Great topic, I really enjoy the type of entertainment that leaves you with a negative feeling, self doubt, confusion, madness, remorse, regret, loss. Anything that makes the player question his own sanity/morality/actions is worth looking at.
I agree that that ExtraCredits episode is a really good one.
Speaking of madness and sanity, that is the premise of the game I am currently working on, the same games that inspired this question xP
But yeah, using powerful emotion against the audience is a very effective way to not only get their attention on the game, but keep it. Entertainment with the moments that seem to pull your heart out of your chest seems to be the best kind for sure.
I think this is a really interesting topic
I suppose the only way that you make the player not want to win the game deliberately would be as you suggested, having a companion along the side, but with a twist
. If you win the game the companion is lost and there is no way to have the same companion again(Random companions each time or something). Or that the game's an RPG and the world evolve as you play it and at the end the whole game saves gets erased. No one would want to erase a world which they created and influenced, thus the player will not want to win the game. Perhaps.
I think what I was trying to ask is, not punishing someone for entering a win state, but simply discouraging them from wanting to enter it. Yes, technically, through punishing them you are discouraging them, but it would be much more effective against the user and leave a lasting impression. That said, a world that builds and flows around the user as they move throughout the game, only to be destroyed during the endgame, would be very interesting as well. Possibly allowing the player to now explore the dead world which they worked so hard to create, only to see it in ruins. What would be worse, is if somehow the player was put in a position where they are the ones who destroy it.
My most interesting experience while playing a game was at the end of bioshock.
At the end of the game the player finds out that he is genetically, psychologically altered/trained to obey every order which is given him with the phrase "would you be so kindly to ...". And in the end there were scenes where you had to do things which you really didn't wanted to do(think it was exploding something and killing someone), but you had to, cause otherwise the game wouldn't proceed. So the gameplay mechanics were forcing you, but cause of the story it really felt if the phrase "would you be so kindly..." had a real affect(forcing you to do stuff) on you.
Oh, wow. Using gameplay mechanics as a medium of storytelling is a rather interesting, and seemingly powerful way to storytell. And the way it forces you to do something that the user probably doesn't really want to do at all is.. wow. And even though that isn't discouraging the player to not do something they want to do and instead encouraging them to do something they don't, it is quite though-inducing.
In Final Fantasy (2 in the US I think) you play a paladin and confront a mirror image of yourself on top of a mountain. Your mirror image whips your ass every time. There is some dialog that is supposed to help you figure it, but I couldn't. I was too stuck on killing him, as is done with every other enemy in the game. The trick is not to attack him, if you do that then just before he would kill you the story continues and you effectively beat him. Not quite the same as what the OP asks, but maybe related.
Hm. This is an interesting gameplay element, it could be used in a situation like this. Not so much the defeat through not defeating, but more the win through not trying. Which leads me to this possible gameplay element: trying too hard makes you lose.
Or how about the shmup that deletes a random file on your HDD every time you kill an enemy?
This reminds me of an idea I had sometime recently of a game that follows the same concept as The Giving Tree... You know how in most games, players start out weak and gradually become stronger? Well, I was thinking, what if there was a game that the player starts at their strongest state; and then throughout the game, they're required to sacrifice things related to the character until in the end, you're left with close to nothing? Would people still want to "win" that game? And if so, how would it be implemented?
So your solution would be to change the win state itself, instead of changing the feelings of those who wish to obtain it? That is an interesting perspective.
I like these kind of discussions, where it allows people to bring forth ideas and inspire others', then those people then coming back to again inspire others' with their inspired ideas. A cycle that creates complete and utter creativity. It's certainly better than yet another topic about someone's latest library or a problem they're having with LIBgdx. People in early game development seem to always forget that there is more to being an indie developer than code and art. It's fine if you want a job working at a AAA studio, where they have people specifically to do game design, but in indie, you do not. And if you want to succeed, you need to do more than make something like looks nice: it must also have function.