Nevermind Uses Biofeedback to Increase the Frights
Stay calm or die in Nevermind, the new adventure-horror game which senses your fear through gaming peripherals. The more stressed you are, the more Nevermind will stress you out.
Polygon reports that developer Flying Mollusk claims Nevermind was designed with the intent of helping grant real-life skills to its players. Using different kinds of peripherals like the Apple watch, or the Microsoft Kinect, Nevermind monitors your heart rate and adjusts its gameplay accordingly. As you grow stressed, the game grows more difficult, forcing you to take a few moments to calm yourself down, lest you become overwhelmed. Once you do, though, you're removed from the panic-inducing stimuli for a bit so you can collect yourself. Failing isn't about punishing the player, it's a chance to collect your thoughts, control your feelings, and reapproach the problem. For example, a deathtrap in a room could get worse and worse as your heart rate stays elevated, forcing you to regain composure and look at the problem in heroic, almost professional manner to ward away the impending menace.
"It’s a way to practice ending feelings of anxiety and stress and hopefully the skills you gain can be skills you use in real life," said Flying Mollusk founder Erin Reynolds.
While this is certainly a unique and fascinating approach to suspense gaming, whether it will hold up for an entire game has yet to be seen. Players may grow so accustomed to the game that they're unflappable, rendering the stress-induced gameplay moot. Or, conversely, anxiety-prone gamers may find repeatedly confronting their anxieties too stressful and avoid the game entirely. Or, if the biofeedback equipment doesn't properly calibrate baseline heart rates, players may get a skewed game experience. Nevermind's daring and original, so here's to hoping its gameplay elements can live up to such an interesting premise.
Nevermind is set to be released for PC, Xbox One and Oculus Rift this fall.