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?


Examples

Tap Away Tap Away
"Idk if this counts but it offers you to watch an add or spend currency if you fail a level so you don't loose your progress and takes advantage of that want to not loose the time you spent"

Purrfect Tale Purrfect Tale
"There's lots of cute art and cat imagery- which I love cats but I do not like this game and I only downloaded it and play it because of the cats and the storyline"

Last Fortress Last Fortress
"Candy and cute elements, lottery wins, arcade games"

The Manga Works The Manga Works
"Cheery images/music and sparkling noises for action."

PAC-MAN PAC-MAN
"if you lose all your lives in modes where your lives dont regenerate youre told "dont let blinky win!" while being given the option to watch an ad or spend in game currency to continue"

Match Masters - PVP Match 3 Puzzle Game Match Masters - PVP Match 3 Puzzle Game
"Animated characters cheer or groan for win/loss. Sticker albums unlock outfits for characters."

Dice Dreams - Roll the Dice, Become the Dice King Dice Dreams - Roll the Dice, Become the Dice King
"I would argue that the cute citizens/mascots and themed image collections in the albums constitutes manipulation."

Tiny Tower Tiny Tower
"The main thing is the "ta-da" sounds for accomplishing something or buying something."

Papa's Freezeria To Go! Papa's Freezeria To Go!
"The sounds of the ice cream shop gives off the vibes of 50's diner."

War and Order War and Order
"Female protagonist guided player through tutorial"