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Glued to Games: How Video Games Draw Us In and Hold Us Spellbound (New Directions in Media) Hardcover – February 18, 2011
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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"This accessible survey of the psychology of video games serves as a useful introduction. Summing Up: Recommended." - Choice
"As games mature, and the average age of gamers continues to rise, we can hope that game scholarship will evolve as well, and Glued to Games is a good step in that direction." - videogamewriters.com
About the Author
Scott is founder/president of Immersyve, Inc. (immersyve.com) and a veteran of both the ivory tower and interactive media development. After earning his doctorate in clinical psychology with a research emphasis on motivation, Scott spent eight years building Internet games and interactive content for Sony, Time Warner, and Viacom as well as online games based on major feature films such as AI:Artificial Intelligence, Red Planet, and Frequency before founding Immersyve in 2003. Scott was the host of several television shows in the NY region, including Your Internet Show and Metro Channel's Plugged In with Scott Rigby. His interactive work can also be seen as part of the "Explore the Universe" exhibit at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.
In addition, Scott is the principle investigator on several grants awarded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) looking at innovative ways to enhance learning and deepen motivation for healthy lifestyle change through virtual environments.
Scott has served on the faculty of the Game Developers Conference, the New York New Media Association, and been a contributing feature author on Gamasutra. His work on measuring the player experience has been featured by EGM as part of its "Future of Video Games" special edition (May, 2007), as well as being featured by ABC News and Scientific American.
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To give a little background, I AM a gamer and I work for a mobile video game developer. We recently got into the social/freemium market and, although our games have great ratings, we seem to be lacking in retention. This is where Glued to Games comes into play. I am just a little over halfway through the book and I already have a decent list of things that will help to improve our current game as well as our past/future titles.
Even if you don't make video games for a living, this book is fascinating from a psychological perspective. Ever wonder why some games, even simple ones, draw in users and get them hooked? This book explains it. I would recommend this to anyone trying to understand the relationship that games and gamers have.
On a final note, the authors are themselves gamers and give many examples of recent games that are good at hooking users. They also give real-world examples, for those who may have not played the games. Definitely a solid read for all types.
Once more, their theory is not just conjecture but something they test through countless research projects. They find people engaging with the games based on their model more often and for longer periods of time, so this isn't just a theory. Their research is also backed by more than 30 years in Applied Psychology, and they've found that providing these needs in other areas of life (school, work, sports, relationships, etc.) creates more engaged people in those areas as well.
While the tail end of their book won't be as meaningful for designers, I highly recommend this book as "Must Read" for anyone in the video game industry and interested in design because it really helps to break down the simple things that we take for granted in games
While the focus is video games the book goes far beyond games and the knowledge it imparts is highly transferable and applicable. This is a must read for anyone in marketing, user experience, or frankly in any leadership position with an interest in employee motivation.
I am also a parent and struggle a bit with the role video games should play in my kids' lives. To be clear of my bias, I'd call myself more of an advocate than a critic. I still play a very direct role in the type of games they can play and I believe the games they play are beneficial to them. I've learned a lot of critical thinking, logic, and systems optimization from games and I believe they have value. Despite the title, "Glued to Games" is not inherently anti-video game. I might even call it slightly positive towards them.
It is at the very least, balanced. The authors address the negative side of video games but do it from a refreshing perspective of scientists. They are not sensationalist, trying to grab headlines, but instead present the research without bias and with thoughtful consideration of the implications. They succeed in imparting an understanding of why video games can, "hold us spellbound" with both the benefits and the dangers of that powerful ability. If you are a parent, this book will help you understand (and relax a bit) about the power of video games.
Beyond this, as another reviewer mentioned, this is a very professional production: high quality paper, binding, editing and proofreading--nothing to distract the reader from the very substantial content herein.
I've used the principles in this book extensively in every project I've worked on since I read this book and saw Scott Rigby's talks at GDC.
deep enough for a veteran trying to dig deeper and clear enough for a junior designer to help form the intent of their designs I can't recommend this book and Scott's GDC presentations enough.