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I think one way to motivate kids to get more sleep at night would be to design a series of video games in which the monsters/creatures/aliens, etc., will automatically stop attacking your character between the hours of say 11:00pm - 7:00am.

At 11:00pm, they will cease fighting, will lay down and fall asleep. At 7:00am, they will wake up and resume attacking your character. If you attack them while they are sleeping, you will lose major points or you will instantly die.

Also, you will need to instruct your character to go to sleep during this same period, or your character will be very sleepy when the game resumes and will not perform well.

This particular time period would need to be hard coded into the game so it cannot be changed. So, at 11:00pm in New York City the enemies in the game will go to sleep, and the same thing happens in the game at 11:00pm in Los Angeles, and so forth in all the time zones around the world.

Would it be worth adding this feature to video games or would most kids just refuse to play them?

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    \$\begingroup\$ World of Warcraft's Rest XP is an interesting case study here. They found much it was much more palatable when presented to the players as a positive (you get faster XP earning when you sign in after a break) than as a negative (you get slower XP earning if you play too long). \$\endgroup\$
    – DMGregory
    Sep 10, 2018 at 22:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ What would keep the kids from playing another game instead of going to sleep when yours stops working? Or browsing 9gag or whatever instead of sleeping? Also, can you be sure that your players even are kids? What if they're old enough to stay up past 11pm? Or if they're up at 6am so they can some game time in before school? I think you're trying to reinvent parental controls here, which only really make sense for platforms, and not individual games. If anything, you can do some more subtle things like DMGregory suggests. \$\endgroup\$
    – Christian
    Sep 11, 2018 at 10:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Christian, those are good points that you make. I think kIds in general (K-12) are too addicted to video games if they feel compelled to fill all their free time playing video games. \$\endgroup\$
    – user120492
    Sep 11, 2018 at 10:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @FanofComets If you want to campaign against video game addiction, then keep in mind that you are talking to members of the drug cartel here. \$\endgroup\$
    – Philipp
    Sep 12, 2018 at 0:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ I can appreciate the thought behind this idea, but in all honesty, you're trying to treat the symptom, not the cause. Your intentions are good, but this is sadly not a case where one person's efforts are really going to make much difference. \$\endgroup\$
    – Pleiades
    Sep 24, 2018 at 1:36

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I understand where you are coming from. There are some games around with some questionable design decision which encourage the player to focus their whole life around the game. Among these are PvP mechanics which allow players to take advantage of players who don't log in that frequently, timed events which fall into times where players are usually asleep, challenges with a real-time time limit of several days which can only be completed when the player plays many hours each day or other mechanics and design decisions which discourage the player from quitting the game any time they want. Such game mechanics have some serious ethical problems. Especially if paired with pay-to-win microtransactions. But if these are a problem in your game, then you should first consider some solutions which address these mechanics directly.

I think that it is obvious that adding a "crippled mode" to your game which is solely designed to make the player quit playing is not making your game any more enjoyable. If you just want to prevent the player from playing, you could achieve that goal in a far more straight-forward manner which requires far less development resources on your behalf: Just kick them out of your game and prevent the game from starting until 7am. This is a feature you could develop within minutes of development time.

Now the question is whether you as a game designer have the moral responsibility (or in fact the moral right) to tell your players when to go do bed. You are not their parent. Some of your players might not even be children anymore. And besides, your game alone won't convince the players to do this. When they don't feel like going to bed, they will just play a different game. There are more than enough games available on the market, after all.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ You bring up a good point about whether or not people will stop playing other games after the game kicks them out, and it's my understanding that this is indicative of a much bigger societal issue that needs to be addressed outside of the designing world. \$\endgroup\$
    – Pleiades
    Sep 24, 2018 at 1:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Pleiades When you have the problem that your children play video games instead of sleeping, then you might want to ask for advise on parenting.stackexchange.com \$\endgroup\$
    – Philipp
    Sep 24, 2018 at 7:32

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