Aesthetic Manipulations

Trick questions or toying with emotions or our subconscious desires.

There are a number of ways that games can use text, graphics or sounds to subconsciously influence our decisions.

1) Toying with Emotions - Games may make players feel bad for making a choice or rejecting an offer. For example, maybe the point of the game is to save cute little bunnies from the evil foxes. When you lose a level, the game may show you a picture of a sad little bunny and say something like "Spend 2 coins and save this little bunny." Even though you know it's not a real bunny, it is still toying with your emotions and trying to get you to spend money on the game. Another example could be to make you feel bad for not helping your team. Because of social pressure, the game can emphasize that you are letting your team down to get you to play more.

2) Trick Questions - Sometimes games try to trick you into doing something. Maybe they give you an option to spend coins on something, but they make the "Yes" button red instead of green. We are habituated to press a red button to cancel something, so mixing the colors up can confuse us into pushing the wrong button. Other ways of tricking us is to make one button bigger than the other. People are more likely to click the bigger button. Using checkboxes to opt-out of something is also a way trick people, since checkboxes are usually used to opt-in.

3) Subconscious Associations - People like cute things or tasty things. This is why a lot of games use cute animals or candy imagery. In-game candy attracts the subconscious desire for sweets and makes the game more desirable.

4) Over-the-top Feedback - This is most exemplified by a casino floor. The constant ringing and dinging and over the top sounds of people winning huge jackpots toys with our emotions. Games do this by using extreme graphics, sounds and vibration when you win or lose.
Citations and SourcesUXP2 Dark Patterns
Why are Video Games Addictive?


Dragon POW! Dragon POW!
"People are likely to spend money because of the cool/cute dragons you can control in this game. Some of their humanoid forms come with cute, stylized skins that may entice players to buy them."

Squad Busters Squad Busters
""Don't lose your streak" and stuff"

Super Snail Super Snail
"this one is kinda iffy... it is very self aware as a game, even in its p2w nature. if you choose to watch an advert, a msg pops up saying "Warning! The finance team has threatened to sack devs if they don't play ads! Thank you for helping us keep our jobs!"... idk if this counts buuut at least this is good to know lol"

Solo Leveling:Arise Solo Leveling:Arise
"During a pool if you get SSR Item/Character you will get a lot of effects like in the casino."

Block Jam 3D Block Jam 3D
"If a game is lost it REALLY rubs it in and emphasises all the things you will lose if you don't attempt to pay to win."

Blue Archive Blue Archive
"It's a cute game, L2D can also give your attention to play or even pull for certain character"

animal restaurant animal restaurant
"Yeah it's very cute."

AFK Journey AFK Journey
"When failing an event, a sad music sting will accompany a disappointed looking character, with "recommended actions" to increase your power level in some way right below it."

Psycholonials Psycholonials
"It’s a visual novel."

Brawl Stars Brawl Stars
"When you lose brawlers have losing animations that reflect defeat or failure, while winning brawlers have winning animations which encourage confidence and success."