Flower Power is an experiment I chose to run in Animal Crossing New Leaf.
I had a friend play in my town and get used to the locations of several different buildings and landmarks. Once my friend was used to the layout of my city, I had them run to different areas as I called them out to see how they moved around the town.
As I anticipated, my friend chose to run to the areas that I called out.
After they had completed one circuit around my town, I then planted flowers all over. In Animal Crossing, if a player runs over flowers, they can be destroyed. Players typically try not to run over flowers because of how fragile they are. I wanted to see whether or not my friend would slow down and/or choose new paths to avoid flowers so they could run.
When watching my friend’s second circuit, in which they were ordered to go to the same locations in the same order, it became clear that if they could get around the flowers, they would do so an run, but if not, they would simply walk to where they were going.
I was really happy that my friend hadn’t run through many of the flowers. I hadn’t given them any rules to follow aside from, “go where I tell you to.” The rules about running were self-given and demonstrated a rule that players give themselves in games despite not needing to.
Animal Crossing also has a bad luck mechanic. Everyday, the player has a chance of being unlucky, which means that when the player runs, they will trip. It was highly coincidental that the day I opted to test, my town had bad luck. The game, perhaps sensing the nature of the assignment, helped intervene the player in my intervention, which I really enjoyed.