The concept of tying gameplay control to more than our hands is something that continues to grow from novelty to viable concept. The Wii balance board, Oculus Rift, and Kinect’s voice commands are just some of the ways the rest of our bodies are getting in the action.
Developer Erin Reynolds, who was previously employed by Zynga, has decided to return to a project created for her University of Southern California Games Program master's thesis. Nevermind is a psychological horror title that tasks players with unraveling the source of trauma from inside patients’ heads.
While the title plays out like many puzzle-based psychological thrillers, the use of a heart rate monitor transforms the experience into a tool for learning how to manage stress. As player heart rate increases, the game reacts by making the puzzles harder and creating barriers to progress.
Calming down resets the difficulty, allowing progression. In the video, you’ll see some examples of how Reynolds has implemented some of the heart rate-related mutations. As a proof of concept, the heart rate monitor integration is fascinating. We’re eager to see more of the scares to understand what will get players into a heightened state of fear, though.
Reynolds will be taking Nevermind to Kickstarter soon in an attempt to bring it from thesis to finished product. As for the heart rate monitor, the title will use models that can be purchased at sporting goods retailers and, therefore, have alternate functions.
Nevermind is a curious amalgam of game and self-help tool. The concept of controlling fear in a genre that thrives to induce it is a juxtaposition that has the potential to impact the way we engage with horror games.