Ok, we were going through all the games a few days ago and played this one a little. I'll try to relate the experience we had.
Everyone liked the instruction screen. We all agreed: it was clear, informative, and the most creative we had seen. When we started the game, though, a sort of hush fell over the room. There was kind of an uncomfortable pause as people digested what they saw. One person said meekly to themselves, "So I press this and then this..." There were some hums and grunts as we started playing. And then one person declared, "This is kind of creepy." And that seemed to be the consensus of the room. We played a few times anyway, about four rounds I think, and then moved on to the next game. Too bad! I thought it looked great and not creepy in the least.
As you said in the first post, the gameplay is pretty much button mashing. From the visuals, it seems like it should be more about psychology or, perhaps, experimentation. What if the game was about the choice: do I shock the other player or not? If the players had some incentive to not
press the button, it might make things more interesting.
The question is: how do you give the players incentive to both press and not press the button but also make the outcome unclear so they have to think: "Should I shock the other player or not?" The source of (at least some of) the uncertainty should be the other player. So that what they are really thinking is: "Is the other player going to shock me
I think the best way to do this might be to give both players a prompt -- some piece of information -- for them to think "will the other person shock me based on this information?" That way, it's not just a pure rock-paper-scissors guess.
See, We know there isn't a lot of gamplay here. The game is pretty much done, but We'd love to listen to your suggestions on how to expand the concept or make It more interesting.Careful what you wish for!
I've been running through ideas that might be more interesting than button mashing.
The first idea had "timed rounds." If neither
player shocks the other at the end of the round, they both get a large reward. If someone does
shocks the other, the person who does the shocking get a small reward.
This could be made more interesting by making the rewards random or unknown or both. And by varying the rewards based on subject behavior. So, for example, if they are both always waiting for the time to run out, the reward for shocking someone could be increased.
But the problem with idea is is: if both players get the same amount of reward (no matter how large), it's really no reward at all. The only real metric is the difference
in player score, which wouldn't change. (Maybe this large reward should be given to a random
player -- with a "probability meter" that shows the probability of either player getting the large reward?)
I couldn't quite get this idea to work. It certainly could work, but it needs much more tweaking.
This evolved out of idea 1. I think it's a little closer to the mark.
Suppose the game was broken into rounds.
Players alternate roles. Let's call them subject A and subject B.
Subject A can shock themself or the other person.
Subject B can choose to redirect the shock or not.
If subject B does not redirect, then whoever subject A selected gets shocked.
If subject B redirects, then the person subject A did not select gets shocked.
It kind of sounds like the poisoned drinking game in The Princess Bride
Anyway, to make it more interesting the intensity of the shock could vary and be partially unknown to the players.
Suppose a lab technician holds up two white cards (think figure skating judges' cards). They both have a random number on them but we can only see the number on one. (Kind of like blackjack, I guess).
After both subjects select an option (double-blind), the hidden card is revealed and the sum of the two cards is the intensity of the shock. That is how much "life" or whatever is subtracted from the person who gets shocked. First person to run out of this pool of "life" loses.
Ok, I should stop there! This turned into a mountain of text
that's probably not clear at all. Sorry guys, that escalated quickly. It's a neat concept, I could go all night... Thanks for the opportunity for a brainstorming session! Always fun.