Game Play Motivation

Game Play Motivation


Game developer and author of Game On: Energize your Business with Social Games, Jon Radoff began his talk by asking, “Who here likes slot machines?”Hands went up. Then he followed it with, “Who LOVES slot machines?”

A few hands went up and he acknowledged that statistically there should be a few like them in any crowd.

He talks about BF Skinner and how our brains create new pathways. For example, whenever we  interact we create new neural pathways. He points out that people’s facebook avatar pictures are clustered with smilers lumped with other smilers and non-smilers with other non-smilers. In other words, people have a massive effect on each other.

Games, he says, hit a lot more than the dopamine in the brain. Much of the brain lights up when games are being played (according to MRI imaging).

There is also a social component.

Killers (from the Bartle’s model discussed in the previous post)—according to Bartle, Killers were overly competitive, torturers, even abusive players. Obviously the model needs rethinking.

What effects behaviors? Look at what controls what you do? Pleasure usually happens in a short span of time –most things are fun while you’re doing them, but you don’t have to do them over and over again.

What moderates behavior?

1. Achievement- this is about mastery. You learn a skill and then you practice the skill. You can’t make it so hard that people give up or so simple that it becomes trivial and they walk away.

2. Cooperation- social games- people team up and play together.

Education is the perfect forum for gamification. Putting a text book onto an iPad is one thing, but it can be even more creative! Like an online museum, that allows for the thrill of discovery and experience – like a real scientist.

3. Competition – People like to know who the leaders are. They like to beat other people and dominate other people. They like to compare who has mastered certain skills.

4. Immersion- you can look at any game, Farmville could be just a game about increasing points on a grid, but then it would not be a fun game. It’s fun because it’s got nurturing, growing, building a farm, that’s what makes it fun. You need that story to engage with users.

Story telling and experiences allow a player to relate to an experience.

You should ask, Who is my customer? What turns them into a hero?


Need help with behavioral science and gamification? Get in touch with our boutique consulting agency Dopamine.