I'm currently researching the evolution of game balance in video games, and I'm particularly interested in the "hidden" mechanics that developers employ to maintain a fair and engaging experience. I've seen many modern games use techniques like rubber-banding, dynamic difficulty adjustment, spawn control, health scaling, loot drop adjustments, catch-up experience, and more, but these sophisticated techniques must have had some origin point.

Can anyone provide information on the first known video game to employ some form of hidden balancing mechanic, whether in offline single-player or competitive online multiplayer scenarios?

  • I've removed the second question from your post to keep your question from being closed as "needs more focus (includes multiple questions in one)". Commented Jun 11, 2023 at 7:27

1 Answer 1



One of the oldest is in 1983? There's not many games from before that. 67 from before the 1980s + and 210 from 1981 to 1983 have been recorded in that wiki.

  • The multiplayer game M.U.L.E will inflict whichever player currently has the highest score with with bad "random" events, while whoever is bringing up the rear will only have good things happen to them. At least, that's the way it's supposed to work. Leading players can still receive good random events, but it's true that when there is a bad event during production, it ALWAYS hits the lead player. Also, whoever is in the lead loses the tie, barring racial exceptions, like the long-necked one always winning ties in land auctions.

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