Avoiding Traps – Are They Really Needed
There’s an interesting question raised by Scorpia about the place of traps in video games. The author asks whether traps actually do what they’re intended to within video games… or are they just annoying.
We could say they’re supposed to add an element of tension, of risk, to the game. Whether the defusing method is D&D’s dice rolls, Elder Scrolls’ minigames, Avernum’s “skill equal to or greater than to some preset number”, or any other procedure, you’re supposed to feel uncertainty about success and worried about failure.
Scorpia agrees that traps have a place in pen & paper RPGs, but suggests that video games, could really do without them. They don’t really present any significant threat or consequences other than having to load a save, and are often annoying wastes of time. Puzzles can fulfill the same minigame break in combat.
So the question is, can video games do without traps entirely? Would games seem any less difficult or real without them?
I think there may be one type of video game in which traps can be affective; the MMO. Death usually has consequences other than a reload, so the danger traps present is more real.