Game Development Reference
way for it to shift. If you make the kill and get the AC-130, your team wins.
If you die, your team will win anyway.
The unconscious constantly balances these ledgers of consequence
and directs our conscious attention to the ones that are most lopsided—
that is, the ones with the greatest potential shift in human values. When
the player's unconscious senses a potential shift in human values, he will
A reveal of information is emotionally equivalent to change.
In terms of emotional impact, there is little difference between
learning a fact and a fact becoming true, because the implications and
opportunities are the same. It is the emotional difference between losing a
thousand dollars on a die roll and realizing you've lost a thousand dollars
when the dealer turns over the last card. The die roll was an event, the card
flip was a reveal, but the human value shift and the resulting emotions are
Think of a horror game in which you must walk down a hallway
flanked by several doors. You know the killer is behind one of the doors,
but you don't know which one. This situation stereotypically creates sus-
pense because there is a looming possibility that you will learn something
with extremely important implications (possibly shifting life to death).
Now imagine a sci-fi horror game in which you walk down a hallway
flanked by teleporter pads on which the killer can appear. In one, the killer
was always there and is revealed behind a door. In the other, he teleports
in. But the two situations are emotionally equivalent.
This means that games can create human value shifts by denying
and revealing information. In some games, it can be hard to constantly
generate changes in human values. These situations can be kept more
interesting by not telling players everything, and instead rationing out
information in a structured way to create suspense.
tHe emotional BlaCk Box
Emotion is the goal of game design. But this presents a challenge, because
it's hard to track the precise origins of our emotions.
We can't directly perceive the logic behind our emotional triggers.
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