Consider the following 3 hypothetical game scenarios, which you probably are familiar with anyway:

1st scenario: The game is insanely hard. You are severely punished for mistakes you make and forced to start over again from the very beginning. Rewards are scarce and costly. Choices are limited and most lead to a brick wall and you can often lose game control due to bugs or design. There is a lack of information about what you should do to complete the game or how to do it, and the game creator does not provide any answers let alone support the game. For how long are you going to play this game?

2nd scenario: The game is challenging but rewards are worthy. You only severely punished for stupid mistakes. The goal is clear and there are plenty of clues on what to do and how to do it if you just look. There is a multitude of choices that provide alternative story lines and you are in a driving seat. The game developer is invested in the game and the game support is good. For how long are you going to play this game?

3rd scenario: The game is an “Easy Mode”. The challenges are for 3 year-old and the rewards are thrown at you regardless of what you do. It is hard to make a mistake, but if you somehow manage, you get a “naughty naughty” tap on a wrist… and then a reward anyway. The game is an eye-candy and the game developer is holding your hand all the way, telling you what to do and which door to open. For how long are you going to play this game?

Now imagine that the game == your life and the game creator == parents, school, state. You can almost compare this to lower, middle and upper class life scenarios. Which class would be more satisfied with their “game” and feel inspired to continue playing it? While the 3rd scenario looks most attractive as it presents most rewards, the reward is only as good as the challenge that leads to it. Without proper challenges rewards have no values.

Why am I not surprised at all that gaming industry works hard at crossing 2nd and 3rd scenario gap using all sorts of excuses about that this is what their customers want? True, this is what customer desires, because this is the human nature. Whether you give this to the customer and hold their hand or tease the customer and let him work for it are 2 different things. Unfortunately, gaming being a big business, if you don’t give the customer everything they desire on a silver platter, your competitor will. And this is why we are where we are.

I apologise as this was not quite Arma related.