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Horror Game Nevermind Learns Your Fears, Knows When You Are Afraid

| 16 Dec 2013 06:36

Nevermind, using a heartbeat detector, becomes more difficult the faster your heart rate becomes.

When Nintendo unveiled its Wii Vitality Sensor several years ago, no-one really knew what to make of it. Even Nintendo later admitted that they were basically grasping at straws. But a terrifying new horror game, Nevermind, is using a similar technology to determine how frightened you are while playing. Simply put, the more scared you are, the more difficult the game is. If that's not frightening enough, Nevermind can also learn what you are most afraid of, and use it against you.

"The more scared you are, the harder the game becomes," says Erin Reynolds, who started the project as a USC grad student in interactive media and was heavily inspired by the movie The Cell. "To complete the game, you have to get pretty good at learning how to manage your anxiety on the fly."

Players take on the role of a "neuroprober," who is a kind of trauma psychologist that helps patients overcome their fears by literally delving into their most disturbing memories. The goal is to "solve" a level before your fear, measured by heart monitors, catches up to you. An example given was one level where a player must solve an anagram in a creepy kitchen. As the player gets more frightened, the room starts filling with milk. If it completely fills up, the player drowns and you die (it looks like Matrix rules apply).

But possibly the most horrifying aspect of the game, is that through dialogue choices and gameplay, it learns what frightens you the most, and begins to use those aspects more regularly. For example, if the player becomes uncomfortable around sexual dialogue, the monsters will become more sexual in nature.

Reynolds says that she isn't just trying to scare the pants off of her players, but believes Nevermind can have a tangible benefit on people's real-world lives. "The tiniest tight feeling in your stomach is a very biological response and the game will acknowledge that," she says, "Which then forces players to figure out what stress management techniques work for them."

If this sounds like something you'd want to try out, you should head over to the official website for more information.

Source: Fast Company

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