Extra Credits: Negative Possibility Space

This week, we conclude our month-long discussion of Choice in video games.

Episode video is on YouTube

Show Notes:

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Recent Comments:

  • i made cartoon about these episode i hope you like it


  • I've seen games that have a sequence where they lead you somewhere, only to have nothing there. I recall a lot of The Legend of Zelda games that had this, as well as the Capcom SNES Aladdin game at one point.

    This basically feels like something that's in a lot of games since, well, a lot of games aren't that well thought-out... which isn't to say that they're bad, they just have a lot of things that no one really thought about or looked at and said "we'd better put something here". After all, it's easy to overlook something that someone else catches onto.

    Actually, remember what I said about how some smartass would look past this and think this is exploitation of emotions? Maybe this is why people don't like Extra Credits, because they ruin the magic of playing video games or enjoying certain mediums. I find it all fascinating, though I have to admit, my eyes are now open to these kinds of tactics such as the illusion of choice and negative possibility space.

    BTW, I like how enthusiastic and how sometimes Dan's voice cracks a bit in this episode, it sounds better then his typical semi-monotone.

    I'm also going to check out that podcast Dan, Lee-Lee, and MovieBob were on!

  • When I was a kid, I felt like a champ when I figured this out on my own:


  • So I'm working on a game that's basically a high scorer / rhythm game, but the theme lends itself to some moral decision making. I happened upon an idea last night where one could get offered a higher score in return for morally questionable behavior. And thought - why don't I just leave it at that?

    If you play the game morally, you will never achieve that score, no matter how well you play. It's a bonus that one has to choose to get tehre, and it fits the theme. The only additional reward you get is by knowing you didn't choose that route. Further, while it didn't strt out as a story driven game, giving thehigher score a dark, unsatisfactory ending might make that work out - but you'd only get there if you can complete higher level stuff.

    Anywway, just one thing that came up when talking about the game's design to a friend.

    Reminds me most of Gunpoint and the dialog trees in between. You get the same puzzles regardless, but the dialog trees in Gunpoint make the game feel like there's a whole lot more agency there than there is.

  • Awww I totally know this Feeling....
    Arcania is one of the best Examples for this...
    I seriously wonder how they managed to make the Sequel to the Gothic Series so incredible bad...
    Throughout the Game from Gothic 1 to Gothic 3 there were always places and spots nearly impossible to reach or totally easily overlooked and yet you always found something in some corner or at some ledge which gave you the feeling that you just archieved something.
    Mostly these were total banally things like some Skeleton with an Healing Potion or some random stuff which was at best worth as much as an single Quest Reward.
    Rarely it was some plant or ingredient which boosted your stats slightly and so on. (these were really importand rewards I mean hey permanent stat boost ^^)

    But in the very least there was always something to be found when you looked around some suspicios place.
    You always got this feeling that you went over the Finishing Line to something.

    Same for doing Bold decisions.
    You always had this choice of just doing things by force but in some cases these didnt really make sense cause you had no chance.
    Yet just in case you really managed to somehow win out of such an choice there was usually an reward for it.
    Wasnt really anything Gamebreaking but hey for the next few Hours of Gameplay you really got this Sword which was better than anything others have this early in the Game.

    in Arcania this was unfortunately scratched....
    Nothing you did really mattered at all. And you noticed right away.
    Straying from the Path ? dont even try cause well theres nothing to be found anyways.
    Found something that looked like some Ledge or place you might reach ? Forget it. Places your not supposed to reach are blocked by invisible walls and if you somehow manage to get somewhere you wont find anything...

    This Negative Possibility Space is an Real Fun Killer in this Regard.
    Arcania in itself if you enjoy an Linear Game aint that Bad actually.
    But this Curiosity most Gothic Players bought along is just deadly dissappointed here.

    Most Players used to play Gothic are Exploring so they really check out the area and want to find something.
    This Expectation is there immediatly after you start the game.
    But the places you can find are always marked so you can hardly overlook em cause theyre practically glowing.
    At the same time some Spots immediatly suspicious and taking you several minutes to somehow get you to reach them you find nothing...

    God this pissed me off so badly....
    After short time I quit because I was totally frustrated with it....
    I placed the game for like 3 hours and 2 hours of that I was chasin and exploring things which were apparently not meant to cared for by the player.
    Running against invisible walls being unable to get up an place which went up by 1 meter over 20 meters range and at the end going as far as puposely always choosing the most rude and most provoking action I could with anyone I talked with hoping that at some point someone might try to hit me or whatever....
    And well nothing happened.
    I uninstalled the Game the same day.....

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