It can be a strange concept to wrap your head around. When you read a romantic book, your response is as much due to your past experience with romance as it is to the contents of the book. It is very likely that another person, one who has led an unnaturally lonely life, might read the same book and not be moved at all.
As a traditional author, your
goal is to describe experiences that are relevant or highly correlated
with experiences that your audience might possess. This is one very
powerful technique for creating meaningful, emotional impactful media.
This isn’t anything new. Much of what game artists and writers do
involves the creation of relevant stimuli.. All those detailed graphics,
booming sound effects and cliched story lines? That’s relevant
Technology: According to our little theory and building up on the lessons of emotional memories, you can predict the characteristics of highly effective relevant stimuli:
Bacchus doesn’t rely on plot or well-rendered NPCs for its relevant stimuli. Instead it focuses on making the fantastical ‘spiritual’ experiences in the game personally relevant and highly detailed.
The detail comes in the form
of traditional imagery and sound effects that references common culturally
relevant spiritual symbols. The ornate costumes worn by the player
avatars are intentionally laden with various religious icons, glowing
colors, angel wings, etc. The choral sounds are intended
to recall childhood experiences with church choirs or even pop culture
representations of spirituality found in movies or on TV.
Movies and books are typically limited to piling on the detail and hoping that it strikes a chord. Games have the opportunity to make all these details much more personal and relevant to the moment at hand.
The primary technique you see in Bacchus is known as "avatar mapping", where the player's actions are mapped onto an in-game character. It stops being about watching a costumed religions icon and much more about interacting and participating on a personal level with a religious situation.