Exploit risk

Exploit physical risk sensibly.

Movement, especially in everyday indoor environments, has an inherent sense of risk associated with it: there is the risk of injury, the risk of breaking furniture, the risk of hitting another person. However, with risk also comes a sense of thrill, which can contribute positively to the game experience.
   Hit Me
 JS Joust  Hit Me! Bubble Popper
 In JS Joust, players try to jostle each other's Move Controller out of a perfect level position. There is the risk of jostling the other player also, which adds to the thrill of the experience. In the game Hit Me!, players have to press a button on each other's heads to win. Jumping and striking the other person on the head feels risky, but the helmets mitigate the potential for injury. The game creates a strong feeling of being 'in your face' with another player, while making it less likely that anyone will get hurt. In Bubble Popper, players have to hit bubbles before their partner does: the game exploits the risk of body contact, blocking and pushing each other out of the way as an engaging game element. 

Strategies for designers
  • Make players aware that they are engaging in a risky activity.
  • Consider the environment when exploiting physical risk.
  • Let players' movements interfere with each other to facilitate body contact, which has physical risk associated with it.
DOs and DON'Ts
DO put the player's safety first.
DON'T assume players will be fully aware of any emerging physical risks, as they might be distracted by engaging play.