Reward anticipation - A powerful tool for game design

A neu­ro­bi­o­log­i­cal under­stand­ing of games has at its core the dopamin­er­gic reward sys­tem [1]. The nucle­us accum­bens, which is also dubbed the plea­sure cen­tre of the brain, is cur­rent­ly under­stood as the crit­i­cal brain region asso­ci­at­ed with the neu­ro­trans­mit­ter dopamine, which in turn is impli­cat­ed in habit for­ma­tion, reward-seek­ing behav­iours and addic­tion. The above video shows a speech from Robert Sapolsky, Professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences at Stanford University, where he dis­cuss­es his research con­cern­ing dopamine release in the brain when reward­ed and when antic­i­pat­ing a reward. Continue read­ing

Advent Calendar 2009

11 - Designing a Game Changer

Philip Fierlinger from New Zealand is the head of design at Xero, a com­pa­ny focused on an online account­ing sys­tem. For the inau­gur­al Wellington Web Meetup, he gave a pre­sen­ta­tion with a set of beau­ti­ful slides on apply­ing game mechan­ics to inter­ac­tion design (for the web in this case) to trans­form expe­ri­ences from painful to plea­sur­able. In his slides he does not con­cen­trate too much on aes­thet­ic aspects of game design, but more on the rules and con­di­tions that are inher­ent to all games and our human need to expose our­selves to such rule sys­tems for our own per­son­al plea­sure. One of the real­ly nice things I could take away from his pre­sen­ta­tion is that even in bank­ing (as one of the quotes he uses shows), some peo­ple con­sid­er games equal to high-qual­i­ty, plea­sur­able inter­ac­tion. Continue read­ing