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Games and the Design of Optimal Human Experience

https://medium.com/the-polymath-project/games-and-the-design-of-optimal-human-experience-2245ded0474e

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Games and the Design of Optimal Human Experience
As a teen, I spent more of my time in game worlds than in the real world. At home, I spent all my time playing games like The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and Mass Effect. At school, all my time was spent daydreaming about the games I would play when I got home.

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Developing mastery

Fun is the experience of developing mastery. When we acquire new skills and recognize valuable patterns, our brains reward us with a shot of pleasurable sensations. 

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Games and learning

Games are optimal learning environments:

  • Feedback loops are short, fast and adapted to your skill level.
  • Challenges grow as you develop new skills.
  • Failures are learning opportunities because every time you make a mistake, you get a hint about how you can do better next time.

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Boredom and learning

Boredom is what we feel when our brain decides that there's nothing worth learning. It's the brain searching for new information.

And even games become boring at some point because they eventually run out of things to teach you. That's when you stop playing.

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Games vs Schools

If a good game teaches you everything it has to teach you before the player quits, then a good school should be one that teaches you everything it intends before the students leave.

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Schools as transmission failures

Why schools fail to teach everything they intend to:

  • The patters are too easy, so students get bored (and this is especially common for gifted students).
  • The patters to be learned are too hard, so students give up.
  • The patterns are not perceived as meaningful.

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Learning, good and bad

Schools often do a bad job teaching us things that should be good for us, while games do a good job at teaching us things that are often useless.

But school and games should learn from each other: teachers should study games to learn why they’re so compelling, and game designers can think about what schools are trying to teach and find better ways of doing so.

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Rewarding human experience

There are 4 categories here:

  • Satisfying work: clearly defined challenging activities, that provide clear feedback.
  • The experience or promise of success: we want to feel we are getting better over time.
  • Meaningfulness: being a part of something bigger.
  • Social connection: sharing experiences with others, while working towards a common goal.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

A new disorder

The World Health Organization officially added a new disorder to the section on substance use and addictive behaviors :

The term "addiction"

Addiction can include:

  • Addiction as a moral transgression, like excessive drinking or drug use.
  • Addiction as a scientific disease, which characterize alcoholism and drug addiction as biological.
  • Colloquial violation, which applies the term to almost any fixation. 

The idea that someone can be addicted to a behavior, as opposed to a substance, remains debatable.

Arguments against gaming addiction

  • Excessive gameplay is a symptom of a larger problem, like anxiety or depression.
  • The fear of possible addiction arrises from moral panic about new technologies, not scientific research or clinical data.
  • Making excessive gaming a disorder can harm the gaming industry by stigmatizing their products. 

4 more ideas

6 Life Lessons From Video Games

6 Life Lessons From Video Games
  1. Sometimes games tempt us to cheat, but winning while cheating is an empty victory.
  2. Many games have secret bonuses and features not explained. To extract the most out of ...

Hack the 10,000 hour rule

This rule was developed by Anders Ericsson and popularized by Malcolm Gladwell and states that we need  10,000 hours of deliberate practice to succeed at anything.

This may create f...

Plus, Minus, Equal

  • Plus: Find mentors, real (maybe someone from your work) or virtual (from books).  Learn from someone with more experience than you.
  • Minus: Explain what you are learning while you are learning it. Teach someone with less experience than you.
  • Equal: Find people who love what you love and spend as much time talking about this shared area as you can.

Micro-Skills

Every skill worth learning has dozens of micro-skills.

List the micro-skills. Figure out what you are good at, what you are bad at, and how you can learn to be better at each.