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  • Writer's pictureTiago Massochin

Confidential Experiments: A Deep Dive into Player Feedback and Game Design

Updated: Jun 14, 2023

A year ago, we embarked on an exciting journey of playtesting for our game, "Under Choices". The second playtest session, conducted over the past few weeks, yielded intriguing insights that led us to rethink some of our game design choices.

Ludo-Narrative Dissonance: A Game Design Dilemma

One of the most significant revelations from our playtest was the emergence of ludo-narrative dissonance in our game. This term refers to the conflict between a game's narrative told through the story and the narrative told through the gameplay. In our case, we aimed to educate players about the phenomenon of doomscrolling. However, our game mechanics were inadvertently punishing players who attempted to resist this practice.

'Under Choices' game-over screen
'Under Choices' game-over screen

The core of "Under Choices" is to offer players the freedom to choose their narrative path. However, we found that traditional gameplay techniques were creating obstacles for players who wanted to challenge the doomscrolling system. This realization led us to reevaluate our game mechanics, particularly the game-lose mechanism.

Manipulation Strategy: A Shift in Game Mechanics

In response to the feedback, we decided to overhaul the game-lose mechanism. We recognized that traditional gameplay mechanisms were hindering our primary objective - to inform and educate about doomscrolling.

Narrative path cutscene from 'Under Choices', illustrating the player's journey
Narrative path cutscene from 'Under Choices', illustrating the player's journey

We decided to retain the concept of our old game-lose mechanics but recontextualize it within our game's narrative. Instead of leading to a game over, failing to complete objectives now unlocks an alternative narrative path. This change aligns more closely with our game's focus on player choice and narrative exploration.

This shift in game mechanics is a testament to the iterative nature of game design. It underscores the importance of playtesting in identifying and rectifying design issues that may not be apparent during the initial stages of development. It also highlights the necessity of aligning game mechanics with narrative objectives to create a cohesive and engaging player experience.

In conclusion, our journey in developing "Under Choices" is a testament to our commitment to creating a game that is not only engaging but also user-friendly. Our meticulous planning and risk analysis, coupled with our dedication to a player-centric approach, are the driving forces behind our project. As we continue to navigate through the development process, we remain excited and passionate about bringing our vision to life.

Signing off,

Zizo Mass


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