Is the Curse of Knowledge transient?

Recently I traveled to North campus to goof around with some design program with my older brother. I knew from the start that I would be overwhelmed by the complexity of the program and nothing productive would happen. I managed to make a purple cone from the purple cone template. What really struck me was a piece of hardware that seemed to be second nature to designers.

I forgot the name of the gadget but it was unlike anything I had ever used before. It was kind of like a scroll wheel but was more like a knob that you could push, pull, and twist. With this magical knob you could navigate the 3d design environment with one hand, and I was pissed that I couldn’t figure out how to use it. My brother’s advice was, “it’s like how you’d operate a helicopter.” Obviously the curse of knowledge was deep within my brother, as that was horrible advice. At that moment I had an epiphany, my urge to move didn’t line up with the movement on screen. The intense frustration somehow revealed the frustration I felt during the transition between playing Goldeneye and playing Halo. Two joysticks? How are your supposed to keep track of them both? Anyways, it got me thinking about the whole idea of the curse of knowledge. If you learn something are you forever blind to how it was like before or can you be shook so hard that the curse can be lifted, if only for a moment?

Games about Games

We’ve been thinking about what makes a good game design in our Gamestar Mechanic competition. In light of that, I’ve discovered this list of metagames. Some are just abusive like Desert Bus, where you have to drive a bus from Tuscon to Las Vegas for eight hours. Some are minimalistic like Don’t Shoot the Puppy, which is a game of inaction where you try to follow the instruction in the title. My favorite is The Onion‘s parody of violent video games, Close Range–a first person shooter where all of your enemies appear right in front of you. While most of them are amusing, they all challenge some element of game mechanics or design.