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Deadly Traps

Deadly Traps

Deadly Traps are game events that kill Avatars and Units if they are within the area of effect of the trap.

Typical examples of deadly traps include pits, falling blocks, lava, fire, acid, steam, machinery, crushing presses, fast-moving vehicles, and collapsing bridges, but many more are possible.

Example: Platform games such as Super Mario Sunshine and The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker are filled with a wide variety of deadly traps.

Example: The tracks in Super Monkey Ball are hovering high above the ground, effectively surrounding the tracks with a Deadly Trap.

Using the pattern

Deadly Traps can be divided into three categories: those that are visible and whose effects are clear, those that can be found by noticing differences from the surrounding environment of the trap, and those that cannot be noticed before they are activated. The first type, exemplified by game elements such as crushers, flame dischargers, and so on that follow a certain pattern in activation, allows the players to choose to try to bypass or deactivate the trap, typically requiring Timing or Rhythm-Based Actions. The second type, exemplified by (badly) camouflaged pits, may instantly kill the player character and thus require the player to be observant of Outstanding Features in the environment. The last type, exemplified by traps activated by counter-weights when picking up objects, creates Surprises but also promotes Memorizing to remember the location of the trap. The last two categories do not have to instantly kill the player character, but can give the player a Time Limit within which to react, thus increasing Tension.

Deadly Traps can be used to limit the players' accessible area, either by acting as a barrier to an area or by setting the entire Inaccessible Area as a Deadly Trap, for example, a lake of acid. When accessible routes are hidden among Deadly Traps and players cannot distinguish between the two, they force players into making Leap of Faith actions. Shrinking Game Worlds can take the form of Deadly Traps, which seal off game areas, e. g., collapsing bridges or cave-ins. Less commonly, Deadly Traps can be used to open up game areas, e. g., a fallen rock exposes a tunnel. This can be used to enforce the Narrative Structure of the game and to create or open up Inaccessible Areas.

Deadly Traps can be used to help Guard goals and can make it possible to achieve Eliminate goals without directly attacking opponents.


Deadly Traps introduce Consumer game elements into the Game World thatthreaten players with Penalties of Damage or loss of Lives or Units if the players activate them. Common objects of Evade goals, Deadly Traps give players restricted Movement within their immediate surrounding and can force players into Maneuvering. Deadly Traps are typically Ultra-Powerful Events.

Depending on whether the trap is known to the player, Deadly Traps can cause Tension or Surprises, especially in Exploration or Reconnaissance goals. Deadly Traps can also be used to limit the Game World in an intuitive way. Deadly Traps are examples of Ultra-Powerful Events when they are impossible to Evade by the players who have activated them.

Safe Havens cannot be combined with Deadly Traps, since the presence of the trap would make the location unsafe.


Instantiates: Damage, Rhythm-Based Actions, Time Limits, Surprises, Movement Limitations, Tension, Leaps of Faith, Memorizing, Ultra-Powerful Events, Timing

Modulates: Evade, Exploration, Reconnaissance, Inaccessible Areas, Lives, Units, Maneuvering, Game World, Movement, Eliminate, Guard, Rescue

Instantiated by: Shrinking Game World

Modulated by: Damage, Outstanding Features, Penalties, Consumers

Potentially conflicting with: Safe Havens

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(C) Æliens 04/09/2009

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