I've heard people in games mention that the game is programmed so that when you really need an item the game will not give it to you. You only get items that you don't currently need.

I think this is BS and it's peoples minds playing tricks on them. What is the term for this kind of trick playing your brain does? It must be related to the awareness you have of a particular item when you need it and the anxiety associated with the situation every time you don't get it.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Why does it need a name? $\endgroup$
    – Steven Jeuris
    Commented Mar 8, 2019 at 8:14
  • $\begingroup$ So that I can refer to it when speaking with people without having to type out the above. :-) $\endgroup$
    – rbell
    Commented Mar 16, 2019 at 17:15

1 Answer 1


Sounds like an example of the availability heuristic.

Availability heuristic: The process whereby judgments of frequency or probability are based on how readily pertinent instances come to mind.

You're more likely to notice when you don't get your way, which makes that event stand out to you. That combined with how people tend to not notice how frequently things do go our way because there isn't a negative emotion associated with that experience (I would assume) could make it seem like the game is rigged. Then again, I don't know anything about video game design so it could be part of how it is programmed.


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