Despite Benjamin Torrey‘s excellent account of why the nonsensical Noby Noby Boy is so enjoyable, I simply can’t bring myself to play it for more than a few minutes at a time. And yet I keep coming back to it. It’s the communal contribution that keeps me hooked, the feeling of knowing that I’m contributing to a greater good that is beneficial to the entire player base.
For the uninitiated, Boy is a rainbow-colored worm with a hefty appetite for anything. You’ll wriggle the little fella around and munch on anything that fits in your mouth and stretching your girth to massive lengths. Your extension also adds to a mostly-unseen lady-worm called Girl. Girl’s size is made from contributions by the community of Noby Noby Boy, so the more folks that play, the longer girl gets. The goal? To stretch Girl to galactic landmarks, thus unlocking more levels. The Moon and Mars have been reached, and it’s because of community contributions that this incomprehensible game grew to have new stages beyond its initial Earthly one.
Because playing the game is always adding to Girl’s extension, the players are constantly working toward something new. It’s satisfying, and even though I can’t stay focused on pooping people to gain a few feet I’m doing my best to try. I’m playing something that bores me because I want to see more?
The tangible reward is such a rad way to subtly force replayability. Unlocking a new difficulty, picking up new armor, or even earning a Trophy can’t compare to the gratification that comes from knowing that you helped add something that other people can enjoy. Unlike unlocking a single-player stage, Noby Noby Boy rewards everyone who boots it up. That’s kind of special.
Now developer DICE is taking a similar step with Battlefield 1943.
After 43 million kills have been accumulated in the online-only first-person shooter, the whole of Battlefield’s player base will gain access to a new mode and map. As if Battlefield’s renowned name and quality weren’t enough to hook you, now there’s the incentive of more to come if you keep playing. The notion of new stuff constantly tickling the back of your brain is a brilliant hook, especially with something as multiplayer-centric as Battlefield.
Not only that, but there’s the feeling that the very people you’re playing against are also chipping away at that kill count requirement. I fully expect to be high five-ing the opposing team when they put a tank shell in my mouth because we’ll be that much closer to another kill.
And if the new modes force you to stay put, you’re going to keep on killing, which in itself is incentive for the developer to keep offering new goods.
This community contribution stuff is a mind-melting thing that could conceivably come full circle multiple times.
I’m hoping to see more of this group integration in the future. It’s a brilliant way to make addicts of us all.
With the next fix just 43,000,000 deaths away, well, you’d better get to work when 1943 releases, because I want my new map and mode. I promise, I’ll be there to help out.
Even if it kills me.