Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Fears, and fear in games...


Fear...

False Expectations Appearing Real...?

Forget Everything And Run...?

Forget Every Acronym Really?

Whatever it is to you, the question is what should it be in our games...?

I have a problem with Dentists...

There, it is said...

I have a problem with dentists because I have no good memories of Dentists from when I was younger, just a bunch of really bad memories, fillings, bloody extractions, and all manner of things that really just put me off going for life.

I went again today and found the experience had changed somewhat, and I have a little hope for my ongoing relationship with the tooth fairy, but it got me thinking.

That's an irrational fear, something that was a result of a few people having a major impact on my life that I couldn't have foreseen in any way, much less try to mitigate the damage caused by what was done back then.  That led me to thinking about how we portray fear in games...

I've only seen fear and the negative effects of fear portrayed well in one game, and it wasn't a tabletop game, but the video game, Darkest Dungeon.

In that game, you play brave heroes going to try and free a small hamlet from the tyranny of an ancient evil lurking below the ground.  You venture into areas and try to succeed at quests, and all along the way, you have two bars, physical and mental, to chart your ongoing stability.  Every time you take a hit from a weapon, you lose physical hit points and gain mental stress.  When you've taken enough mental stress, you are challenged, and this then manifests that you may become afraid or paranoid (amongst other things) for the rest of the level.  While you're afflicted, your mental state puts additional strain on the other people in the party, so that it's possible for a few nutjobs to unbalance things for everyone else.

No Brexit Comments Please...

It got me thinking though, the fear of having one of your party go nuts means that you do your best to keep everyone on the straight and narrow, and because it's a computer game, there's no GM to mitigate sudden and catastrophic player disharmony that might occur.  It also means that the game becomes significantly more difficult when you have one of your people flip, almost impossible when two go, and utterly beyond enjoyable playing when all four are gibbering.  This in turn means that the game is far more tense as a result, and that got me to considering...

How much realism do we want in our games?

I don't have a sanity/fear/delusion mechanic in Quest, it's not that sort of game, but I wonder whether something needs to be put in place for dealing with the things beyond human comprehension, or, like Delirium in Werewolf: The Apocalypse, is it something that shouldn't affect the characters, only those around them?

The other issue I have is that I understand more than I let on that Mental Illnesses are a terrible thing to have to deal with, both for those who suffer them and those who have to care for them.  These things are life changing, and that they often cause massive debilitation for those who suffer from them, which is a thing I cannot imagine anyone wanting to actually play through, even on the more narrative based games, it just doesn't seem like fun to me.

So what's everyone's thoughts on this?

Is it useful to have something that monitors your level of mental stability as well as your physical ability?  It is verging just a little far into the realms of "This is too much like real life..." for most people, or is it something where it's nice to be nuts once in a while...?

Discuss?

And Darkest Dungeon is available on a number of platforms now, really good game, just don't be surprised when you (not the heroes) go nutty when you've played it for too long...

No comments:

Post a Comment