Self-determination theory at GDC

on Mar 29, 2013
In a previous article, I argued that theories of motivation that include a diverse range of motivators might be more useful to game designers than parsimonious theories that pick out a small handful of motivators as primary. Apparently, I have much...

GDC: A brighter future for collaboration between i...

on Mar 27, 2013
Motivate. Play. "seeks to form a bridge between the gaming and scientific communities, offering analysis and commentary on games from a social sciences perspective"--it's right there in our mission statement. As such, it's exciting (and somewhat...

Productivity and Replay Value

on Mar 18, 2013
One of the things that has captured my attention recently is the replay value of games. If you have already played through a game once (assuming it isn't a game with new released content), why play it again? Some players take joy in reliving a...

Emergence (and some devastation) in Sim City

on Mar 6, 2013
I'll admit. I was one of those kids. I never had the patience to start from scratch in Sim City, to take a humble town to a bustling metropolis, paying constant attention to the state of my citizens and my budget. No, I would eagerly wait through...

Sixteen ways to motivate

on Feb 22, 2013
7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The 8 Essential Steps to Conflict Resolution. I’ll be the first to agree that including an arbitrary number in a headline makes an article sound like something that you’d find in the bargain bin of your local...

The trouble with trolls

on Jan 31, 2013
I have been digesting the fascinating blog post by Whitney Phillips over at Ethnography Matters about her ethnography of trolling. Phillips studied trolling communities like 4chan's /b/ board, the Internet Hate Machine (Anonymous), and Facebook...

Intrinsic/extrinsic motivation: A false dichotomy?

on Jan 14, 2013
The impact of Deci & Ryan’s self-determination theory in social psychology is difficult to overstate. This is the source of the frequently argued point that intrinsic motivation (motivation to do something based on inherent properties of the...

Games, numeracy, and uncertainty

on Jan 7, 2013
Take a look at this word problem, quoted from Gerd Gigerenzer's Calculated Risks. Before you read on, try to come up with a ballpark estimate of the answer; what does your gut tell you? The probability that a woman of age 40 has breast cancer is...

Making failure less fail in World of Warcraft

on Dec 26, 2012
In my time doing a World of Warcraft ethnography, I have had to acquire many skills; perhaps the most valuable of these was the fine art of failure. Let's back up. I've been reading John Ferrara's Playful Design: Creating Game Experiences in...

Presence and Games – An interview with Paul Skalsk...

on Dec 5, 2012
Back in October I gave a talk at the 2012 conference for the International Society for Presence Researchers.  While there I sat in on a number of fascinating presentations, including several by Dr. Paul Skalski, professor and researcher in the...

Neal Stephenson's REAMDE

on Nov 29, 2012
REAMDE is speculative fiction author Neal Stephenson's latest novel. His previous work has dealt with virtual reality, cryptography, Baroque-era Europe, and more, but REAMDE represents his first explicit foray into video games as a literary topic....

Ethnography and Gaming: A Short Primer

on Nov 18, 2012
In this post, I am going to introduce the methodology of ethnography to this blog, and discuss some of the ways that ethnography can be a useful tool for understanding players of games and their motivations. Jared touched on ethnography in his post...