We apply stereotypes to almost everything we interact with. How can we make game characters that leverage this? Learn about how we apply stereotypes to people. Stereotypes help us make quick judgement calls about people we meet or interact with. By storing information in a mental schema it allows us to have most of the work done for us when meeting a new person. all we have to do is fit them to one of the schemas in our mental model.
We can leverage this in game design and game development by creating characters that leverage one of these schemas. I give some example of objects, using a policeman’s nightstick (baton) and a mortarboard to show how you already have some of these schemas. Then we take that idea and apply it to games by discussing how making a merchant look like a merchant takes advantage of this psychological phenomenon.
We also talk about how to deviate from stereotypes in order to create depth. By establishing a stereotype or several for one of you characters and the deviating from them in a contrasting way, you can snap the player out of one of the schemas they have created for that character. This will create depth for the character in question.
Finally we go through some of the ethics involved around using this game design technique. We address that using stereotypes blatantly can insult or ostracize some segments of the community and emphasize that care needs to be taken.
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