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September 19, 2017
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Log: revealing truths about the human condition through repeated playthroughs

by Marius Holstad on 12/04/13 01:34:00 pm

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

How do you create a game that would reveal more truths about the human condition with each playthrough?
The game would have to simulate what the designer thinks are the rules of that part of life. E.g. I believe people don't change unless the pain of not changing is greater than changing. This fact may be wrong, but I could portray that world view in a game. So when the player recognizes this pattern, it would arise a feeling in him/her. With repeated playthroughs this rule might become even more apparent.
Will a game with lots of these kind of rules tell something about the human condition?
For this to work the rules would have to reflect one coherent world view. Either you have an optimistic or you have a pessimistic world view. (You could communicate with your rules that the world is a complex and diverse place, but this makes it more difficult for the player to recognize patterns and would end in less emotions.) The example I gave above is obviously pessimistic because the factor motivating change is negative (pain.) An example on the reverse would be that people change once they see the benefit of changing. (Motivated by something positive, benefits.)
So the game should just simply include some laws of life. But how do you make this the central part of a game's conflict? (You can't win life, right?) And would it be a good game?
If we continue with the example I gave before, the central theme is change. If the game is based on this theme, what else can we say about change?
- Everyone changes with time
- Familiar faces become strangers given enough time
- Being witness to a murder change you for life
- Love can infect the mind
I don't feel done thinking about this. It is a very broad topic that I will get back to later.
This is just ramblings. These ideas should be tested before put in real use. There is no point in using them if the player needs to be "educated" to look for these details. The player should not have to be consciously aware of this to feel its emotional impact. I'm just hoping that some of these ideas can be thought provoking.


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