The Art of Panic Inducing Gameplay and how I Used it in My Final.

As someone who is not a huge fan of adrenaline pumping experiences, it is odd for me to say I have the most fun in a game when I have lost all control. By loss of control I do not mean over gameplay, but the situation in a game. There is something incredibly special, especially in multiplayer games, when a player or group of players is faced with increasing unstoppable odds. When done right, this induces a manic type of panic that makes the player almost giddy. The best way I can describe this feeling is comparing it to childhood sleepovers, when staying up past midnight was undreamt of and any whisper from a friend was immediately comedic genius. That feeling of sheer glee can be recreated in games. Take for example Black Ops II Zombies. Aside from being an award winning experience, Bo2 Zombies brings much more to the table than good mechanics and repeatability. Zombies brings a perfect storm of great gameplay and utter panic to the player. To better explain this, I should explain what Zombies really is. The reality of every Zombies game (excluding Easter eggs) is that you will eventually be overrun by a horde of the undead. Is there anything that can be done about this? No, not really. This being said, the player is forced to embrace the idea that death is inevitable. The situation is out of their control. It can be argued that this would make for boring gameplay if death is inevitable, but Zombies couples that with great gameplay loops and mechanics that add depth to the gamemode. The glee described earlier comes in when the player or players is forced to put off the inevitable. The real question is, for how long? The excitement lies in seeing how far the inevitable can be pushed. Every extra Zombie, every extra round, game after game the player tries to push the envelope that mush further.

My purpose for this entry is to try and fully sum up my though process behind the board game “Run!” that Ben Chronister and I worked on for the final. While it is a tuned down, bare bones version of the essence that Bo2 Zonbies creates, I wanted to see how far we could take it in a board game. The main goal for the board game was to have those insurmountable odds and no way around them. This was represented in a massive, rolling boulder, and a linear path that literally doesn’t let the player go around the boulder until the finish. The board game had to have a win condition, so it could not fill the same niche that Zombies does. However, I think that making this game has taught me a lot about how to go about making a cool experience and capturing the essence I want under restrictions.

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