Week 1: What common characteristics do engaging games have?

I will admit that I love a playing games, both online and in person. I was raised playing card and board games, so I thought this weeks question would help me better understand why I love to play them. According to Growth Engineering (n.d.) a good learning game encourages engagement, provokes thought, and improves retention. The engagement part of games needs to be present regardless of whether the game is a learning game or a “for fun” game. If the game isn’t engaging then no one will want to play it. The online games that I currently play for fun give me rewards and have levels that challenge me but are not too difficult. Personally, I do not care to spend more than a week getting through one level of a game. The longer it takes, the less engaged I become until I just give up and quit playing the game. “If the challenge is beyond that ability, the activity becomes so overwhelming that it generates anxiety. If the challenge fails to engage the player, the player quickly loses interest and tends to leave the game” (Chen, 2007).

I usually find out about new apps from my niece and nephew who are constantly asking me to give whatever app they are using a try. However, I tend to play one app at a time, so every other game goes by the wayside if a new game peaks my interest. Often, I will not try new games because I get too involved and I have a hard time walking away from games, especially puzzle games. According to Tocci (n.d.), there the five categories of game appeals are as follows:

  1. Accomplishment: Appeals involving extrinsic and intrinsic rewards.
  2. Imagination: Appeals involving pretending and storytelling.
  3. Socialization: Appeals involving friendly social interaction.
  4. Recreation: Appeals for adjusting physical, mental, or emotional state.
  5. Subversion: Appeals involving breaking social or technical rules.

Based on these five categories, the one that I identify with most often is accomplishment. I love getting through levels and winning awards. As I was reading this list, I thought about some games that I’ve played and they fit into more than just one of these categories, which is smart because then the game will appeal to more people. A few years ago, I played an app called Hay Day. The app gave me rewards, while I pretended to be a farmer. I even had neighbors (friends from FaceBook). I quit playing when it started to take too long to grow my crops and take care of my animals, which took up too much of my time to oversee. I moved onto games that were more engaging to me.


Chen, J. (2007, April). Flow in Games (and Everything Else). Retrieved September 25, 2016, from ACM: https://blackboard.uas.alaska.edu/bbcswebdav/pid-338134-dt-content-rid-2561595_1/courses/201603_76581/Flow%20in%20Games.pdf

Growth Engineering. (n.d.). What Are the Characteristics of a Good Learning Game. Retrieved September 25, 2016, from Growth Engineering: http://www.growthengineering.co.uk/what-are-the-characteristics-of-a-good-learning-game/

Tocci, J. (n.d.). Five Ways Games Appeal to Players. Retrieved September 25, 2016, from Gamasutra: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/168807/five_ways_games_appeal_to_players.php?print=1



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