Dissonance Experiments with Cognition and Platforming

Multiple games received awards at the Casual Connect Indie Prize event. Dissonance won in the “Most Innovative Game” category.

The 2D and 3D adventure game explores the concept of cognitive dissonance, the state of having inconsistent beliefs or attitudes in regard to something. Dissonance tackles that by displaying a relationship between three selves. Li and An are 2D, shadowy characters who are visible on the walls of levels. Their different perspective helps in solving puzzles and getting past obstacles. Whenever Li and An intersect, their shadows merge into Lian, a 3D character who can rotate platforms and objects. The goal in each level is to to take each 2D character to an exit.


“I was doing some research about social psychology and read some theories about cognitive dissonance, which caught my attention immediately,” Zi Li, team leader behind Dissonance, said. “I realized I was having cognitive dissonance.” Li’s relationship inspired her to use the psychological concept as a game mechanic.


“I was in love with [someone], but I also knew that we [couldn’t] stay together for long because of our differences. That was my cognitive dissonance, which caused [me] stress. I found this concept interesting and sad, so I started prototyping with [this] idea.”

Dissonance is in early development, with only a certain amount of levels finished. It’s going to feature story as well. It may release sometime in 2016, and Li’s team is considering PC and mobile platforms. There is also a demo of Dissonance, available for Windows and Mac.

Luke has wide interests in games, from compelling fighting, action, and RPG titles to deeper interactive, storytelling titles that push today's genres and boundaries - especially awesome if they're related to diversity. Feel free to reach out on Twitter or via email.