You know, I have considered both RPG and computer game designs where you just collect stuff. And they seem incredible dead ends – the game play is entirely predictable. You will eventually either gather the object, or quit the application.

But played 359 times as of this writing, is this

I wont describe it except to say it’s been put in the RPG category at yoyo games.

And I gawk at it. I have been trying to figure out compelling RPG design for over a decade now…and I look at this, and I wonder if the masses of RPG players want this…this thing I do not like. I actually got my eight year old son to try it – and he just kept playing and playing it. I actually sat down to watch him and…dammit, I got interested in some of the buttons you can click to reveal new info, or where the gold count is shown. And I had to kick myself, because no matter how many doodads there are, how many little things you can reveal, it all ends in entirely predictable result (you get it, or you quit the damn thing).

And I think, perhaps the general roleplay inclined culture just wants this crap. I can’t win at this decade long task, because whatever I’d make, it wouldn’t be like this – and I don’t like this thing, that’s for sure.

My hypothesis is that it’s merely the ‘complexity’ of the world, ie the jagged coastline, the distribution of NPC’s, the shape of the forrest, that contrasts against the simple click-click-click solution to it all. A really, really, really complex world with a really simple solution. I think theres some part of the human brain, perhaps, that gives endorphins when, in a complex environment, you do a simple task over and over that, slowly but surely, beats that complexity. The slowly part is kind of important, as it gives more of that endorphin (this would be why world of warcraft has to be stretched out so much, so as to produce this feeling).

I mean, the comments below the game are great – here’s one that sums it up

Master IOR – “zomg! This is great! So awesome! In some way I feel like I have to keep on playing, even thought there is no reason”

I really think it must release some natural endorphin in the brain.

I also think I actually do like this chemical too. But I do not like it for it’s own sake – I like it if I get it whist achieving something in the real world, like…

  • A: Beating someone at a game
  • B: Improving my own skills, like maths skills, logic skills, whatever
  • C: Gaining real world recognition
  • D: Gaining some real world resource (unlikely, but some people play various games for money, for example)

But I’m starting to wonder, particularly in the case of mmorpgs, if there are millions of people out there who will play for this ‘beat complexity with simple solution’ feeling alone.

I’m thinking whether I can put together an experiment – put together some complex (in some regard) little game world and have very simple solutions to it all. Then I’ll run it and see.

Update: Amazing, it got a staff pick at yo-yo games!?

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