Wrote this a while ago and am not sure why it never got published. So I am sending it for publishing now.


Sit down for a moment and pick up a game of PacMan. Play it for 5 minutes. Same old game? What happens if you add emotional elements to the game to drive the experience? This is just what Nicole Lazzaro of XEO Design was asking in her workshop, “The Power of Play” held in Campbell, California back in March.

She began the workshop with a fun game of charades encouraging us to guess the emotion labeled on our back. Our team members had to motion what he emotion was. Needless to say, my team members were of no help to me! Emotions are hard for us to communicate with words let alone symbols! Next we had to pick a partner and lead the masked partner to the soda (or snack) machine. Only with my partners words to guide me I wandered to the machine and then attempted to get a bags of nuts. I walked away with a nutrition bar of some sort. Not quite the experience I had desired. The vending machine is a frustrating interface for a blind person.

How you interpret rules. The person who cannot see has a different view than the person who has a view. Much like WOW and people having different roles to fight people. Encouragement helped a lot with how I felt as a “blind person”. She was giving you gifts of emotion. Feedback helped me know whether to guide more or less. Knowing how to dial that up and down and finding that right balance can be challenging. Gender roles may play into the experience in how much they need direction they need. As a culture we are much more closed to our emotions that we would like to admit. We tend to remember things more when we are emotional. Emotion needs to connect with what you are doing or it will create confusion.

Massively Social Online Game: Global social gaming if we designed it with the right tools and techniques. Market possibility is 6B people.

Hard Fun – Frustration
Easy fun – curiosity
Serious Fun – to change the way they feel like Wii Fit
People Fun – social gaming – people would play them simply to “belong” with their friends. They may not even like the game but they would play for the conversation after.

People fun tends to trump all for gaming. Some people would rather play by themselves but there’s more gold in the hills of “people fun”. Add Machinima to gaming was presented two weeks after YouTube went live. Exploritorium has a great exhibition about people and emotions right now. Games allow for more experience. In Business Systems we have focused experiences around tasks. Games allow for “extra fun” (ie shooting a hole in a fish tank to watch the water flow out of it in a shooting game. For the most part men and women have similar emotional experiences with games (like diner dash… you manage the emotion of the characters for the game play) but culture will change it somewhat.

the iPhone has a very distinct social emotional profile: Stroke, share, tap, talk, hold, music, emotions created wonder, curiosity, friendship, amusement… iPhones make people happy like a tomachoti. You need to have it all the time. Gestures on the p[hone felt so emotional and enjoyable.

In game design the back wheel is still important. You can measure the following emotions easily:
Hard – accomplishment
easy imagination/curiosity
People – amusement/social
Relaxation – serious fun, creating value

Adding fun little things like a chocolate cow in Farmville adds fun and excitement in a game. Engaging interactions inspire curiosity stimulate the sense, structure social interaction, and work towards a goal.

Hard fun – challenge mastery (badges and points) – The fluctuation of emotions is a tool utilized to encourage the feeling of power (ie accomplishment of a level, feeling of ease returns and builds to challenge)
easy fun – exploration and role play
serious fun – to create and express value
people fun for the excuse to hang with friends

A great technique to make something viral is starting with one thing. get them to do one thing and then build in features. Have the ability to reach out and connect. Increase the number of players. Have messages in social circles (not just conenct people but pass messages back and forth – giving gifts in facebook games like farmville or cafe world). Videos on YouTube aren’t about getting popcorn but have a different meaning because of the social aspect.

Tilt Factor — > Social Features —> Gameplay —> Monetization

Friends, messages, and actions are key to create meaning to help something go viral.

personalize a verb / piece of language to create an experience and social play about “this is just us”. Why do 5 people like my comment on Facebook?

Viral means that two people are connecting then their friends are connecting… That’s viral. Doing something for friends vs money are two very different emotional appeals. So if you are designing for social virability then you are trying to touch the feeling of “friendship”.

Anything can have meaning if you create meaning around it. (They key around it is the meaning and how you create that meaning.)

The carts error (recommended books on xeo design) by Don Norman and one other.

Choices you make and how they create emotion can really change that experience you have with a game/system.

Increase the number of players by keeping game mechanics simple, mobile, and frictionless.

Feeling of friendly interaction: Amici/Chumminess
We want to connect with social emotion. We want to belong. (Ecology – Does our ecology expand with the web?) Orphan quest in Farmville… taking a lost animal in Farmville (looking very sad). The language is “sad”, visual emotion “sad” thus it encourages befriending the cow. Game mechanics in Farmville groom social behavior. You don’t come back in x amount of time your crops die. Then social embarrassment can cause motivation to play. Utilize good or bad emotions. Leaderboards with friends (City of Eternals – ohia)
Real friends, pets, plants, etc

Amidar – Admiration
You only get the Koi pond in Farmville or the “hot armour” in WOW when you reach a certain level of something. For WOW that is a particular level and social admiration that your character has obtained within the guild and the game. Much like the horsebarn in Farmville. Personal Hype Quotient – The number underneath your name in Twitter is your social score. People will pay for the opportunity to show off with their friends (Maples Story).
Check in w/friends
See what others are doing (looking at friend’s farms in Farmville)

Amiero – Social Bonding
Healing in WOW or gifting in social games. Giving mystery gifts that you personally cannot use helps build interaction between friends.
Offer risk to build trust

Amusement —> Chumminess —> Admiration (check slide for how will your game go viral)

How will you make money
1) Game play
2) Social Features
3) Tilt Factor
4) Monetization

Choose a game that takes someone from game play to social features to monetization.
Slide Deck on SlideShare
White Paper on Why we Play Games