A game that can never be a beginner’s tutorial

A great example of unintentional design.

Text/Grey homing pigeon

I’ve never seen a game that can turn the experience flaws into an excellent immersive design like “6 Buildings 301”.

In fact, I played the game last year at Gamera Games’ offline event. At first glance, “Room 301 in 6 Buildings” is a narrative decryption game. It focuses on a warm route and has a slow rhythm. It was so slow that I felt that the design of this game was too anti-human, and I didn’t understand me within 5 minutes of getting started. What am I playing and don’t even know what to do next.

However, after being patient and trying around, I suddenly discovered that this kind of experience design that was supposed to be “anti-human” has become an important mechanism that people can’t help but applaud and be moved by – it uses a kind of almost The beautiful and cruel technique shows the world in the eyes of an old man with Alzheimer’s disease.

“6 Buildings 301” was born out of a real life.

An old man suffering from Alzheimer’s disease wakes up every day, can’t remember who he is, can’t remember what he should do, just wanders around the house where he has lived for decades, looking for something to do things and try to recall something important from it.

This game is not some kind of walking simulator for wandering around the house to watch the plot, it uses a rather interesting dual-screen performance – there are two screens in front of the player:

On the right is a 2D hand-painted house, colorful, like the house we live in; on the left is a maze like a little drawing book when we were young, which is almost the line draft of the picture on the right, representing the world in the eyes of Alzheimer’s patients.

All we can control is the sight of the old man. Waking up every day, staring at the ceiling with almost nothing, his eyes slowly moved down to the house full of traces of life.

In the game, the range that the old man can focus on is very small, and the small boxy frame surrounds her line of sight, and she can only see things that are less than one level. His eyes wandered with difficulty in the labyrinth where he had lived for decades, looking for a way out. Only when he saw some specific objects would he think of the past.

“Room 301 in 6 Buildings” refuses to provide any substantive guidance and assistance in this process. It only allows you to find the answer by yourself between up, down, left, right and click.

As soon as the game started, it showed its ruthless side: I wandered around, wandering around in the left maze, not knowing what to do at all, it sometimes walked into the dead end of the maze, sometimes passed by something, Clicking on the corresponding object on the right seems to have recalled something, but it seems to have nothing.

This led to the first 5 minutes of playing the game, I was literally overwhelmed.

The paradox of this game at the beginning is that it neither guides nor sees the point of the game, and I don’t even know what the goal of this game is – the seemingly interesting dual-screen design quickly made me For a while, I didn’t know which picture to watch, and helplessly didn’t know what to interact with.

But when I tried to push it patiently, I found that this seemingly anti-human and extremely unfriendly experience to players is actually the most extreme design of “6 Buildings 301 Rooms”.

Isn’t Alzheimer’s a helpless experience? There is no sign, every day is forgotten, the house where I have lived for decades becomes unfamiliar, I don’t remember myself, and I don’t remember the past.

But for the patient, the most direct pain is the decline in the ability to think, analyze, and judge. It makes it difficult for the patient to recognize the present moment and the things in front of him, and even do not know what to do now. When I wake up every morning, I stare at an unfamiliar ceiling.

So, how can this game give guidance? What better way to restore Alzheimer’s than helplessness?

Deteriorated judgment made me not know what to do, and my diminished visuospatial ability and concentration made me unable to focus and process what was too complicated. At every step, he could only identify objects in the past from the pressing field of vision, and find an exit from a room consisting only of dots, lines, and planes—even helplessness itself was difficult to perceive.

After taking the medicine, the brain will be clearer, and the field of vision will be slightly larger

After this kind of helplessness that is difficult to perceive is dismantled, it is actually the picture on the left and right sides. The two seem to be competing for the player’s understanding, and they are essentially imitating what the patient sees that are difficult to distinguish.

The right side seems to be the reality that we are familiar with, but it is unfamiliar to the patient, a world that has been forgotten and unknown; Slowly clear your mind and find a world where you can distinguish things.

Therefore, you can see that in the world on the left, all realistic objects are corresponding to a certain concept: the umbrella is the rain cloud, the leather shoe is a villain who goes out, and the wife’s hat is his favorite blue fish, and the crutch placed by the door corresponds to a broken, aching leg bone.

These seemingly meaningless concepts and memories are the only important points in the patient’s world that require effort to capture.

Once you realize this, the gaming experience suddenly becomes different. The “guidance” it lacks is the core of gameplay and narrative substitution. The seemingly hard-to-find “key points” are actually showing the key content in the eyes of an Alzheimer’s patient in a wonderful way.

What’s more, the seemingly scattered level content of “6 Buildings 301 Rooms” is also a wonderful substitution design. This is a time-segmented level that spends 5 days from the perspective of an Alzheimer’s patient.

During these 5 days, players will slowly piece together the identity of the protagonist from these fragmentary concepts:

The first day was the mother, who vaguely heard the voice of her children from the memories of coats, scarves, and handbags;

The next day is a teacher who teaches and educates people. The desk form and the bedside photo evoke the memory fragments of the past;

The third day is the wife, the fish tank on the table contains the goldfish that the wife takes care of every day…

This is also the goal of the player’s efforts to move forward: day by day, from these fragmented details and voices, efforts are made to piece together the protagonist’s past.

But after piecing it together, will the memories be linked together and become a HAPPY ENDING?

This game uses the power of time to describe something more terrifying than forgetting the past.

In fact, on the first two days, we also focused our eyes on the fish tank, but what we saw and remembered were completely different concepts. On the first day, I could identify what kind of fish it was, but I forgot the time of raising it; on the second day, I saw that the fish was well watered, but I forgot whether I had changed the water; on the third day, I woke up and saw something related to my husband , only vaguely remember the connection between the fish tank and his marriage.

This makes me feel that the patient’s low information processing ability will cause the content seen throughout the day to be only related to the first object because of the first object seen at the beginning of each day.

In other words, in the end, even if it is the player’s ultimate game goal, finding their own identity every day is a rather tragic process…

Here I don’t want to go into too much detail about how profound the narrative experience the game brings to me. You have said enough. From the perspective of practitioners, I think it is necessary to point out that the “6 Building 301 Room” brings , is a new design idea related to immersion.

In traditional cognition, the immersion of a game is related to the audio-visual experience and mechanism guidance. The audio-visual feedback that is close to intuition allows players to quickly find the rhythm of their own substitution from the interaction, so as to immerse themselves in the game; and the excellent guidance that constantly hooks people forward allows players to move forward with their own intuition, and unconsciously adapt to the entire game. Game mechanics.

But what about “Room 301 in 6 Buildings”? Its audio-visual quality is obviously sketchy, and the guidance is almost non-existent… Because the secret of creating immersion is that it uses ideas that go against conventional design, and counter-common sense turns experience “defects” into narratives and mechanisms The core of the game – the design that everyone avoids, has become an excellent weapon for this game.

This kind of successful case of breaking the rules and using “defects” to design games is not without precedent.

In the soul-like game designed by Hidetaka Miyazaki, the experience of suffering caused the game to be ridiculed by the media when it was first launched, thinking that its willful design without considering the player’s feelings was disastrous, but in fact, This kind of design that “does not consider the player” has become the core of the player’s game experience that is completely different from the past.

Before Super Smash Bros., fighting games were almost always pitted against two players in a boxy box, with health bars and time to measure winning or losing. Masahiro Sakurai broke all the rules that are the basis of fighting games, created a high platform that would fall, and created a fighting game that surpassed common sense.

In “Word Game”, it breaks many of the current rules: the game must have beautiful pictures, the text can only stay in the dialog box, and the weapons can only be knives, guns and sticks…

The bold application of “defects” in “6 Buildings 301” made me feel the same and unique power in just 2 hours of experience.

Game Grape Recruitment Content Editor,

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