antiquated by today’s highly presented standards in games such as Uncharted 2 and Mass effect 2. This mildly translates into the overall story arch which is riddled with subtle, uninspiring Japanese clichés and idiosyncrasies It makes no sense whatsoever for Samus to obey Adam's orders to the point of her dying from heat exhaustion, because Adam wouldn't let her activate her varia suit yet. A newly discovered enemy is shaking off most of the hits from Samus' standard gun, thus is managing to kick her ass; yet she simply won't switch to her powerful plasma beam to blast the creature into extinction due to Adam's restrictions. Yea I get it! Samus has deep respect for Adam, but does she really need to jeopardize her health and life to show that respect? Does she need to make her life more difficult all for the sake of respecting Adam? Players will witness Samus' traumatic scars, sensitive side, and vulnerabilities. This serves well to remind us that although Samus is a hardened bounty hunter, she is not without a personality and emotions. Character Inconsistencies. Since when has Samus ever shown fear before facing Ridley? A little girl crying? Really? Samus is hardy, creative, and resourceful, not some whiny little girl. The makers of the game tried to portray Samus as the archetypal useless girl prevalent in Japanese anime, when everything before this shows her as a progressive, talented ass-kicking machine. Baring the illogical nonsense of Samus even obeying a man who has no genuine authority to authorize anything she has, Adam's timing is usually awful, or even cruel. A quick look around will find many

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similarly wondering why Adam won't authorize Samus to use heat-proof armor in a lava level, or why Samus just doesn't tell him to shove it and turn on her own heat-proof armor. Apparently she'd rather burn to a crisp rather than disobey his orders, for some reason. In all prior Metroid games, Samus was a quiet woman. Stoic, yet strong. A few have mistakenly and incorrectly claimed she had no personality, that she was simply a cipher for the player's emotions. On the contrary, Samus has displayed very strong, powerful personality traits since the days of Metroid 2, from her single-minded determination to eradicate the Metroids, to her compassion in sparing a baby Metroid that imprinted on her. Retro Studios, creators of the Prime games, specifically mentioned they came up with a variety of psychological studies, asking the original Metroid creators "how would Samus act?" and then implementing their responses in the game, giving us a Samus that was a woman of action, courage, intelligence, nobility, resourcefulness, and stability. Other M's portrayal of her is quite the opposite. Samus does not need to be an emotionless shell; she never was in prior games, even. But here, she is emotional to the point of weakness, letting her opinions of Adam, and his opinions of her, define her rather than forging her own identity. After years of killing pirates, destroying alien monsters, blowing up whole planets, and saving the galaxy, she suddenly has no confidence. She is soft and vulnerable, rather than battlehardened, insecure and uncertain, rather than confident and sharp, panicky and emotional, rather than stoic and calm. It's jarring and, in my opinion, entirely out of character for the woman that single-handedly trailblazed empowered female protagonists in video games. The infamous scene of her breaking down in hysterical fear at the sight of her arch-enemy will go down in Metroid history as the equivalent of Darth Vader's whiny "NOOOOOOO" in Episode 3. I have read the manga and I've heard the arguments about her suffering from PTSD, but for her to suddenly have this develop NOW is a bit hard to swallow. Even the manga, that several fans have brought up, has her coming to terms with the horrors she's faced and having the Chozo train her to be almost zen-like and unshakable. In this scenario, she has an utter meltdown - Weak story and Samus has a weak personality Samus is shockingly concerned about her "feelings" and "emotions" every step of the way. This is not the same woman that has supposedly been out single-handedly kicking ass and saving the galaxy for the past 15 years, who's entire colony was decimated in front of her as a young child. Samus Aran should be a battle hardened smart ass capable of making sailors blush, and if she has ANY issues, it should be issues with authority and an emotional disconnect from other human beings from being traumatized as a child and raised by aliens. THAT'S a realistic character for this woman. This woman, the Samus in this game, simply isn't it ... and from what I've seen of the cutscenes, the game seems to imply that maybe Samus WAS angry in the past... but she's "all better now!" and "ready to prove herself to her old adoptive father/hopeful lover with no personality!", which is not only the easy way out... but moronic. There's even a scene in the game where Samus repeatedly gives a thumbs down just to piss off her old CO, but no one's actually upset about it! It's just that "cute quirk thing that Samus does! hehehehe!" that seems so utterly ... Japanese ... that it sickens me. Samus is a woman who is a stone-cold badass veteran who for some fifteen years has single-handedly taken + on missions and fought enemies that would make an entire battalion of Federation soldiers scream and crap their pants before being torn apart, burned and eaten. And what do we get here? A simpering, dependent adolescent. "Don't use your equipment without clearance?" A Samus-appropriate response to this should be, "We'll talk about that right after I use my mighty arsenal to save your bitch ass." Instead, she meekly complies to go along with the truck full of daddy issues she's apparently been saddled with. Nothing made me more sick than the part where she's - turned into a quivering mass of jelly upon being confronted by Ridley. Maybe the first time she saw the slayer of her parents and the destroyer of her colony she would have freaked, but at this point in the story she's killed him nearly half a dozen times, and he was a bloody cyborg in one of those instances! The fact that Samus actually uses the phrase 'girl's heart' makes me so mad I can't see straight, as does virtually everything else about the 'character' these people have given her. + I felt Samus was at her most human in silent exploration of an uncharted world... - Remember me? No Samus, you've changed too much -

It's a shame they had to stick Samus in their cheesy cutscenes but Samus's character was already ruined in Metroid Fusion (another great game!) so it's too late to complain.

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APPENDIX XV Pos male/female / = for Gender Immersion/ Gender identification With Samus - Metroid Prime neg i.d. <--+/Seeing the world through the helmet of Samus is a masterstroke from the off, giving Retro F + Studios the opportunity to show off some absolutely delicious effects. As Aran, you begin your quest with nothing. Your most important Power Suit features -- the M + ability to roll into a Morph Ball, jump higher, carve through ice, etc. -- must be gained through exploration and persistence. There are all sorts of effects that happen on samus' visor, which, though they aren't M + technically impressive (they are actually quite simple), go a long way towards increasing the immersiveness of the game An absolutely stunning adventure game that sucks you for the first time fully into the U + character of samus and the metroid universe M

+ Story: creative and immersive

M

+ this intergalactic bounty hunter had my absolute attention

U

+ Its like you are samus in the game!!

M

+

M U

You feel as if you are the afforementioned character (SAMUS) and immerses you in 100% Sci-Fi Fantasy realism. for the first time in the series, you realy feel as if you are the one delving into magma-filled + caverns or trudging across the frozen plains. you play the role of Samus Aran, a bounty hunter and being behind the visor helps + immerse you into the world of Metroid

U

+ you see through the visor as Samus would

U

+ It put me behind the visor of Samus.

U

like the sounds of your suit's boots and the splashing of water, to the massive noises like + the shrieks of the Zebes Pirates and sounds your blaster makes when shooting something. The noises are all included to make you feel like you really are in that suit.

U

+ what it might be like to be in Samus' armor-plated boots.

U

+

U U U

When Samus ship lands and she appears for the first time is a real magic moment. Her suit looks so realistic it's like you are actually there Then theres the visors which really make it interesting. And they really make you feel like + your samus They litteraly strape you in her suite, experinceing all the joys and wonders that samus + goes threw. An incredible device, on the part of the developers, has you staring right through Samus' + visor the entire game. Nice job, Retro

M

+ that enviroment, makes you feel like you are Samus.

M

+

U

+ This is also very satisfying and gives you a sense of discovery and a role in the story

If you face down and shoot the water (or even the ground) you can get a reflection of your Samus just like when glass is lighted in a shadowing way you can get a mirror of yourself

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M

+ The sounds are so good I almost thought I was in the suit myself!

U

+

U

the really cool hud where you see through Samus's eyes and get to see all of the info in her helmet. Metroid Prime is one of the most immersive games ever. You actually see through Samus's + eyes. You actually see the HUD that she sees

U

+ This is YOUR personal journey-YOUR quest

U

+ , the new first-person view makes you feel like your Samus,

U

+ You are there. You are Samus

U

- the inclusion of too much story can ruin the atmosphere of the game.

U

You have a overall huge sensation that you are Samus and see what she sees, with rain + drops on the visor and the huge power of your guns you feel like a man with just a tiny blaster blasting a little creature and seeing the blood splatter.

U

+ Raindrops on the visor are very cool and gives the feeling of being Samus.

U

+ You actually feel like you are samus

U

+ you take the role of Samus Aran

U

+ pure imersion into the game. Just a great feeling

U

+

U

+ you feel like you were the one piloting the suit

U

+ you, Samus Aran

U

+ the feeling you get as Samus is amazing

U

+ a truly immersive and realistic experience.

U

+ like your in the suit it self

U

+ I felt like I was actually walking around on this alien planet.

U

+ makes you feel like you are actually the character

U

+ it is definitely cool playing from Samus's point of view

U

+ made me feel that I was Samus

U

+ I love how you are behind the helmet.

U

+

U

+ Through the eyes of Samus' visor, we are treated to a world meticulously detailed

M

+ you are truly Samus Aran for as long as you've got the disc booted up in your GC

M

+ this game's immersion is unparalled

U

+ This game puts you behind the visor of the most lethal bounty hunter is the galaxy

U

+ You'll feel like you're in the game along with Samus

U

+ Viewing things through Samus' visors really made it a lot more believable

U

+ Just makes you feel like you are in the game

U

+ Probably the most immersive game to date

U

+ You'll think your Samus...

U

+ When you first enter Samus’ helmet and view the space station that serves as the game’s

A cool feature that Retro Studios included is the player actually being able to look through several of Samus's visors which are helpful and look very futuristically cool.

The first person view is simply the perfect choice because it lets you explore the metroid world as samus, not just controlling her

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first environment, you will be in awe. U

+ The sense of immersion is so complete

U

+ placing you in Samusâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; power suit.

U

+ it feels like you are the one in the suit pulling the trigger

U

+

U

+ the game does a great job of putting you in Samus' shoes

U

+ im sure you're ready like samus was!

U

+ The controls make you feel like you are in control of Samus. No questions asked

U

+ a totally immersive experience, so is Metroid Prime

U

+ Completely Immersive

U

+ the game throws you into Samus aran and her visor

U

+

U

+ Looks like I was there as Samus

U

+ It is one of the most immersive and different games that you would experience

U

+ really makes you feel alone and isolated in an alien world. Its great!

U

+ It really makes you feel like you're in the armor suit.

U

+ and it look as you were in that armoured suit

U

+

U

+ the harrowing feeling of isolation

I found myself becoming more and more immersed in what came to be an excellent experience

great surrond sound and effects make you feel that you are actually behind the visor of Samus Aran

the Scan visor. It creates a level of immersion and believability I wouldn't have thought possible

APPENDIX XVI

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Pos male/female = / for Gender i.d. Immersion/ Gender identification With Samus - Metroid: Other M neg <--+/Too many supporting characters detract from the atmosphere rather than cultivating it.

U

-

M M U

+ In Other M, as it should be, lonely wandering is still the order of the day + it's hard not to get sucked into Samus' life and feel her emotions + By the end of the game, you feel unstoppable you'll start feeling like a hardcore space ninja as you blast your way through + numerous enemies and boss encounters You really geat sucked into samus' pasts and life overall and she really feels + like a person with such human emotions, which she is. I never felt so emotionally attached to a character like this. It was so beautiful and touching, my god I didnt wanna set my wiimote + down

U U U

APPENDIX XVII Past

Current

Mention of

***Comments relating To previous game = or Wishes for future games -

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game(s) game future game(s) 1 Metroid Prime +/+/= desire for change 2 = desire for same 3 = unclear Sometimes we don't want or need arbitrary "fresh" gameplay mechanics. We just want to have a good time, and if it's with the same old stuff and style, + 1 then so be it. 0

+

1

Great game, but why isn't there some kind teleport-system

0

-

1

where is the multiplayer

0

+

1

it would be a lot more fun if there was a multiplayer,

0

-

1

no multiplayer

0

+

1

More weapons would have been nice;

0

-

1

The only real "problem" I think there is is that there is no multiplayer

0

-

1

I do wish we could hear Samus's voice, but I suppose a scream will suffice.

0

-

1

0

0

1

0

+

1

0

+

1

0

+

1

0

-

1

0

+

1

0

+

1

0

+

1

0

+

1

0

+

1

0

-

1

0

0

1

might have been cool to hear Samus talk, but I'll take what I can get.

0

-

1

And Samus herself looks spectacular! (too bad we get to see so little of her!)

0

0

1

a multiplayer mode might be in store for the next game.

0

-

1

The only thing missing from this 1st person shooter is a multi-player mode

One gripe that I have that Retro Studios needs to change in MP2 is: there's a bunch of backtracking in the game I hope that for the next Metroid, Nintendo will do a Viewtiful Joe-type game and go for 2 1/2-D sidescroller My only request for Metroid Prime 2 is to throw in a battle between Samus against herself, perhaps the only way to improve on that would be to have some voice effects with some of the holograms for the next game perhaps? Very cool sound-wise. Would be extremely awesome to have had more voice/ character sounds. The textures are honestly my only complaint. Though it wasn't technical restraints of the Gamecube that kept Retro from fixing this, it was time. Gone are the Speed Booster and The Screw Attack (until Metroid Prime 2 that is!) but the Grapple Beam, Space Jump and Morph Ball have been brought in. Of course all your old favourites are here including Ridley but sadly no Kraid. Perhaps for Prime 3? The gameplay itself is just flawless. I only wish it were longer, but I wish every game would be longer once I beat them. . The graphics look amazing though moving clouds and/or a rising and setting sun would've brought my score to a 10. I found myself wishing time after time that Retro had put in some sort of unlockable transporter system in each of the levels to cut down on the time it took to get from one place to another The game's most serious flaw is that you don't see Samus without her suit at the end of the game. I'm serious here, that's the worst thing I could say about this game.

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they should of given Samus voice acting and maybe some talking in the game. Like maybe to even get contact with friends she knows from other planets. Multiplayer doesn't really fit into the Metroid universe, but maybe there's a way to impliment it into the next incarnation without losing the atmosphere Perhaps in the sequel the game will become a bit more free and able to be explored

0

-

1

0

+

1

0

+

1

0

+

1

I believe it could have used at least a bit more

0

-

1

it could have used a bit of bumpmapping

0

-

1

I would of liked if it had an option for a 3rd person mode

0

-

1

I would of liked it if there was more of a story

0

-

1

I wish there was more modes to play after you finish the game

0

+

1

I have no doubt in my mind that retro studios will succeed withe the screw attack as well in MPS2

0

+

1

Could be a bit longer

0

-

1

-.4 for no multiplayer and online

0

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1

my only problem with this game is that the storyline is told mostly through space-pirate logs, instead of cut-scenes

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you still want alot more. Multiplayer would have been good

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and metroid prime 2 had better be just as good if not better.

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would kill to see a multiplayer online mode for metroid games in the future, I would like to say that I would hav liked to see some voice actinf in the game. I believe that in the whole game that there was not one sound of a voice but a multiplayer would have been nice. At least there'll be multiplayer in the sequel. It could have been a little longer A Multiplayer mode would have made the game even bigger and would have sold more cubes. But thats nothing a sequel cant fix The one thing that would have made this game perfect would have been the additon of a multiplayer mode, but you can't always win. I don't know what could have been done differently but one idea is to have movie sequences play on the computers that you scan rather than a boring log report It is almost perfect, although it probably lacks cut-scenes a bit. it doen't help that you can't look around and move at the same time. That alone I think would make this game a perfect 10 Metroid Prime, with multiplayer (even with the future AOL-Cube internet as a possibility?) would put this game on top of all systems of any generation. Ooo i can only imagine it now... but i have far too many ideas on a perfect multiplayer to create a perfect game. I will just request that Cube makes quick moves online and Metroid Prime 2 will be the game of our lifetimes. Multiplayer or not, Metroid Prime is most obviously the title of the year, and maybe even title of this generation of systems. Metroid Prime 2 online, PLEASE! Multiplayer in the sequel, please bring us to heaven!

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There is no multiplayer. A great 2 player game could be shooting at eachother until someone runs out of energy.

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Nintendo could make it less linear in my opinion.

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the game is a little on the short side

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Only if the gamecube had online for the second metroid that came out.

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Some voice work would really have been appreciated.

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Not having voice work is a little annoying.

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Lack of voice work hurts.

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the backtracking is insanely annoying

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Lack of dual analog controls really hurts the experience

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Constant backtracking makes you want to put someone's head in a f'ing vice.

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There could have been a bit more story to this but what there was was great.

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Too many words: Story is really good, but I wish they had more cut scenes

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multiplayer wuld have been a nice extra

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Also there is no voice acting for the game dude!!!!

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could have been a bit harder with some enemies

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retro did something wrong, not sure how, but the metroids just arnt SCARY.

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it's not perfect. I wish there were voices, it feels like an isolation instead of an epic journey With no multiplayer, this is the area that almost stops this game from becoming an elite FPS. Almost

You certainly have to do a lot of backtracking which is something that nowadays isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t appreciated Although widescreen would've been nice, I've been playing it in 4:3 mode and no complaints - it's still the most beautiful console game ever

APPENDIX XVIII

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Mention of future Past Current game(s) 1 = desire ***Comments relating To previous game = or Wishes for future games game(s) game for change 2 = Metroid: Other M +/+/desire for same 3 = unclear The challenge could be fiercer

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Other M is a step in the right direction.

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a new direction for Nintendo that may be beneficial…

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nintendo, pls rectivy the stuation nest time…

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but at this point one would think that Nintendo could do better

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the next time, because i hope there will be another project M metroid title, i

Samus' suit has all its abilities but she'll only use then when 'authorised' to...well, it's a bit rubbish The morph ball perhaps needs a little jazzing up: it does all the usual things in Other M, which is to say it's an essential and fun tool throughout, but it's not the most exciting part of Samus' armoury The cutscenes are a bit too long Too many supporting characters detract from the atmosphere rather than cultivating it. It’s certainly possible that what the Other M team did for Metroid could potentially shape the direction of other Nintendo franchises, but for now this is a great first step. Never has a Nintendo-published game put so much effort behind a cinematic experience, and we like it. A lot. Keep it up. My big gripe was with the way you "unlock" your weapons. You start off with full suit capability but you refuse to use it until Adam Malkovich gives you the green light, out of respect, as he is the commanding officer. Usually the "upgrade order" will come at the daftest times, like when you run through a powersuit sapping lava area for a half hour. Why wouldn't he upgrade your suit during this time, when you 1st encounter the lava. Maybe he wants to see Samus suffer??? Still, think Project M team wanted to try something a bit different to the usual Powersuit damage intro that in almost all the previous Metroid games. Can you hear me, Nintendo? Bring back Retro Studios and let Team Ninja go back to their cruddy Japanese games.…

I can only hope that Samus' characterization is fixed in future games. And, preferably, that they bring back Jennifer Hale as a voice actress, as the new VA speaks in a dull monotone throughout the entire game.… leaves this a game a dirty stain on an otherwise relatively untarnished series. I blame Team Ninja, the biggest hacks to ever come out of Japan, who need to stop making games before they ruin another franchise. I can only hope for a little more free exploration in the future and a return of classic 'power-ups' (as opposed to contrived 'authorisation') which fueled much of the exploration of past games. This is definitely a step in the right direction for Metroid and Nintendo, I just hope that Nintendo also forget that this ever existed for the time they make a new Metroid game missing one key element that any Metroid title shouldn't be without - the feeling of isolation

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would like the to make something more elaborate and less absurd than that like, i don't know, some kind of virus or suit disfunction where you will find the vaccuna defeating some kind of minibosses scattered through the world, well something like that samus belongs in a 2D or a 2.5D world, and i hope she stays there for her next game What should Nintendo do next? A pure 3rd person game? A 1st Person game? Or a continuation (and improvement) of the 3rd person/1st Person combination. I know I'll stay tuned because I can't wait to see what they decide. It was fresh and different, good things. Except I wish instead that it was just a solid third person shooter; with point and shoot controls and use of the thumbstick. I just wish nintendo would make more effort into not only making the game look better, but also make the games either harder or longer In past games, if you complete it 100% you get to see Samus in her Zero Suit. However, in this game you already get to see Samus in her Zero Suit numerous times in cutscenes, so I was hoping for something else, like a tie in to Metroid Fusion or, you know... no Zero Suit. But nope, all you get is Hard Mode. offering an overall experience where you'll constantly think, "if only I could do this..."

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to see another Metroid installment on the 3DS, hopefully in 2D glory

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I would have gone for this game like a shot (ahem) if they'd given the option of using an analogue controller.

strafing is still needed. I am hoping that in the future, Nintendo would make Metroid's play style similar to that of the newer Zelda games I hold out hope a future installment will rectify the mistakes, trim the narrative, and distill the series back to its core essence of blissful immersion, exploration, adventure, isolation, and player freedom I do not hate Teem Ninja, but they should probably be kept from making a sequel.

APPENDIX XIX Release chronology

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– Metroid

1986– 1987– 1988– 1989– 1990–

– Metroid

1991–

II: The Return of Samus

1992– 1993– – Super

1994–

Metroid

1995– 1996– 1997– 1998– 1999– 2000– 2001– – Metroid

Fusion – Metroid Prime

2002– 2003–

– Metroid:

Zero Mission – Metroid Prime 2: Echoes

2004– 2005–

– Metroid

Prime Pinball

2006–

– Metroid

Prime Hunters

2007–

– Metroid

Prime 3: Corruption

2009–

– Metroid

Prime: Trilogy

2010–

– Metroid:

2008–

Other M

Story chronology

The story chronology of the Metroid universe is not consistent with the release order of the games. Following is the story, rather than release, chronology: Metroid/Metroid: Zero Mission (1986/2004) Metroid Prime (2002)

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Metroid Prime Pinball (2005) Metroid Prime Pinball is, oddly, a retelling of the original Metroid Prime's story in pinball format. Metroid Prime Hunters (2006) Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (2004) Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (2007) Metroid II: Return of Samus (1991) Super Metroid (1994) Metroid: Other M (2010) Metroid Fusion (2002)

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