Borrowed Memories of Raiding

I have found the solution. If you have been following our series on what is wrong with your primate brain, you already know that the brain does not record and re-play memories so much as keep a sketch and then reconstruct them each time. Human brains are known to insert untrue things. And, here is where we get the solution, our brains will incorporate vivid imagery and not realize that the relevant “memories” never happened to us.

Here is the other half of the solution: some game developers make really awesome trailers, and some players make really awesome gameplay videos. MMO gameplay has a really lousy rate of fun per hour spent, except when you are in the mood for grinding and repetition, so why don’t we get a few really good videos of people playing, perhaps with some voiceover work about how fun it is, and then watch those a few times instead of playing? Fast forward a few weeks, and you will have opinions about how much you enjoyed that game you never played. It is like the sci fi stories about recording sensory experience and playing it back on some sort of experience machine, except that your brain will merrily mock up the whole process for you!

Granted, the economics do not quite work out, as we all get enough enjoyment from the trailer without actually buying the game, but we will work on that problem next. Also, my great respect to the many who figured this out ahead of me, hallucinating quite devout opinions about games while they are still in development. I think we can all appreciate the amount of love and hatred already inspired by Guild Wars 2, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and Dawn.

: Zubon

Previously from Jonah Lehrer

8 thoughts on “Borrowed Memories of Raiding

  1. bhagpuss

    I’m pretty much always in the mood for grinding and repetition, so my fun-per-hour rate in MMOs is consistently high.

    On the other hand, I rarely watch promo videos for MMOs and when I do I almost always find them disappointing (recent examples of ones I thought made the game look extremely dull would be Rift and Skyrim). The GW2 ones look adequate, but with some elements I find offputting. The recent ArchAge one does inspire some enthusiasm, though. Gameplay footage on YouTube, the little I have seen, is usually so muddled and awful that I switch it off after a few seconds.

    Generally I reserve judgment until I can get into the game and see for myself.

    Is there research yet on whether knowing more about how memory works affects one’s own memories? There’s interesting (although controversial) research going on over whether the placebo effect still operates when all parties concerned are kept informed of what’s going on. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0112g4r#synopsis

  2. Syncaine

    In a way, this is one reason why EVE continues to grow. Sure, it’s Excel Online 99% of the time for most, but that 1% is what keeps people subscribed or triggers a return.

    It is, perhaps, also why Cata has mostly ‘failed’, the balance between memorable high point and “normal content” is off, and so even if the normal stuff is good, it’s just not that memorable.

    1. Elementalistly

      “It is, perhaps, also why Cata has mostly ‘failed’”

      An example of the brain creating something they wish to happen, and then believing it totally and completely, though not true.

      Failure is in the eye of the beholder?

      Just like those who continually call “Aion” a failure, yet it happens to be NCSofts #1 money maker…

      Maybe we have differeing views of “failure”?

      Oh you MMO players…

      1. Zubon Post author

        I’ll back up SynCaine on that one. Relative to the expansions that preceded it, Cataclysm has done little to nothing for Blizzard’s population. It is falling instead of rebounding. That’s bad.

        I would interpret Cataclysm’s failure to increase population somewhat differently, but it seems fair to characterize an expansion that fails to increase population as having failed.

      2. Gaugamela

        In a capitalist world where shareholders of a company are always putting pressure for increasing profits year after year an expansion like Cataclysm is a failure.

        The population of WoW decreased after Cataclysm was released – the first time it happened motivated not by political or regulatory issues (opposed to when China banned WoW).

        WoW obviously is still THE most profitable MMO but Cataclysm failed to elicit the same growth that TBC and WotLK did.

  3. Arieltalia

    I think this is my entire problem. I’ve been told that I’m one of those people who is extremely easy to hypnotize, and I admit to completely zoning out when watching movies.

    So yes, this must be why I keep buying games thinking I’ll be into them for a long time, and then they become flaccid on me in a month or two. :(

    The good thing is, when I go back to a game and it has improved, I am much more apt to stay with it for a year or more.

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