Debate: Annoying/Addicting the way to go?

Today’s post is more of a discussion than a news announcement, so please contribute your thoughts on the subject.

We’ve all played those classic games like Chips Challenge, spending hours and hours repeating the same level over and over again until you start believing your computer holds a grudge against you. One wrong key press and, oops, you have to start all over again… but somehow you manage to pull yourself together and keep playing until you see those words of relief: Level completed.

As annoying as those levels are, you can’t argue the fact they have an addictive quality. It’s almost as if you’ve promised yourself the level must be finished before you can make your daily trek away from your monitor. In essence, the game is feeding its players an addiction of relief and accomplishment. The question is, as a game developer, is this what you want for your users? Is trapping them in a black hole of a never-ending, time-looping, swirl of madness the way to keep people playing your games?

That question is certainly tough to answer, and has been one that has been on the minds of many game developers lately. I remember reading an article about a war game that had to add body armor after beta testing because developers found that many of the testers were outraged at the fact that they died so quickly after just one or two shots. At the same time, the testers were really into the game (mentally and even physically) and were not about to give up just because of a little set-back like an unexpected death after turning the corner.

In summary, do you believe that creating an addictive-annoying game such that players must repeat sections over several times until they are done right is an effective way to keep people playing a game?

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5 Responses

  1. The reason games like Chips Challenge work so well is that the universe follows very strict, 100% predictable rules, and when the player “loses” it is because the player screwed up in some way. The player knows it is entirely his fault, and it was not some random event that ended the game. It’s that belief of personal failure, rather than simply feeling unlucky, that makes all the difference in a game’s addictiveness and the feeling of reward and accomplishment the player gets when he finally reaches his goal.

    There are limits however, and if the player believes that a super-human level of skill is required to complete some part of a game, or feels that the game is unfair by its withholding of critical information, the average player will quickly lose interest in the game.

  2. What xot said 🙂

    Great lack of news lately… I hope it gets more busy around when Yo Yo Games finally starts rolling out those new GM versions.

  3. It’s not necessarily a ‘lack’ of news. Although this may play a part, I also wanted to introduce some new things to the blog like debates/discussions and news that may pertain to the indie game developer in general and not just someone using Game Maker.

  4. [Link Removed] is listing all the latest news from GM-related sites (including GMnews), in case you feel you aren’t getting quite enough 🙂 It makes it very easy to subscribe to all gm news sites at once in your rss reader.

    Robin

    Note: Please read the rules before posting, we do not allow posts which advertise websites and/or are off topic from the discussion (this is do to excessive spamming). If you wish to form an affiliation or partnership and have your link displayed on this site, please e-mail partners@scorptek.org
    -Scorptek

  5. If a game is too hard, I usually quit. It’s especially frustrating when a game’s difficulty has the appearance of a bug, carelessness or even maliciousness on the creator’s part.

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