The other side of satisfaction is dissatisfaction. It can be a useful tool. “Now, Alex, why on earth would you ever want players to be dissatisfied with your game? Isn’t that defeating the whole point of a game? Games should make people happy!”
Actually, that’s completely wrong. Games that only make people happy have a short lifespan. Eventually, the amount of positive stimulus you have to give the player eventually exceeds the production capabilities of your game. Bayonetta is a wonderful example of this.
I greatly enjoyed Bayonetta. However, the game grew linearly in both difficulty and epicness. The reaction times required to beat each incoming boss also increased. The result was that my hands were seized up in painful cramps that forced me to regularly put the game down. Furthermore, the story events that took place in the game keep accelerating into absurdity. Youtube “Bayonetta Final Boss” if you don’t care about spoilers.
Useful Uses for Negative Reinforcement
Higher Level Uses for Negative Reinforcement
Negative Reinforcement can Backfire
The LFG/LFR/LFD systems all use it – granting you a ton of rewards for the first completion of a dungeon, raid or battleground. Then far smaller rewards for continuing to play.