The Three Motivations of Games

Games are an increasingly popular form of entertainment worldwide. They’re played on computers, mobile phones, tablets and gaming consoles like the Xbox and PlayStation. They’re also a big money maker for developers, and the number of people who play them continues to grow.

Gameplay is a key component of a good game experience. This is the part that involves moving the player’s character, interacting with other characters or items, and overcoming challenges.

When a game is designed well, players will want to continue playing it for long periods of time. This is why it’s important to pick a game that is fun, challenging and interesting.

The best gaming experiences will also be infused with the three motivations that are critical to learning: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. These can be used to motivate students, and can help them become more engaged in the learning process as they progress through the game’s stages of completion.

In the first place, it’s vital to tap into the trinity of Intrinsic Motivation: Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose, which emerged in the 1970s and is re-popularized by Dan Pink.

These motivations are essential to the development of a strong gaming community and to long-term engagement, so it’s crucial that you select games that have these elements in abundance.

1. Pleasurable Activities
Games that are rich in pleasurable activities can increase the level of enjoyment and satisfaction for players, especially when they’re being played with friends. These activities can range from simple tasks to complex puzzles and even games that require physical activity.

2. Problem-Solving Skills
A game that incorporates problem-solving skills can make it easier for players to think of ways to overcome challenges, as well as improve their ability to communicate with other players. It can also encourage teamwork and cooperation, which are important aspects of lifelong learning.

3. Multitasking / Performing Many Tasks at Once
Some games force players to perform multiple tasks at once, such as keeping track of health and ammunition while fighting off enemies in an action game. This can help to develop skills such as planning and organization, which are necessary for the completion of daily tasks in the real world.

4. Improved Multitasking & Memory
The fast-paced nature of most modern games can help to improve the speed and accuracy of a player’s memory. This is because games are often programmed to involve several tasks at once, and players will have to focus on each of the tasks that they’re performing to complete them in a timely manner.

5. Improved Visual Motor Skills
A study in the Journal of Neuroscience has found that gamers may be better at learning sensorimotor patterns and movements than non-gamers. This means that they can perform tasks with greater accuracy, and are better at using their vision and sense of touch to perform tasks in the real world.

6. A Game with a Strong Back End
Some games have robust back ends that provide assessment data about the gamer’s performance. These tools can be invaluable to teachers, but they need to be used carefully to ensure that they don’t undermine existing classroom assessment strategies.
In the world of gaming, motivation is an important factor that can affect whether or not a person wishes to persevere or, conversely, give up. Generally, all types of motivation stem from three core needs: reward, risk and control. Knowing what motivates each individual player is essential for game developers to ensure their game is as engaging and rewarding for players as possible.

When it comes to rewarding players, basic rewards such as points and levels that come with unlocking challenges, achieving goals and completing tasks can go a long way. Highlighting, emphasizing, and celebrating all accomplishments is the key to maintaining motivation, as players will be eager to receive those rewards. This ‘carrot’ provides a strong incentive to keep playing and encourages repeated play.

Introducing risk is also a key way to motivate players. Risk is inherently attractive as it creates a heightened level of engagement and anticipation, keeps players on their toes, and can provide a sense of fulfillment when they achieve a goal they had set out. By increasing the stakes and allowing players to take risks to win bigger rewards, there is added motivation and excitement to strive for greater success and progress towards more challenging objectives.

Last but not least, players need the feeling of control and ownership. This can be achieved through customizing the characters, completing levels, progressing in the story line, and exploring different environments. Players should be able to make certain choices that have an impact on the game, giving them the freedom to make their own decisions and feel that their decisions are actually influencing the game progress.

By understanding and addressing the three core motivations – reward, risk and control – game developers can ensure their game is as engaging and rewarding as possible for players. The need for a strong game design, a strong story line and rewards that keep players engaged and excited to play, will ultimately determine how successful the game will be.

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