If there is one thing i always take note of its characters.. From there personality to their actions that follow because of the decisions they make due to it.
A character can have extremely strong influences over your emotions whether it be the connection of getting a innocent character like Heather through a death infested mansion to routing for the uneducated and extreme underdog 'Rocky Balboa' willing him on to win and get that last punch in, its from films and games like 'Rocky' and 'Silent Hill' we get these funny attachments to characters and their lives.
The question is why??? We know its just a film or a game yet we do actually care.. i think there is several reasons for this and the obvious one for a gamer at least is it effects their life in the sense they desperately want to complete their game.
Aside from that as far as games are concerned its the same reason we get attached to movie characters.. Subconsciously i believe we all picture ourselves in their position. Asking questions such as, i wonder what its like to be in that position?what would i do? and what would i do in their situation?... In a sense we do what Mike said in the other weeks lecture. We run simulations in our heads of ourselves in their position and this gives us a sense of emotion towards the character.
Another example i remember well was in the 'Lord Of The Rings'. Poor little Frodo didn't want that ring but he was burdened with it and it turned his quiet life in the beautiful green Shire into a journey through hell. Apart from the sympathy that he was lumbered with that stupid ring there was also a sense or admiration later as he had the chance to just walk away and leave the rings fate in the hands of other but he chose not to. This made the little hobbit an underdog and hero and the instant reaction to a underdog and hero is to back them up and that what everyone who went to see that film was doing, this even spread to other characters in the film.
When it comes down to getting an audience to feel like this much of it i think is dependent on a joint effort between both the script writers and the actors... The script writers may define the narrative and story that puts the character through scenarios we can picture ourselves in, but they don't put the soul or personality into a character that is required to allow the audience to fully relate to a character, that is down to the actor.
The actors often are the ones who define the characters looks along with the directer but its how they are portrayed and the sense of realism and belief in the way they vocalise their lines and its this belief factor that is key to triggering some of these emotions and connections.
Moving off films and back to games...
A good game character is crucial to a game and once again I'm going to refer to an underdog as a example. "Guybrush Threepwood Mighty Pirate" oh how misunderstood Guybrush is lol. Hes the pirate that sucks at being a pirate yet we love him for it because he doesn't give up and lives in this fantasy world that he's the greatest pirate that ever lived. Whats so clever about Guybrush is everything! from his gormless expressions and long rather silly looking face, to his rather childish voice and dim witted comments throughout the game. In a way even if monkey island didn't have a great storyline (which to be honest it doesn't really) it would still be a great game because we all love following Guybrush on his unfortunate adventures.
In other words, and this applys in films to! it takes a good character to make a film or game sell and preferably more than one gets the biggest hits and overall makes the difference between a hit and a miss with film goers and gamers.