As a game designer, you’ve probably figured out that humans are pretty interesting creatures but we have a few idiosyncrasies both individually and collectively. Lots of these behavioral tendencies were ingrained in us back when we carried clubs and were still waiting for the magic of fire to warm our little toes.
In this fascinating article in Gamasutra by Dale Dobson, it turns out that the human mind has a reset button when it comes to walking through doorways or other portals. The piece goes on to examine how doors were used in several games (Zork I, Venture, Mystery Fun House, The Legend of Zelda, Resident Evil, Super Mario 64, Grand Theft Auto III, Shenmue, The Walking Dead episode 104, and the aptly named, Portal) and how our brains respond to each situation.
Dobson concludes the article, “Buried deep in our evolutionary history is a belief that opening a door moves us forward into new places and experiences, but our brains also tend to get a little bit lost when we do so. Game designs that recognize and accommodate these basic human needs and tendencies are more likely to provide rich and rewarding human experiences.”
How does a door or barrier in a game make you behave?