Embodied cognition computer or video games?
October 14, 2007 7:03 PM   Subscribe

Computer or video gamers: Help me find a game that I can use in my psychology experiment.

For an upcoming psychology project on embodied cognition, participants will need to play a game, either video or computer, that meets all (or most) of the conditions we'd like to test.

The two necessary features of this ideal game:
(a) the player's character could not move in a front-back manner. Ideally, the player would be static or be restricted to horizontal left-right motion;
(b) some sort of object would be approaching the player

In a perfect world, the game would also:
(c) require a high level of motivation (the player is highly motivated to complete a task);
(d) be experienced from the first-person perspective.

To give an example: The type of game I have in mind might be something where the player is, say, in a canoe on a river. The player's canoe is on the bottom of the stream and the player must dodge dangerous objects coming toward him or her (logs) while trying to pick up good objects (fish), only by shifting in the horizontal left-right plane.

I know games like this must exist, but I'm not a gamer and I don't know where to start looking. Wii games that satisfy these requirements would be optimal, but anything will work. Thanks!
posted by irregardless to Technology (23 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I immediately thought River Raid for the Atari. Flash adaptation. Now, this allows up down motion in addition to left right, so it may not work.

Wait, a and b perfectly describe Space Invaders!
posted by ALongDecember at 7:08 PM on October 14, 2007

Or Galaga. Oncoming enemies, left right only.
posted by ALongDecember at 7:10 PM on October 14, 2007

Your example description reminded me very much of the end of The Oregon Trail, when you have a chance to raft down the Columbia River:

It is not possible to ford the river; instead the player can opt to float downstream in a semi-arcade mode, which is uncharacteristic of the rest of the game. In this mini-game, the player must steer the wagon on a raft, while avoiding rocks.

It's not first-person, though, and I suppose the motivation comes from wanting a sense of completion, as it's literally the last thing you have to do in the game ("I made it this far, only a little more to go!").
posted by danb at 7:11 PM on October 14, 2007

There is a fishing minigame in the original Jak & Daxter that sounds exactly like what you're describing. email if you need more info.
posted by peep at 7:12 PM on October 14, 2007

Space Invaders

There are several online versions out there.
posted by youngergirl44 at 7:12 PM on October 14, 2007

Response by poster: One more condition that I forgot to mention:

If possible, all motion in the game should be one-directional, and toward the player. This makes shooting games like Space Invaders problematic, because presumably then the game motion is coming both toward (invaders) and moving away from (lasers) the player. Ideas?
posted by irregardless at 7:20 PM on October 14, 2007

Are simple online flash games OK? Quick searching and I came across this game.
posted by lain at 7:25 PM on October 14, 2007

There's an old video game called 'Toobin' that might work. It's a vertical scrolling 2d game, in which the player is on an innertube. He/she has to paddle with the left and right hands to steer and speed up/slow down. They can, however, move in two dimensions...left/right and up/down, by steering and speeding up or slowing down.

A Wii game that might work would be the shooting segments from Rayman Raving Rabbids. That game doesn't let the player control movement. He/she does move, but it's as the game dictates; the player can't control it. He/she must shoot rabbits with toilet plungers. (who, of course, are shooting plungers back.) It involves sorting between and prioritizing multiple targets, and then correctly shooting the most dangerous thing.

Rayman has a number of other mini-games; you will probably have to play partway through to get to the shooting segments. There are several different ones, and once someone has unlocked them for you, I believe you can revisit them freely.

On preview: this game involves left-right motion on the part of the rabbits, and some of them charge you. Others shoot plungers, which come toward you very quickly.
posted by Malor at 7:26 PM on October 14, 2007

Oh. Wii games. I'm not sure they make such simple games for a new game system.
posted by lain at 7:27 PM on October 14, 2007

Cranky Crabs or Apple Season or several others on Orisinal may fit the bill. Apple Season is extremely simple; the payoff is seeing how high you can score.
posted by iconomy at 7:30 PM on October 14, 2007

Then maybe you'll need a driving game where you have to dodge cars. Believe it or not, the first thing that popped into my head is a game on the Popsicle website. Click on "Games," then "Pop Run." A very simple Spy Hunter.

Or Kaboom! Apple Season is an elegant remake.
posted by ALongDecember at 7:33 PM on October 14, 2007

Also take a look at the classic Windows game SkiFree.
posted by ALongDecember at 7:36 PM on October 14, 2007

Even the Virtual Console games are going to be more complicated than you need, so unless you can use the Wii to play a flash game through the Wii's Internet Browser, you will need some other system.

One resource for a collection of well-designed, but very simple web-based games is the Webkinz website. What? My daughter loves it. You probably need to buy one of their overpriced stuffed animals for access, but ask around to see if any kids you know can let you take a look around.

The type of game I have in mind might be something where the player is, say, in a canoe on a river. The player's canoe is on the bottom of the stream and the player must dodge dangerous objects coming toward him or her (logs) while trying to pick up good objects (fish), only by shifting in the horizontal left-right plane.

I am almost sure there is a game exactly like this there. I will ask my daughter in the morning.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:40 PM on October 14, 2007

Your head asplode
posted by knave at 7:41 PM on October 14, 2007

What if you use one of these games that almost works except for the up-down motion (like the canoe game) and simply not allow your participants to use those controls? You could take the keys off of the keyboard or something.
posted by DMan at 7:56 PM on October 14, 2007

Your head asplode

Videlectrix, of course!

Awexome Cross might be even better than Strong Bad Zone, though. The player moves from L to R at a constant speed, and can jump (by pressing the spacebar) to avoid hazards and collect cash. That's all!
posted by Rock Steady at 8:19 PM on October 14, 2007

Wouldn't any 1st person snowboarding game work for this?
posted by rlef98 at 8:27 PM on October 14, 2007

It's a bit hard for newcomers, but SSX3 in race mode is very nice. You're on a snowboard, and you're going downhill. You're constantly dodging obstacles from a behind-the-player perspective.

It does have something of a learning curve, however.
posted by effugas at 9:13 PM on October 14, 2007

The soccer-ball-heading game (where you have to adjust your balance left to right to hit soccer balls and dodge cleats and panda heads) for the upcoming Wii Fit seems like it would fit your requirements. I'm not sure if you meant to specify that it has to be played on a standard video game controller.
posted by zixyer at 9:17 PM on October 14, 2007

Any 1st person ski game.
posted by signal at 9:19 PM on October 14, 2007

There's a demonstration of the game I was talking about here at the 31 minute mark. I'm guessing the unusual control scheme would get in the way of your study, and the game doesn't come out until next year, anyway.
posted by zixyer at 10:18 PM on October 14, 2007

the original Star Wars arcade game mainly meets your requirements, but the player is allowed to move the viewpoint (somewhat) up/down/left/right. other than this limited mobility, the gameplay is entirely "on rails" otherwise.

there is nothing "going away from" the player, since the player's weapon is laser beams converging on the target (instantaneously) from the corners of the screen. in the trench section of the game, the player is required to shoot "fireballs" and dodge obstacles.
posted by neckro23 at 10:38 PM on October 14, 2007

I think Mario Party or Super Monkey Ball on the Wii will have what you're looking for. I know they both have canoe-like minigames that are similar to what you describe. They are third-person, though.
posted by Sibrax at 9:30 AM on October 16, 2007

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