How Designers Engineer Luck Into Video Games - Issue 70: Variables

How Designers Engineer Luck Into Video Games - Issue 70: Variables

On Sept. 16, 2007, a Japanese YouTuber who goes by the handle “Computing Aesthetic” uploaded a forty-eight-second-long video with the deafening title, “ULTRA MEGA SUPER LUCKY SHOT.” The video shows a high-scoring shot in Peggle, a vastly popular video game, loosely based on Japanese pachinko machines, in which a ball bearing clatters down the screen, accruing points as it bounces through a crowd of candy-colored pegs, which disappear shortly after being touched; more bounces, more points. Although Peggle involves some skill—before firing the ball, the player must carefully aim the launcher that dangles at the top of the screen—you are principally at the mercy of the luck of the bounce. In Computing Aesthetic’s footage, the points pile up as the ball bounces fortuitously between pegs. To underscore the seemingly miraculous shot, Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” blares euphorically until, in the video’s final moments, the ball bearing sinks into the bucket at the base of the screen and the words “FEVER SCORE” flash onscreen. The description on the video, which has been watched nearly a quarter of a million times, reads, “I couldn’t balieve this when it happened!!!!!!!!!”

CHEATERS, B.C.: Loaded dice, often made from animal hooves (above), have been found…
Read More…