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Free-to-Play Summit: How Games Manipulate You Through Deceptive Design


Video games are an elaborate deception a kind of virtual magic trick that rely on designers' capacity to weave stories, hide clues, leave puzzles, and surprise players.Designers' deceptions are not always in players' best interests however, and game developers often explore the 'grey areas', sometimes unlocking new player experiences, but also unlocking benefits only in their KPIs and bottom lines.This presentation aims to radically mature the discourse around deceptive design in game development, matching the maturity of discussion for websites and services: to define a list of patterns that can be effectively used to deceive players into doing things they likely would not do without the use of the patterns. For example, games can deceive players by using their mental models against them, eliciting accidental interactions, or employing emotionally exploitative fiction.We go over what deceptive design means in games and introduce and detail novel patterns relevant and evident in recent game design.

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