The fruit machine, which associates a repeatable trivial action with getting a random reward, exploits a drug-like loophole in human motivation. This gambling high is so powerful that it has historically been considered a vice and strongly regulated.

The distinction between video games and fruit machines goes back to the genesis of the medium. During early moral panics, video games vehemently and deliberately differentiated themselves from fruit machines and reassured parents and government regulators they were "games of skill, not chance" precisely because gambling regulators would just ban video games as fruit machines. Coin-operated games like Asteroids and Pac-Man, though difficult, rewarded skilled play with extended playtime.

Unfortunately, decades from the original moral panics about coin-op games in the 80s, the fragile new artform is being degenerated and crushed back into fruit machine land. The distinction has been lost, and we are increasingly seeing video games first adopt fruit machine characteristics and then be completely swallowed by their gambling qualities.

The stimulus provided by random reward is so intensely powerful and prone to dominate all other aspects of design that video games should perhaps be explicitly restricted to deterministic forms based on skill and player agency.

Pulling a lever to get a prize like a wireheaded rat is not defensible as an "artform," and prohibiting fruit machine mechanisms in gameplay gave rise to the video game as a new interactive experience.



I would also like to see the end of these mechanisms, but the defense will crop up that a game with these mechanics will be games of skill. What can be said to that?

For example:
DOTA 2, Team Fortress, CSGO, Overwatch, Quake Champions are competitive games with their fanbases that will proclaim that are games of skill, but do contain fruit machine aspects e.g lootboxes.

There are two different origination points of the skinner box in video games. RPGs and gambling devices like pachinko, slot machines and so on. You can't defend RPGs and be against skinner boxes.

i'd argue that's it's less of a problem for games that just hand out drops randomly like those you listed, which isn't to say it's not a problem.
we have kids (and adults) turning into junkies over phone games which are simply pay or wait to open this next thing which could be something great. at the very least it should be regulated for minors.

I'd like to see the end of them because it seems to me like it tells devs that it's completely alright to charge for cosmetic shit even though you've already paid for the fucking game.
I wouldn't even mind cosmetics that much if they didn't sell for anything over 10 cents, and if they respect the orginal artstyle of the game, but hey special snowflake faggots have to stand out with a shitton of particle effects and garbage, right?
Wish I could turn that shit off.

That's easy to differentiate. You are paying real money for these loot boxes in the hopes you will get something that be worth more than what you paid for the loot box. Considering that you can get store credit for it, that is more or less gambling.

Sure you can, if the rpg is a one time purchase then the skinner box shit is a time waster, but if it has a cash shop with loot boxes then it's gambling.

Still a fucking skinner box. RPGs are objectively the worst genre of video games.

I thought that was visual novels and walking simulators.

Not video games. RPGs are quite close to being visual novels and walking simulators to be honest.


if you can leap half as good in real life as you do with logic, you could win the olympics

Wew, I didnt expect the "Ill simplify thing I dont like to call it skinner box" fags to pop up this soon. Couldnt even inb4

The last RPG I played and enjoyed was Dragon's Dogma Dark Arisen. I fully played and enjoyed the story and the RP aspects, but the end game, people treated it as if it was a fruit machine. What they did was save before opening the boss chests, and suicide if they didn't get a drop they liked in order to reload and get a reroll on drops. Even though the game was single player and had a definite end in which there's no point in getting the best gear in the game.

The same goes for Divinity Original Sin where people advocated for monster respawns (developers declined), did something similar and reloaded for gear, even though that game also has a definitive end and you can't play your characters once you reached it without using save points.

It really isn't that simple.

RPGs and games with RPG features are quite literally skinner boxes, all you need to do is replace food with experience points.


But what about all those people completing the games doing level 1 runs? Not all RPGs use auto accumumulated experience.

You're impling exp is the reward, instead of whatever you actually get for leveling up.

Challenge runs are a player-imposed way to extract fun from a game. You could play any game using limitations, like playing an FPS with only the pistol weapon, or a platformer without the powerups.

Levels are just accumulated experience points.

It's interesting because they don't have to be. The original Legend of Zelda used 95% fixed rewards with random drops being only replenishable stuff. Those last random drops could be designed away.

For pure RPGs, I think the skinner-factor is mitigated somewhat by (a) heavy penalties for bad gambles and (b) control over input variables. If you're having to crunch numbers and take calculated risks that's better, but all random elements are a slippery slope, so RPGs should ideally just be redesigned to be deterministic.

Are you saying better equipment, or upgrades to your moveset are just accumulated exp?

I believe they also call those "Liberal Arts colleges"

no fucking shit

Finding a new weapon in an action game is a skinner box equivalent with his logic.

The Legend of Zelda isn't what I'd consider an RPG, it's an action-adventure game. One of two genres that should have replaced RPGs all together.

You need experience points and in-game money to acquire those things in almost all RPGs.

Plenty of RPGs have equipment upgrades as random drops, even turn based RPGs.

Unpredictability is a part of risk management games, and a lot of games are designed around that (e.g strategy, tactics, and some rpgs). Many games use RNG to create an unpredictable and chaotic environment.
If it is deterministic with definite input and output, how do you make that unpredictable?

Things aren't as fun without an element of uncertainty, especially when it comes to male primate brain structure, we aren't rats. Good luck.

So it comes back to being based on random chance. It's a dice roll, a roulette wheel.

Uncertain doesn't mean random.

From an individual living life on a hostile planet perspective it does, our evolution expects random happenstance. The skill is mitigating those forces and we get bored when we feel we have conquered them completely.

Rainbow Six: Siege recently added this type of thing, but so far they've implemented them pretty cleverly. You basically get a percent chance of rolling for one of the packs at the end of a won game, if your roll misses, your chances increase. If you lost the game, you don't gain the roll but your chances still increase. You are not limited on how many packs you can win. You can buy those packs from the in-game store BUT you can do so only using grindbux and you can't get grindbux in any other way than just playing the game. You are not limited on how many packs you can win in the post-game roll.

It's (usually) not like in a crowd of monsters, some give 0 XP and some give a lot, and the player is explicitly farming for the ones that do give XP. XP is typically way more reliably acquired with an insignificant jitter in the quantity.

I thought "fruit machine" was this, a fruit vending machine. Put money, get plant to eat.

It will be an illogical and this unusable defense. You cannot use skill to defeat random number generators. Also, typically when you get caught "cheating" by finding the PRNG loophole you get charged with a crime.

Randomness is a cheap way to implement uncertainty into a game. Take for instance a boxing match. Both boxers are uncertain what the other is going to do, but they likely have a good clue what the other might do, so they play assuming they will repeat the same actions they have before. In level design, you are creating a challenge for the player to face, you are in a way fighting the player. The player doesn't know what will happen when they open the blue key door; you don't know if they will open the blue key door.

What happened to freedom for people to spend their money as they like and entertain themselves with things they find to be entertaining. I don't like board games on a video game platform,,, but I'm not going to argue to ban them.

It's more like you'll get people who deny games that incorporate fruit machine concepts, being fruit machines. It's an arguable grey area. Some guy plays for the "shooting" aspect (no interaction that can be considered with fruit machine), others indulge in opening loot boxes (complete fruit machine interaction), some are a mix of both.

It seems to be increasingly common in competitive online games as an attempt to maintain a multiplayer community and get income from microtransactions. The latter you can have a traditional pay to play, the former hasn't really been solved.

Human beings will test every avenue until they uncover all potential outcomes. That is certain. Therefore that scenario is finite, which is why greedy corporations will use RNG to keep people interested in their games as long as possible. I'd even say that the more completely a civilisation conquers its environment, the more games of chance will gain popularity as people look to simulate the feelings they currently lack.

Every single one of those games is trash and takes no skill.
Just metafaggotry.

If I assert that, I have likely no way of backing up that claim because I never played them, will likely lose to anyone who's played it for a decent amount of time, and reinforce the opposite.

Nice bait

What happened was just that.
Then game companies being free to pursue business strategies that allowed them the most profit.
Which was anti-consumer (DRM, always online, pseudo-platforms i.e Steam and Steam-clones),
psychologically exploitative (RNG and gambling aspects integrated in genre that did not traditionally have them),
and plain shitty (casualized games, abandoned niches / we want CoD audience / we want to redesign series traditionally on x hardware for ports, homogenization).

This mindset would have the best of both worlds if the average buyer out there was mindful about what they purchase, but there was an influx of people who buy on impulse, too new to have standards and preferences, or simply do not care.

Modern fruit machines have become incomprehensible. I played one where it started drawing lines between a big grid of things and I got some vampires and a faggot and I won $80. I have no idea why it considered it a win, but I left and it paid for dinner.

a fruit machine is a slot machine. Over there you can play them in pubs.
The Crystal Maze was the fucking shit, by the way. Although that was kind of halfway between a fruit machine and a videogame, because it was hard as balls but you could keep playing if you were good enough.

Vid related, pretty much any game imaginable requires some level of skill. Overwatch has a low skill ceiling, a good team can evidently still shit on an average/bad one. Before I get screeched at for being an OWfag I've never played that garbage, I just remember this video.

as long as casuals keep buying into it developers will keep putting them into their games. At this point just let the dogs eat dog food.

If you want to go with that then yes even gone home requires skill but we all know what someone means when he says something doesnt require skill.

Sounds like you should write this angry essay to your local, state, and federal gaming regulation bodies, citing specific examples. Especially since real money is inherently tied into this virtual slot machine shit in the form of keys/crates/whatever to "open" them. Valve is a big target with infinite money and an army of lawyers that could tie it up in court for decades, but you could probably talk regulators into setting a precedent with someone like Blizzard that they have a chance of bleeding enough to settle.

I can't accept widowmaker killstreak videos as evidence of skill here.


They should just ban slot machines period. I see dumb junkies and rednecks playing 777 GOLDEN SUPER SLOTS on their Obamaphone with the volume on, especially on public transport. I used to see people doing it using the common computers in the library at my university. You're not getting any fucking money, nothing is at stake, so why do it? Is virtual blackjack too challenging or something? My grandpa complains about not having any money when his wife runs off to the indian casinos on a weekly basis. Also, slot machine segments in videogames are bullshit and rarely done well. Just get rid of these fucking things. In fact, get rid of the casinos so that all the indians starve to death.

Actually, I can. RPG mechanics have an entirely independent justification when used in actual RPGs. The intent is to separate character skill and power from player skill, leading players to make decisions differently based on the type of character they are playing. The problem comes in when RPG mechanics are grafted onto other genres that do not prominently feature actual role-playing, because in that case they're usually just there to be a Skinner box. This is blatantly obvious if you've played the traditional pen and paper RPGs that vidya RPGs derive from.

Everyone says skinner boxes are bad, but what's so bad about
other than the perceived difficulty of the action not lining up with the perceived value of the award?
Further, the skinner box is the basic principle on which all life operates

That's the exact issue. If the player performs an incredible action and gets an incredible award, there's no problem with this sort of design. If, instead, the player performs an easy action and gets an incredible reward, or if the only action the player performs to get that award is "have good luck", then there's an issue.

depends on game but lets use overwatch as an example, the level of variety and skill ceiling are pretty low so after a short while you aren't playing because you like playing or want to improve, you're just grinding to get your next skinner box. That's the issue but it works on hooking the casuals so whatever

Play should be fun enough to be its own reward. It's possible to do both but the more central the reward structure is to the game the more likely it is that it's the Skinner box component that's keeping people playing rather than the gameplay, so judging based on that is a good heuristic.


I (unfortunately) have overwatch because my friends talked me into it to play with them, you'll be burned out in like an hour because there's so little match variety.

Thus the true problem rears its head.
The crime of so many games with lootbox mechanics is not that they are skinner boxes, but that they are unengaging skinner boxes.
Webm related, is a video about making skinner boxes.

The Overwatch playerbase is burning out though, because Overwatch is not an engaging enough skinner box comparwed to the current casual darling, PUBG.

Have you considered that perhaps you just don't like that game?
And it is in fact not an evil ploy to abuse human psyche?
I mean the whole reason Overwatch exists in the first place was because blizzard was hemorrhaging money to spend on retarded shit

there are aspects of overrwatch I am willing to admit I enjoy, but blizz finds it more profitable to create short-time events with locked cosmetics than actual fucking game variety. I'm sure lots of casuals will say "eh one more match" to get that box too and keep the game alive.

I don't think you understand. Overwatch is a tf2/csgo clone because vivendi was going to slap their shit for being retarded. It's not a calculated attempt to skint people into playing it for a long time, it's just to make a shit ton of money every time vivendi gets on their ass for being incompetent

Are games like Diablo 2, Grim Dawn, Din's Curse, path of exile considered skinner boxes considering the nature of the loot and the fact that there always seems to be a "lottery" npc that sells random affixed items? What about games with drops in general like monster hunter?

Everything is a skinner box.




You (unfortunately) have brain damage because your friends talked you into a blizzard kusoge.

Damn it, why can't my area get more of these?

You could say that about any fucking video game.

At least you got what you paid for

underrated post