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How do games make you sit at their feet for tens of hours?

BingMag.com <b>How</b> do <b>games</b> <b>make</b> <b>you</b> <b>sit</b> at <b>their</b> <b>feet</b> for <b>tens</b> of hours?

Video games are very time consuming entertainment. Compare a typical video game with the Lord of the Rings Extended Cut trilogy. Each of the trilogy films is considered one of the longest-running films in Hollywood, and it takes 11 hours and 54 minutes to watch all three films together.

BingMag.com <b>How</b> do <b>games</b> <b>make</b> <b>you</b> <b>sit</b> at <b>their</b> <b>feet</b> for <b>tens</b> of hours?

Now let's see How long it takes to finish Shadow of War, the latest game released in the Middle Eastern world: an average of about 36 hours. It means watching the trinity of the Lord of the Rings three times to the end. Literature, known as one of the longest novels in history, takes about 30 hours. On the other hand, it takes more than 100 hours to complete Persona 5, which is not even one of the longest-running role-playing games. It takes up to 5 hours. This means that even short games are 99% longer than most movies and a full season of many TV series.

My point is to show that video games are very different from other entertainment media. And that's a lot of time we spend on them. One of the questions that comes to my mind is How do video games encourage us to spend such long hours playing them? What makes me spend fifty hours playing a game I don't like (like Fortnite) without bending my eyebrows, but some of the greatest works of art of the last hundred years get bored after three hours? p>

Such a phenomenon is practically no different from magic and is not seen in any other style of play as much as Roguelike games.

  • Roguelike vs. Roguelite: Which is better? Is? | Players' Toolbox (79)

Ruglake games are highly repetitive, have small worlds, and their gameplay mechanics are limited in scale, but they are among the most engaging and addictive vampires of all time. What is the reason? Before answering this question and analyzing the controversial issue of whether long, time-consuming, and addictive video games are a good thing at all, I must first introduce a few basic concepts. Very basic concepts!

The reason we like to play is that we are motivated to play. If we do not have a reason to do something, it does not take long for something else to distract us that motivates us to do it.

Simply put, motivation has two different aspects:

  • Intrinsic Motivation
  • Extrinsic Motivation
games are games that set rigid goals for the player, such as a to-do list. Quest is the best example in a large role-playing game (MMO).

In a large-scale role-playing game, the gameplay is not very attractive at the moment, but the goal of these games is to provide you with constant experience and money to do. Visibly feel the progress and increase of your personality in each quest and go to each black hole. In these games, from time to time, new equipment and new skills are provided to change the monotonous process of the game.

On the other hand, inner motivation is more emotional in nature. For example, the simple fun of jumping back and forth in a scuba diving game, winning a game against rivals, or the sense of joy of finding a solution to a problem in the Immersive Sim are examples of intrinsic motivation.

  • When reward destroys motivation instead of motivation | Players Toolbox (107)

games like Minecraft are the purest example of intrinsic motivation. Minecraft gives you a big world and basically tells you to have fun in this world however you want; Whether it's fun to dig for resources, to build different buildings, or to fight monsters. In general, the progress of the game is up to you, and the game does not set any pre-determined goals or paths in this regard.

In short:

  • External motivation of a series The goal is to reach them
  • Inner motivation through your engagement with the game and its mechanisms will give you a sense of pleasure and constant progress

Because video games have a great ability to capture our attention, using a combination of both is highly motivating. games that do not have a good source to stimulate our external or internal motivation are games that will usually provide predictable gameplay that will make you skip the game, even if you like it.

If the game uses One of the goals and the progress process does not stimulate your external motivation, it seems to be a aimless and meaningless experience. The Sea of Thieves was such an experience for me. I enjoyed the experience of sailing in the role of a cool pirate, but there was no way to get stronger in the game and the money in the game had no specific purpose other than buying decorative items, so it did not take long for me to have a reason to continue playing. I gave up and never went back to it.

A game that does not stimulate your inner motivation ends in an experience commonly referred to as grinding; That is, a game whose experience is more like "work" than "fun." Any game that contains daily quests suffers from this problem. Daily quests force you to do repetitive and tedious tasks all the time to get a small reward. This system kills the spirit of the game, because you will not get anything emotionally from it.

games that do not provide a challenge will also suffer from this problem. The Dynasty Warriors franchise has a lot of content and the Hyrule Warriors game has a fascinating story, but the gameplay of both games is so easy that the beautiful graphics and fantasy power that the game gives the player, after a while They lose their appeal because they are the result of nothing but pushing the buttons without any thought or strategy.

Contrary to what you may think, internal and external motivation are not rivals but complementary. One of my favorite examples of the two types of motivation working together is in the Xenoblade Chronicles series. , you have to play with these wolf monsters in the air.

BingMag.com <b>How</b> do <b>games</b> <b>make</b> <b>you</b> <b>sit</b> at <b>their</b> <b>feet</b> for <b>tens</b> of hours?

However, the result was that During the experience of Zinoblade 1 and 2, the desire to take revenge on these big bastards came to me badly. I had a lot of motivation to find equipment and balance to put the account of my bloody enemies in their hands. This desire, which has emotional roots, was instilled in me by mechanisms that were deliberately put into play.

Finally, not only my efforts and emotional investment paid off (in the form of watching the giant monsters fall to the ground) , But the game helped me to get through the final part of the game more easily by providing some powerful equipment after killing the monsters.

Even titles that are based on one of the motivations, often for Providing context and depth in the gameplay needs another motivation. In Animal Crossing, for example, you have to collect money, raise animals, and upgrade your city. These are all signs of external motivation, while most people play animal cruising because of its decorative elements and design, all of which are related to internal motivation.

If the game gives you all the items first, you You will not become emotionally attached to what you create. Most people just build their dream home and drop out after an hour.

However, the use of a combination of external and internal motivation does not explain why a series of the most enjoyable games are among the longest. are. If all that's needed to make a good game are motivational elements, wouldn't it be nice to put all of these elements together in one short but very engaging game like Inside, Undertale and Short Hike? ) Contract? These games have a great performance in terms of motivating the player, both emotionally and pragmatically, but I do not want to play them ten times, unlike a rogue game. So this is a small thing in the middle. What is it?

Another factor that makes it easier to get back to longer games than shorter, more focused games is that players love Delayed Gratification.

Effort And waiting a long time to get what you want makes it even more valuable when we get the reward. Achieving this reward immerses us more and more in the game; We know that a surge of endorphins awaits us when we reach our next goal.

Take the very difficult Solzelik games as an example. If the basses of these games were just as hard as they used to be, they could not be looked at as an obstacle that motivated them to leave behind. Is. Then you do not need to go for external rewards that make fighting easier. , Find better items and upgrade your personality. In this case, you will feel much better after achieving victory, because this victory is the result of several separate factors that together resulted in a life-changing result, factors that both external and internal motivation were involved in their formation.>

This factor can also be seen in logistics games. The larger goals, such as establishing a blacksmith workshop in The Colonists or finding a way to build a computer in Satisfactory, are not long-term trend-driven operations, but a series of separate tasks and opportunities, all of which are accomplished in a moment of delight. It becomes. Imagine if you could make Blue Science Packs from Factorio in the first place; In this case, achieving this achievement would lose its importance and you would quickly lose interest in the game. But in this game, to achieve this, you have to

  • the oil extraction base
  • the refinery
  • the steel plant (to which you probably have to connect a railway).

and build a number of other organizations. In this case, pressing a button to create an item is the result of a 15-hour effort that finally pays off (of course, if you're as bad as I am in the game, it takes 15 hours!).

Here we come, it's worth noting that the idea behind Ruglake games is to constantly improve and master the game over long periods of time. Every time you play a rogue game - whether it's a few hours' journey through the Caves of Qud, or a doomsday trip to Tartarus in Hades - you always learn new information or skills from this experience. These new findings will encourage you to start a new game again and see if you can move forward this time. This endeavor will eventually lead to a great and satisfying end.

Most gamers believe that Ruglake games are repayable. This description seems appropriate. But the repeatability of these games does not explain why they are enjoyable.

Unlike most games, when you start a rogue game from the beginning, not everything starts from scratch. Given that progress in games of this genre depends to a large extent on your knowledge of the mechanics of the game, you will transfer all the experiences and lessons learned during the previous game rounds to the next rounds.

For example, in The Binding of Isaac, you may not know what each room is like. For example, you might enter a room, see a razor in the middle, and not know what it's used for.

BingMag.com <b>How</b> do <b>games</b> <b>make</b> <b>you</b> <b>sit</b> at <b>their</b> <b>feet</b> for <b>tens</b> of hours?

But over time, By trial and error, you will find that the purpose of these blades is to climb on them and receive a random reward for losing part of your life. If you do this enough, you may find that jumping on these blades is also a way to fight the game's score points. However, the first time you may be surprised by the appearance of the bass and quickly kill yourself.

BingMag.com <b>How</b> do <b>games</b> <b>make</b> <b>you</b> <b>sit</b> at <b>their</b> <b>feet</b> for <b>tens</b> of hours?

This The learning experience is part of the process of progressing in the game, a process that does not end after a round of play, but will continue until the final boss is defeated (which you will encounter after winning the game several times) and gaining sufficient mastery. .

Every time you start a Rugle like game from scratch, you will have an inner motivation to find another piece of the puzzle that will help you gain an overall understanding of the game (which is a complete puzzle instance). . On the other hand, you have an external motivation to apply the knowledge you have gained and achieve the reward that the game has provided for you.

For example, in Spelunky 2, maybe this bigback in The end of the mine:

BingMag.com <b>How</b> do <b>games</b> <b>make</b> <b>you</b> <b>sit</b> at <b>their</b> <b>feet</b> for <b>tens</b> of hours?

looks like a big obstacle that you have to do by tricking him into giving you a closed path Unlock.

BingMag.com <b>How</b> do <b>games</b> <b>make</b> <b>you</b> <b>sit</b> at <b>their</b> <b>feet</b> for <b>tens</b> of hours?

But once you get acquainted with the mechanics of the game, you will finally find a way for him Drag, get some treasure, and trick him into leading you either to the forest or to the molten mines, depending on your preference. This new discovery means that not only will you have more bombs and a health bar, but by choosing the next route to enter, you will have the opportunity to express your inner intentions.

Of course, some Of the Ruglake games, the "progress by repetition" method has been implemented more directly. games like Enter the Gungeon or Dead Cells, in addition to teaching a series of points between each round of the game, fill the black holes with newer items as the game progresses. This is an approach This is great, as it not only means that you can open a series of new items between each round of the game, but also opens new strategies with each item that you have to figure out for the next rounds.

Of course If it were not for a specific factor, none of these methods would work to encourage the player to repeat the rugs; That is the reason for the difficulty of these games. you can never escape hell in the first round of playing a rugby game (referring to Hades), gaining an Orb of Zot (referring to Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup) or defeating Leshy ( This is a good thing, because it's the inability to set a series of internal and external goals to guide your progress in the game.

To reach a specific area for the first time, defeat a Rare bass For the first time and performing a series of special actions to reach a secret place, you have to go through certain turning points and learn lessons about the mechanics of the game, and these are all part of the process of mastering the game and reaching one of the endpoints. There are so many.

That's why Ruglake games keep me busy for a long time, especially compared to other games that are known to be long. Competitive games (such as Dota or Counter-Strike) have the necessary degree of difficulty and depth, but do not have a clear long-term perspective (unless you create it for yourself). World-class games also have a lot of content, but they are usually not challenging enough to make up for the hassle of exploring them. , Have mastered it and repeated this process too much. Many new rogueleys, in addition to adding gameplay elements that are passed from one round to the next, allow the player to increase his power directly.

The game that founded this approach is Rogue Legacy Legacy) was in 2013, but it can be seen in every game these days, from Immortal Rednecks to Dead Cells.

. The experience of the Ruglakes can be frustrating, and the player has to put in the effort to learn from his or her deaths in the game. There is no guarantee that new items and locations will be attractive enough to engage a player who has not yet learned the game and will die in a row.

Thus, a direct increase in player strength from one round of play to the next. It's an external reward that keeps the player eager to continue playing, doesn't it?

Well, not completely. This system often makes it less inconvenient to progress in a rogue game, as it changes your motivation. In this case, instead of taking short steps to achieve complete mastery of the game, you are simply collecting currency to upgrade your equipment with it, and in this way you have no motivation to spend time and energy learning the game. In this case, too, you will reach the milestones that Ruglake games are known for, but due to the fact that you have worked less to reach them, you will feel less inner pleasure. On the other hand, since the only thing you care about is the currency needed to buy more powerful upgrades, the game's external enjoyment will also be compromised.

Some games, such as Hades, evolve They use it to add emotional rewards to this structure, but other games that use this system but do not have the potential for Hades narrative and can not use the evolutionary narrative line sacrifice the long-term progression of the Roglikes to short-term pleasures.

Gunfire Reborn is a great first-person shooter action game, but the powers you gain from each round to the next are so strong that you can defeat some bosses and advance in some areas without the amazing bugs you gain between rounds. you do, it seems almost impossible. This makes trying to learn the game and master it seem futile.

BingMag.com <b>How</b> do <b>games</b> <b>make</b> <b>you</b> <b>sit</b> at <b>their</b> <b>feet</b> for <b>tens</b> of hours?

Expressing this issue, we come to the ethical aspects of cyclical design (Compulsion Loop). I hope I have been able to show by now that games often use mental tricks that encourage people to seek rewards and spend time on something, making them enjoy the games you enjoy the most. However, this makes it difficult to distinguish between ethical game design and abusive game design, as both game design methods use the same psychological techniques to persuade us (or, if we want to be ruthless, to fool ourselves)./p>

An abusive game, like all Gacha Games, uses time-limited special offers to encourage you to stay more involved and ultimately spend more money. do. (Explanation: Gacha game (Gacha means automatic toy vending machine) are games in which you can spend real money to get random and virtual items in the game. Most Gacha games are free mobile games, but more recently Gonshin Impact ( Genshin Impact (a successful example of implementing this idea on a large scale).

Dead cells also use time constraints to stress you out and force you to play faster and with more risk to get to the stage on time Finish and get a big reward.

Both examples, Gacha games and Dead Cells, use the human psychological tendency to be rewarded, but with a different purpose. The purpose of Gacha games is to empty your pockets and the purpose of dead cells is to encourage you to experience the game in a more fun way. Especially if our criteria are gameplay mechanisms. Every time you lose in Hades, you are encouraged to use psychological tricks to start the game again with a new approach and see if that approach works or not. This is the trick that makes you buy another lottery box when you buy one and you do not find the rare item that was advertised.

That's why we as gamers have a duty to talk about this Tricks to get information and always stay alert. Engaging and motivational tricks can allow game developers to create hundreds of hours of fun gameplay for us and give us many times the value of the money we spent on their game by giving great rewards at the right moment, but on the other hand, game developers use These tricks can empty our pockets and exploit people who are mentally more vulnerable to certain scoring techniques.

On a simpler level, game developers may design the game as you think it would. You're enjoying it, but in reality your brain's only primitive desire to be rewarded allows you to do, like a zombie, do what the game tells you to do, without enjoying any of it or extracting emotional/meaningful experiences from it.



Incentive elements, motivation and reward mechanisms are an integral part of game design, but these elements do not play the first and last role in game development. Even if Ruglake games are designed to encourage you to keep coming back and repeating them, what makes their experience worthwhile is the unique narrative experience they provide. The practice of gaming experience for hundreds of hours alone is not worth it.

When we can better understand How games can motivate us to play with psychological tricks, we can better understand the mechanism of our favorite games and Avoid games that try to abuse us.

Now I have to apologize and go play a splank 2 round. Before you ask, yes, I can stop the game whenever I want, and no, I'm not going to do that. What could be better than playing Splanky 2 after a hard day to get tired? What's wrong with turning Splanky 2 into powder and pulling it up from his nose?


Source: Adam Millard YouTube Channel - The Architect of Games
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