Like romance in your video games? I know you’ve heard me discuss romance in BioWare games (Why BioWare Enforces They Deserve My Money and BioWare Stands Tall), so please take part in this awesome survey, the NPC Romance Project.
The author of it is trying to help shape the future of video games. She’s a student who is studying people’s romantic behaviors and preferences with pre-written NPCs in RPGs versus people’s real-life romantic behaviors and preferences.
This is an anonymous survey, so your name won’t be recorded. It’s an opportunity for you to be honest about your preferences.
Please, it would mean a lot to me if you could take this survey. The author is trying to get a couple hundred responses, which is why I wanted to make a post about it. I’ve already taken it.
I really want to encourage research and thinking like this in the gaming community, because I think it will help to build a better gaming experience for everyone.
What do you think about this sort of survey?
A Note from the Student:
I’m Heidi McDonald, the student behind this survey. I’m currently a senior about to graduate (knock on wood) in May from Chatham University in Pittsburgh. I’m a double major in Film and Digital Technology, as well as Communications (concentration, Professional Writing). I am currently an intern on the design team at Schell Games.
This project came about because for a 100-level communications class, I had to examine human relationships in any medium of my choosing, so I chose games. I started thinking about the various NPC’s I’ve been engaged with over the years, and when I really started analyzing my own behavior, I realized a couple of things: 1) most romances I pursue in-game are 180-degrees different from anyone I’d be attracted to in real life, but, the one who I was MOST enamored of (Alistair from Dragon Age…played the game through 3x in order to end up with him properly!!!), looks like, and has a lot of the same personal qualities, as my husband. I thought that was nuts, and started asking questions of others.
We can all imagine that role-players use games to explore. That’s not a ridiculous assumption. However, when I tried to find any kind of data behind that, I couldn’t find any! I asked a mentor at BioWare about whether they have ever researched these dynamics, and they had not. I put together a 10-question survey to address the needs of my undergrad class, and, the preliminary data I got was interesting enough to suggest that the study could be more comprehensive and maybe publishable. I approached a few people in the industry who agreed I should study this further and try to publish and speak about it. At this point, the project is based on my own interest and in providing data and analysis not yet (to my knowledge) in use within the industry. As a game writer, if my research can help me and other writers invent more compelling game characters…AWESOME!!!
For the more comprehensive survey, I took adjectives directly from Match.com’s personality test to see whether these adjectives apply positively or negatively to game characters. The original intention of the survey was to include people of all sexualities (who I validate and welcome as friends), and I tried to do that, and am sorry if I’ve made things difficult for some to answer any part of the survey. I am thankful for your feedback and will be more than happy to cite it in the “strengths and weaknesses” section of the paper where I’m discussing my process.
In any case: this started out as something I was interested in. However…it’s gotten so much bigger than that. I am really excited that people are also interested in this and willing to participate.