Sunday Analytical: Change

Ramblings

This Sunday Analytical was brought around due to the change to this site. It was intended to be posted the Sunday before the site update, but finals and the lack of a picture to go along with it postponed the completion of the post. It is here now, but the picture above isn’t very good (and that is being generous) so we’ll see if I decide to hold an art contest for a new logo. If you would take part in the contest, tell me so in the comment and it might speed up the development of such a contest.

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Change

 

Change is a normal part of life, all around you there is change. Humans are fickle creatures; however, and change scares many people. Fear brings on many reactions, and the specific reaction that is given is different among all people. The risks of changing something that people have grown accustomed to, is the reason control schemes in games have become universal. Once a control scheme has been pinpointed as the general favorite, it is rarely altered. A change can risk alienating a large chunk of your audience. Refer back to the “Game Originality” analytical to read more about originality in games. Below I will discuss in more depth the basic reaction to change: fear, and then layout the basic psychological defenses to fear that the human brain concocts. Most of the defenses lie in the subconscious but can be altered if knowledge of the defenses is present.

Fear is the basic response to change. When something is different or unknown, people fear it. The fear is a survival tactic that the human race has developed to protect themselves. The human race wasn’t always as sophisticated as it is now, and in order to survive you had to take everything as a threat. It was extremely risky to not fear, because everything tried to kill you back then. Fear is still present and it is present because it has been hardwired into our psyche in order to keep ourselves safe and alive. It is the root behind the irrational fear of the dark. Fear cannot always be experienced though and in order to avoid it the mind creates these defenses in order to stay socially acceptable. There is nothing wrong with being afraid and like stated earlier is an extremely wise defense against that which can harm you.

The first and most basic defense against fear is denial. Denial is a very strong defense mechanism that is used against many other things. Denial against fear is able to completely diminish any fear against an object. Denial enables the removal of what is the truth. Denial is unhealthy though and can bring a person to the verge of a psychotic breakdown if overused. Denial is able to remove a person from reality but if a weaker person is unable to hold onto reality it can create worse problems than those that were initially trying to be avoided.

The second defense against fear is anger. Getting angry is an extremely brutish response that not everyone can be privileged to. Anger is shown through violence or bouts of aggression. A majority of people who experience this defense don’t show it physically and instead bottle it. This is a terrible idea. If you get angry, it is best to release the anger in some manner. Do not release it onto someone else. There are many ways to release your anger and everyone manages it differently although not always wisely. A way to vent your frustration is dependent upon your preference, but physical violence towards someone else is never a good way to do it.

The third defense against fear is acceptance. This one may not seem like a defense but it is and is experienced by very few people by themselves. This is also known as facing your fear. Extremely straight forward, but a lot of the time it can either be very hard or very dangerous. Fear is there for a reason, and although some are illogical like the fear of long words (Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia), other seemingly illogical phobias such as the fear of peanut butter getting stuck to the roof of your mouth (Arachibutyrophobia) actually have logical roots. In the case of Arachibutyrophobia it has a deeper rooted fear of suffocation which is clearly hazardous to your health. On the other hand the odds of suffocating on peanut butter are very slim and the fear should still be faced. If you actually look at a list of phobias, many of them have extremely logical roots.

These three are just some elementary defenses and does not in any way outline every single defense mechanism. There are quite a few more including transference, reflection, and self inflicting defenses. All of these are much more technical and would take a whole bunch more explaining to do.

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