Intend fatigue

If you use fatigue as a game challenge, make it intentional rather than incidental.

Movement results in fatigue. On the one hand, it can be a welcomed challenge for players if they have to manage this fatigue (for example in endurance sports), on the other hand, fatigue can negatively affect engagement. Therefore, intend fatigue when using it as a game challenge, but avoid it when it is not part of the game.

 Nike+ Kinect Wii Party Hanging off a Bar
Nike+ Kinect demands a simple movement action (high knees), but turns it into a challenge of managing fatigue by asking the player to move as long as possible. In contrast, Wii party games are all very short to reduce the chance of fatigue occuring.In Hanging off a Bar fatigue is intentional: the challenge for the player is to hang onto the bar as long as possible, the only opportunities for recovery are rafts to jump onto when they pass by.
Strategies for designers
  • Minimize chances of fatigue by creating short game cycles.
  • Minimize chances of fatigue by varying movements.
  • Distract players from fatigue, for example through music
DOs and DON'Ts
DO use the management of fatigue as a game mechanic.
DON'T assume players know how to manage fatigue, support them in figuring it out.