Don’t Move: An Experiment in Player Achievement

Don’t Move isn’t a game in the strictest sense. Or, rather, it’s a game stripped of all frills and reduced down to its barest components. The only actions afforded to you are the left and right arrow keys. As the game opens on some tiny ninja lurking in the middle of a corridor, you recall the title and obey. And then you wait. And then you wait some more. And then you move, and then you die…and eventually, you get an achievement. And then you get more achievements. You get medals. And at some point you realize the game is basically laughing at you for caring about receiving a couple of pixels on a screen.

Don’t Move is either boring or genius, employing a very typical tactic of player manipulation that you can see pretty much anywhere. RPGs make you grind, Candy Crush makes you swap candies, etc. It’s not really criticizing the tactic so much as it is laying it bare for all to see, but (like all the best magic tricks) knowing the secret doesn’t necessarily make you immune to it.

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