Touchy Feely: Tomb Raider and Haptic Design
Apparently I love the way some games convey a sense of space and physicality through touch, specifically animations of characters touching walls and other people or animals. If you trace the movement Lara's hands make in Tomb Raider, for example, you will find them tracing out patterns of interaction with her environment in really clever ways.
Of course it makes sense for an adventure game based heavily on platforming to include tactile animations. Indeed, I have actually written about this "touchy subject" in regards to Prince of Persia and Ico, two games that melded game design and haptic sensations beautifully. I should say, not all games do. Most character movements in first-person games, almost necessarily, feel stiff and forced, failing to detail the world in their movement at all. Mirror's Edge is an obvious exception, but I might include Portal 2 in there, if for no other reason than the high-fives and teasing animations in its multiplayer component. The Mass Effect series, even though it's third-person, also feel clunky and unrealistic, as does Gears of War (although that's probably the point).
Some 2-D games also create a sense of space or flesh out characters with touch. The way Super Meat Boy squashes down a bit when he lands from a jump is lovely touch. The same can be said for the way the ninja in Mark of the Ninja leans forward when walking, heavily and assuredly, as though stalking prey. These little touches, particularly when they meld with other design aspects, such as Lara's frantic dodge maneuver, can add depth to characters and a richness to the world.