Writing Machines is the course website for English 170L at Pomona College in Claremont, California.
Why we Play Games
It never fails to amuse me that the best research about anything seems to always come out of commercial objectives. Game theory seems to be no exception. This study (pdf), commissioned by a game design company, has some very interesting insights as to why we play games.
Hard fun, as described in this paper, is the challenge that people find in games. Easy fun, in contrast, is the same fun we find in watching movies or reading books. A fully immersive experience can be nice every once in a while.
One of the more interesting descriptions in this paper is that of altered states â€“ the paper claims that a significant percentage of the gaming population plays games in order to achieve an altered state. This state may be one of artificial relaxation or excitement, similar to the states induced by a massage or mind altering drugs.
Last, but certainly not least, the paper emphasizes that people play games for the interpersonal interaction. Citing that video games reduce people's self-consciousness (I might tentatively make the extension that his applies to all online experiences), the paper argues that people feel more comfortable interacting in an online world where spectacle and given goals provide a comfortable and agreed upon social framework.
Interesting to see some of these ideas get put down on paper (pdf? Paper? Difference?).