discussion about hidden mechanics

In playing through the Game Play in this sub-level, what are some potential hidden mechanics that you may have come across?

As our course resource exploration page mentioned, mechanics are one aspect of the game elements that will create a “seamless experience”. Other parts, such as art, story, and rules/assessment, must fit together well with mechanics. The reading resources provided great insights into how these elements come together. Hidden mechanics mentioned in the “extra credit video” are introduced to enhance the player experience and are designed to skew things and twist the perception of our notoriously naive human psyche. Designers prevent the player from feeling things that are bad or wrong. Instead, hidden mechanics can provide the player with tension and empowerment. The designer tricks you into thinking you have an essential role and your actions matter. The game makes you feel good because your brain receives praise, enjoyment, and stimulation as you make your way through a well-designed game. Implicit rules are part of the illusion that makes a game good for players.
Looking at the “Game Play” resources, I noticed a few hidden mechanics, not explicitly given, but that made the game enjoyable. For Eve Online: the teaser mentions prosperity to attract players. I would expect the gameplay to be skewed to enhance chances of prosperity (vs. warfare) so players can receive an enjoyable taste of it. The demo says players’ alliances make the rule. It places the player agency as a primary influence toward the outcome and will empower players. As a player, you are an immortal pilot, the ultimate trick to defeat death and feel much better about our complex human condition. Ships can be customized, so you decide how to equip them. All your choices matter. You become stronger and brighter as you receive more skills (they are “injected”). You can reinvent yourself in new ways. There are so many possibilities you could replay over and over. All types of players are invited to enjoy competition, cooperation, exploring, prosperity, and even experience unlawful activities (piracy). Well, the design is done in a way that so there is no limit to what you can experience. After a while, the universe will resemble you as it is made of all your decisions. It must be hard to leave the game environment once you have invested and immersed yourself in an alternate reality like Eve. This game tricks the player’s brain so much that I find it dangerous for young minds who can get confused with their world, what powers they have, and how rules work in real life and at school.


Schell, J. (2020). The Art of Game Design A Book of Lenses. Chapter 5 – The Game Consists of Elements. CRC Press, 3rd Edition. (pp. 51-59). Retrieved from: https://umsystem.instructure.com/courses/144554/files/16494569?wrap=1

de Lima, E. S., Feijó, B., & Furtado, A. L. (2016). Player Behavior Modeling for Interactive Storytelling in Games. In the Proceedings of SBGames 201611. Retrieved from:


Game Analytics. (2018). 7 Incredible Game Design Examples and Why They Work. Retrieved from: https://gameanalytics.com/blog/incredible-game-design-examples/

Links to an external site.Links to an external site.

Links to an external site.

Extra Credits. (2017). Hidden Game Mechanics: Design for the Human Psyche. Retrieved from: https://youtu.be/sLXLlJ7FhJU

Very nice discussion of hidden mechanics, they are really important to keeping players engaged but you also bring up the issue of those same hidden mechanics becoming preventative. Having defined end points to a playthrough can help alleviate some aspects of this (in a way being a hidden mechanic in and of itself) to force the player to pause and step away.