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How Videogames Keep You Playing Forever

Started by droqen, December 25, 2021, 03:23:24 PM

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QuoteAnimal Crossing requires you to collect money, farm for critters, and upgrade your town. [..] Even though most people are playing for the dress up and designy elements. [..] If the game simply gave you all the items right off the bat, you'd lack a sense of personal investment in your creations and most people would just make their dream house and quit the game after an hour.

I need a name for this perspective and to better understand my beef with it. It is intrinsically motivating to work creatively with what is available to you...


QuotePlayers love delayed gratification.

Eeeehhh this seems like a pretty terrible way of looking at it! He goes on to talk about the value of multiple delayed gratification things paying off all at the same time. This seems like the most backwards way of looking at it... even if it's literally the forwards way of looking at it.

The payoff is a whole thing which must be understood in pieces before it has any meaning. It takes time to receive the pieces of data necessary to appreciate the thing in a way that is gratifying. Spending more time than necessary is not avoidable, but is generally a bad thing,

Sometimes the signal and signified get messed up and delayed gratification is seen as a measure of a good reward.


QuoteImagine how much worse Factorio would be if you just build blue science [labs?] the moment you research them.

The achievement would barely matter at all and you would lose investment almost immediately.

But by first making you set up an oil outpost, a refinery, a steel mill which is probably gonna need to be supplied by a train, and a bunch of other stuff, simply pressing a button to make an item becomes this awesome culmination of 15 hours' work

The 15 hours mean nothing on their own! This lens is like saying the twist at the end of a movie gets meaning from being "the awesome culmination of 60 minutes of runtime." It's missing the fact that what is contained within that time, the experiences of the appreciator, are what give the thing meaning...


Learning how a roguelike works is approaching a greater understanding & appreciation of the whole. "Difficulty creates motivation" says a slide around the 10-minute mark of the video, but . . . no, difficulty is what signals that that understanding is valued/necessary.

In the lingo of Christopher Alexander, "Difficulty creates motivation" makes an awful pattern because it doesn't map accurately to the problem space. There are difficult games that aren't motivating, and motivating games that aren't difficult. We need a more precise pattern than this.


QuoteAll the more satisfying because of the work that went into them

I really fucking hate this perspective. The work that goes into something is not what makes it valuable, and nobody should think this way! It's what you get out of it, and you should work on things that you get something out of, and we should strive to make games that accurately signal that working on them is valuable.

Fantasy is valuable. Happiness and joy are valuable. Comfort is valuable. Inspiration is valuable. Anything you value is valuable. But . . . burning time is a fucked metric for that.


That's just gambler's fallacy for cultural artifacts.


Quotetrick you into thinking you're having fun

Use a different word from fun here

Quote.. and not actually doing anything fulfilling.

Ok, better


QuoteIt's the unique ludonarrative experiences we have with [videogames] that make them worthwhile, not the fact that we've spent hundreds of hours playing.