What is Treasure Solving?

What is treasure solving?

  • Treasure solving places a valuable power-up on display in plain view that has no obvious way for the player to reach it.
  • It requires a high level of cognitive effort from the player, which is rewarded when the player that reaches the power-up.

The more ingenious examples of treasure solving cause the player to suspect that the item may be nothing more than set-dressing and is only motivated to try and find a way to reach the item by the fact that s/he knows that power-ups generally have a functional use in a game.

An example is the extra life placed in the lava castle level of the 2D game, Sonic the Hedgehog. Throughout the level, eruptions occur in pools of lava at regular intervals and the player can use a moving platform to ride the eruption to access the next section of the stage. After completing the last instance of this obstacle, the player eventually arrives to a power-up that is placed underneath the castle floor. The position of the camera allows the player to clearly see the item, but it appears to be completely unreachable. To get the power-up, the player must back track to the previous lava pool and then use the moving platform to travel to the end of the pool instead of riding the eruption. The solution is relatively straightforward, but, by this stage, the player is used to using the platforms to ride the eruptions, and so the is not immediately obvious.

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