How games inspire attention and nurture growth

Let’s get distracted

My impending doom :<

…but getting distracted from games is really hard

Oh so true…

Flow

  1. Clearly defined how to “win” (solution states are obvious — even if how to get there isn’t)
  2. They seem winnable (and almost always are)
  3. …but they’re not too easy — they are a fair challenge
  4. They give immediate feedback on actions
  5. The person using/playing them has a sense of being in control
  6. There is no “prize” or “punishment”, it’s intrinsically rewarding

Optimal growth → learning fast

  1. Basic control and learning how to read feedback (e.g. bullets coming → hide)
  2. How to put together the basic interactions into effective play (applying simple interactions to complex environments)
  3. Evaluating multiple approaches to an environment and choosing which is better
  4. Iterative refinement of these ideas through increasingly challenging and varied environments

Games + beneficial topics = educational games

  1. Any learning or growth which is considered beneficial by society is “educational”
  2. When games have topics considered “beneficial” they are immediately educational (whether by design or not)
  • Physics — Crazy Machines
  • Economics and trade — Elite : Dangerous
  • Social geography — Cities : Skylines
  • Business — Capitalism Labs
  • Space flight and orbital physics — Kerbal space program
  • Government and politics — Democracy 3
  • Healthcare — Theme Hospital
  • Pharmaceuticals — Big Pharma
  • Resort management — Planet Coaster
  • Architecture — Minecraft
  • Software development — Software Inc.
  • Computer planning and decision making — Screeps
  • Robot development — LogicBots
  • Process optimization — Infinifactory
  • Mental health — Hellblade Senua’s sacrifice
  • History — Heart of Iron
  • Boat building — From the depths
  • Interplanetary colonization — Planetbase
  • Sustainable planet us — Imagine earth
  • Driving — Assetto corsa
  • Car maintenance — My summer car
  • Programming — Human resource machine
  • Philosophy — The Talos Principle
  • Transportation networks — OpenTTD
  • … and the list can go on…
That’s some serious incoming bacteria. Prepare the neutrophils!

What next?

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