Original Comparisons: Why Frustrating Game Design is like a Gift Card

Let me ask you another thing, have you ever been frustrated or perhaps endeared by the lack of options you wish you had in a video game? I have heard many people say that not having certain accommodations to make things easier, or for certain strategies to be be allowed, guided them into enjoying the game a whole lot more than they would have otherwise. And yet lots of people may berate such people for insisting the game devs didn’t give more options, more leniency, or more challenge, more customization. What do you think is at the heart of this, half the gamers losing their shit over their wishes about what could have been an improvement, the other half feeling so good about themselves for having been limited in their experiences?

Perhaps this comparison will enlighten you…..compare frustrating game design to a gift card. A gift card feels very different from a cash present. But why is this, when the value is just about the same? Because, a gift card is a person saying, I will take you to a place, I will create an experience for you. I will allow you to bring yourself to an experience of my choosing. I will put an interesting limitation on your choices so that some special delight of a purchase of a good or service might happen to you. Something that feels as though it couldn’t have happened without my helping you. Like a weird marriage of intention and effect being both very constrictive and liberating.

You hear people praise other people for constraining their choices and limiting their experiences. And it’s so upsetting, except it isn’t, because that’s something we all do. We bind other people when we do anything, we create possibility for them when we do anything. It’s quite the interesting phenomenon, isn’t it? Almost as though we are being pulled from different places within the universe, like magnetism outside of us is competing in a steady, wave-like dance. I suppose you can call this undulations. Which cause your very will to undulate.

People who say kind things about frustrating design choices within a game or anything else, they have felt themselves ease off and rise again inside that love. They have undulated, and that it why it is so hard to change them. Their experiences, so small and meaningless, so very far-reaching and relevant, feel as though they waver into eternity. And thereby they are drawn to speak about it on the internet. They know not whether what they say will change another person’s appreciation for their favorite product, or whether they are just trying to validate their own emotions by casting them into the cyberspace. Inside that undulation, we roar in vanity across the cosmos.

We, doing something as strangely awful as defending features that we love being pulled from us, feel absolutely beautiful. And you wouldn’t be wrong. But you undulate in a way that I find somewhat worth appreciating less. I personally prefer being able to play the way I already did. Fortunately I have found the game of deconstructing what makes you feel so elegant, what allows you to feel like a master. Let that be my gift.

If I have engaged you, then read my manifesto.


Published by commanderdoubledge

As strange as Willy Wonka, as sincere as Benjamin Franklin, I am the one who is going to bring purpose to the internet. I am Commander L1 Doubledge.

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