Breaking Fun (2010)

Curated by Joseph Allington
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The projects portrayed here use unconventional methods of motivation. The clearest example is The Negative Motivation Project. It claims that the classic arcade game, Tetris, motivates the player by having accomplishments vanish, while highlighting failures by showing only unfinished lines by game's end. Presenting all the player's mistakes fuels the desire to play again, to correct old errors. Board of Forking Paths uses the classic motivation of seeing a result. Normally, however, the motivation comes from the promise of one outcome, whereas here the viewer is motivated by the depiction of multiple branches at each choice, offering partial visualization of dozens of outcomes at once. Russian Roulette's uses simple curiosity as motivation, but the way it is employed is unconventional. It breaks the normal structure of HTML, as well as the normal protocol of web-surfing, by encouraging one to continue at the risk of one's own computer. Uncertainty regarding link destination usually prompts the user to go no further, but here the uncertainty is plainly stated and the effect is opposite. Color Cubes is a game somewhere between the full visuals in a "normal" game and the absence of visuals in a text-based game. It is often said that the destination doesn't matter as much as the journey, but here the destination must be reached before the journey can be fully visualized and appreciated. The motivation comes from this need for visualization. Attention Hog is a game meant to express the problems with its own genre. It motivates through the same methods it warns we should be less motivated by, such as "distraction as entertainment" and "obsessive need for peer validation". The player is motivated in part by the desire to understand why he/she is being motivated.

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