"Stress and Catharsis" Game Pattern
- This is one of the most powerful game design pattern I've seen, and also simple to understand.
- Every game should have certain kind of "stress" coming ahead, and when a player overcomes that stress, a player should feed some kind of "Relief".
- When there's a set of "stress and relief ahead", we start wanting more of them.
- As a result, game becomes addictive, as long as they can provide a combination of "stress and catharsis"
- In Wikipedia, an explanation of Catharsis is "any extreme change in emotion that results in renewal and restoration".
Applying to a game
- It's almost impossible NOT to find this pattern in a game.
- Any game comes with its set of rules, a player inevitably suffer from some sort of stress. It can just be as simple as learning new game rules, stronger enemies, or more complicated game elements.
- If we can provide a Catharsis in return, a player then can have motivation to keep playing the game.
- Just a simple example of Tetris, a classic game.
- When aligning tetris blocks, you have hard time sorting them out. That's the inevitable stress part of the game.
- Then, suddenly you have this bar that can destroy so many lines at once. Here, your emotion is changed completely into a joy.
New Game Idea using this pattern
- Since it's a broad concept, I don't talke about one new game, but more general advise how to turn a game into a great game.
- Pick one game, and list all the stress point you can think of as a player.
- And also list how they can overcome these stress, and what kind of emotion they'll release.
- Think whether it's too much stress in advance, and also make sure these reward by overcoming stress is well given.
- The tetris example above, I've seen an advanced tetris game that adds more complicated blocks that's harder to use.
- Stress increases by this feature, but I don't think it adds any extra Catharsis to the game.
- If tetris's Catharsis is all about earsing many lines at once, I would add a "dot" block that can penetrate exsiting blocks.
- So even if you missed to fill lines, later on, there's a chance to "fill" theses lines by inserting a "dot" block.
- That should contribute to the game Catharsis more directly.