Esoterics X: The Currency of InputEsoterics X: The Currency of Input

A players input provides a rich economy.

Jimmy Baird, Blogger

June 24, 2010

Players spend a lot on games. Financial and time investments are obvious and kind of useful but very superficial. Can the length of the game justify the price of the game? How can one measure something as arbitrary as length when it is without question, player defined. One could play the game for weeks, one could play the game for minutes. This tangible experience is difficult to measure and justify.

Players invest a input into the game. Consider it like a bank, eventually a player wants a return on their investment. Every button press is sacred, valuable, unique in it's own context and space. What does the game do with a players input apart from mere interaction?

The player that invests a minimal amount of input into your game will reap little return, just the same as a player that invests a great deal of input into the game should possibly reap a significant yield. These examples are polar opposites but necessary. Why did the player who invested a minimal amount of input into your game decide it was a bad investment? Why did the player who invested copious amounts of input think the investment was good? Did the game provide a worthy return?

See, time is just a measure. You can't really invest a measure. A measure is a concept, I can't invest metres into a game. But if I invest input then the game can measure it and we have something tangible.

So the player is investing all this input into the game, what is the game doing with it apart from providing some level of mathematical and aesthetic response, the equal and opposite reactions? This comes back to the Chemical Swastika (See another blog for that esoteric gem). We need the brain to do it's thing. The Chemical Swastika needs to turn and rotate. And if it becomes stuck or can't start, then the game is no longer played, no learning can be taught from this experience, no pressure to place, no euphoria to be cherished, no happy buzz afterwards.

This experience is what the input investment needs to return. Otherwise the players investment into the game is for nothing. But people are always made different and one players previous experience will always differ compared to another. A game needs to measure input to determine a player's previous experience, accumulated experience during the game and projected future experience. And you need to collect input to do it. It is the only communication between the player and the game and it is a games most valuable resource.

A player is investing in your game, and you need to manage their investment wisely otherwise they will withdraw. Input is an economy.

Of course the trick is to make a mechanic with limitless depth and that way you don't require entrance levels at all. But maybe this is part of the trick.