7 ways games reward the brain

This seems to be the tree I’ve been barking up for a long time now. Summary of Tom Chatfield’s 7 ways games reward the brain

1. Experience bars measuring progress.
	- Give people an Avatar and they can take ownership
2. Multiple long & short term aims
	- 5000 targets not interesting. 5-20 interested
3. Reward effort
	- Every little bit!
4. Rapid, frequent clear, feedback.
	- Immediate is best.
5. An element of uncertainty
	- Uncertain rewards
	- When we predict something wrong we get excited about it.
	- Dopamine, neuron transmitter associated with learning.
6. Windows of enhanced attention.
	- Memory - find moments when people are more likely to remember
	- & confidence - reward system make people will to take risks
7. Other people!
	- The most exciting reward

Engagement!

Gaming for good

Here is Jane McGonigal TED talk on “Gaming can make a better world”:

This is an inspiring talk about using the drive of gaming to useful ends. I have mused before on weather games can be used for education and believe this is an untapped way of motivating people to better themselves and improve their performance.

One of the points she talked about in the “lack of feedback” (winning points) in real life for actions. Then there is Jesse Schell (scary) talk “When games invade real life” and he suggests with sensors and wireless connectivity becoming ultra cheap it will start to pervade everything and thus point systems for things you do in reality will become normal:

I think with ones entire schooling, if turned into a game could be far more rewarding for kids and teachers. You might have whole classes in school competing as one against another class or even another class in another school. In Jesse Schell talk he already mentions that one lecture, Lee N. Sheldon who changed the grading system and gave out experience points for assignments which increased attendance and quality of homework.

“If you want to build a ship don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea” Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Games can alter the structure of your brain

Wired has an article on “playing Tetris actually gives you more brain to work with“:

This, says the doctors who undertook the study, shows that focusing on a “challenging visuospatial task” like a videogame can actually alter the structure of the brain, not just increase brain activity.

I wonder if this has anything to do with learning?

Strategy learning game

I like Strategy games. I get quite addicted quite easily and so I tend to keep wellll away form them. I recently got the itch again, like an ex-smoker and started to look into playing the old ones on my mac via VMWare.

The first thing I found was Master of Orion II, which I played for a night and realised that its actually quite a mundane game, but never the less you find yourself there for hours hitting the “Next turn” button to see if anything you have planned to build has finished, and how much cash you have. Its all virtual and the moment you step away your over it but once your in, your hooked.

I was thinking that this type of addiction would be very handy if you could apply it to more productive tasks like learning. So I’m trying to figure out what the key things are that make strategy games addictive.
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