The King of Misery
We were recently challenged to create a card game based on people's emotions. How it works is completely up to us, but presumably there has to be a purpose and a way to succeed. Don't want to use the word winner - too emotive.
Most card games are based on a 52 card deck with 4 suits, each containing the numbers
from 2 to 9, and the Ace, Jack, King and Queen for usually, the most valuable cards. So the first question to answer, is shall be go for 13 emotions, and 4 demonstrations of them, or 4 emotions and 13 examples of them. The first one seems somehow easier.
I wonder if I can think of 13 distinct emotions: happiness, sadness, fear, anger,
astonishment, hope, disinterest, elation, surprise, disgust, love, hate, any offers for the 13th?
Probably the easiest card game format to copy is collecting pairs, of the same type of card - like four Queens or four Aces. The game would have the cards face downwards on the table, and you would take two at random and decide if they were a pair or not, and if so, collect them and get a point for it. . If not, you would have to put them back and hope for a match on the next turn.
But the mechanics of the game relates to how one should demonstrate the emotions on the
card. One could use emojis but that would be far too easy. So it has to be real photographs. I looked on the website called "emotional faces" and sure enough there were hundreds to pick from. But somehow most of them looked fake. These were actors who were told to be happy, sad, angry, distressed, disgusted, etc. but they just all looked unrealistic. So we decided it had to be candid pictures, used without the owner's consent.
My first thought was photo albums. I have probably a million photographs in various albums in my house. That is because I am the family historian and everyone sends me the pictures they were going to throw away, of their ancestors or people who they no longer recognise. I have put the
relatives into albums, and sure enough I could produce at least 13 pictures of 4 different people. But the challenge would be to find 13 emotions. Most of the photos were taken at happy occasions - parties, weddings, not many cameras on show at a funeral. The only truely candid pictures I could provide where the emotion was not faked, were pictures of children, whose relatives thought it was funny to show him or her in a strop or miserable mood. I used to hate having my picture taken (still do to be honest) so most of my pictures show me looking miserable or bored or annoyed. But childhood pictures are not really what was wanted for this game, which was to be about empathy.
My next thought was the soap operas I watch regularly. I have been a fan of Neighbours and Home and Away since they started, when I was watching with my young children. I tried to remember yesterday's episode. There was a scene where a person who wanted to meet real victims of crimes, broke into their house, and frightened them, and angered them, and annoyed them. The person who had organised the tour of the neighbourhood crime scenes was supposed to show remorse, but it didn't come across. I wondered if she was that good an actress, and she was playing the part of someone without understanding emotions, or she was just being herself. I wondered if I could pause the programs and print screen the important bits.
Then I thought of another media which might be better and more natural - the news. Certainly on that we could get some good pictures of fear and anger and hatred and misery.
So I end without yet making a game. But probably with a better understanding of how difficult it is to
read people's emotions.