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Atypical game research: What games are fun and not addictive?

via:博客园     time:2018/7/5 16:31:55     readed:256

Author: Li Zhuo

Recently, the biggest news in the game industry is this: the World Health Organization will list “game obstacles” (in fact, the so-called game addiction) as a disease.


We have been involved in the game's gameplay alienation, game addiction, game corporate social responsibility, etc. In a recent article, I once raised a misunderstanding of the game and game companies: the game R & D must be aimed at human weakness, and it is not fun to play without addiction.

However, at the time, in the comment area of ​​this article, there was an objection: “It’s not fun, it’s not addictive.” & rdquo; & ldquo; game addiction simply because the game is fun, the game designer is a professional set, the best way not to indulge the game is not to touch the game. ”

I can understand these views. After all, I used to think so. And now many developers and operators also have this view —— For example, the former Ubisoft game design director wrote in the "Game Design Creed": "The third step of creating a game fun" is to continue to provide pleasure. Feeling and desire for the game. To put it bluntly, there is an idea here to make players addicted to the game. ”

But my current point of view is that games are cultural products, and the cultural consumption of playing games and reading, watching movies, watching TV, reading comics, and watching animation is the same.

Continue to be interested in the game, just like when you read a good book, read a fascinating novel, and when you read it, you are completely immersed and devoted. When reading the release volume, the heart is filled with emotions of joy, happiness, affection, satisfaction, etc.; or for the plot, the characters, still remember, reflect on reflection; or because this book lets you see something different, the new grammar New ideas, new ideas, and so on.

This is the product concept that I mentioned in the article "Game, Child Robbery", "There is temperature, reflection, innovation", I think any cultural product worthy of consumption has its own characteristics. The game is no exception.

In the case of mainstream online games such as the legendary World of Warcraft LOL pesticides and chickens have been criticized, from the market's some atypical, non-mainstream games, we may be able to get different answers.

Atypical game case: a happy game

So I used this concept to measure all the games I have experienced before. I have selected 12 more typical game products, and the following three are the best ones.

The features of these games are:

1. They all have a certain narrative ability. At the very least, they tell a story completely with the game, and then use this story to convey the emotions and thoughts that the developer wants to convey;

2. On the basis of their narrative ability, they combine their own gameplay and mechanism just right, and they have innovated to stand out in similar games.

3, in order to complete the narrative, most of their game content has an ending; most games are stand-alone games;

4, many game developers are independent game studios, and even a single game developer, so the product's personal style, and even the artistic style is quite unique.

  • A model of interactive text: "Florence"

This is the best game I have experienced in the last three years.I can't even find the shortcomings of this game. The game tells the story of the heroine's love story, Florence Yeoh. The biggest advantage of this game is the simplicity of the interactive interface and the simplicity of the interaction. The game's guidance and interaction is very smooth, the experience is very comfortable, I used 40 minutes to fully experience all the game content.

If you have fallen in love and lost love, this game mobilizes your resonance with love. This game is warm enough. When you finish the game in less than an hour, you will understand that —— the game can actually be like a book. You won't be trapped in this book.


  • Zen School Game: "Light · Meet"

If the game market is analogous to the movie market, eating chicken, pesticides and those gun-ball games may correspond to sensory-sounding movies such as Western movies, gun battle films, and war films;The Zen-style game is more like a literary film in the game, niche, unique, fresh, but fun.

The most recent such product is "Light · Meet" being tested at TestFlight. The biggest feature of this game is the picture and social mode. The fun of the game is to explore the world with friends and unlock the institutions. A lot of scenes are the —&mdash that you need to open with your friends; when they are both open, they are open at the same time. If the traditional online game is acquaintance social, this is a stranger social.


  • Rhea Music: "Deemo" (aka: "The Old Tree Melody")

This is actually an old game that has been released for five years, but for now, I have played a lot of music games, which is the best one in storytelling. A pianist named Deemo lives alone until one day a little girl descends from the sky. The player plays the song to make the old tree grow and send the little girl back. The final result is very warm, although the story itself has no highlights, but the player's efforts along the way, as well as the power of music, let the game experience and player emotions.

The style of the picture is fresh and refined, whether it is original painting or interface design; the songs included are original, and live concerts were held last year.


Due to space limitations, the remaining nine are listed in a table. These games are different from the mainstream mainstream game market, but they are unique, and some of them are completely worthy of the words “the ninth art”.


How to count fun and not addictive games?

Let's go back and see why there is a sense of "fun = addiction".

One of the most common arguments is actually born out of the game's "reward" theory. This statement can be summed up as follows: the game sets the goal, this goal is closely related to the human nature (even the inferiority); in the game process, gradually use the rewards that make the players happy, induce the player to invest more time and energy, and finally Make the company profitable.

This kind of game experience is white —— is cool. Killing is very cool, breaking the crystal is very cool; headshot is very cool, eating chicken is very cool; through the copy is very cool, get orange is very cool; PK is very cool, upgrade is cool, and so on and so on.


Is there any problem?

There is no problem at all.

Let us reiterate our point: the game is a cultural product.Sleek and entertaining is one of the good experiences that cultural products bring to consumers. We are not seen in other cultural fields —— internet cool, Hollywood blockbuster, soap opera, even short video, as long as we don’t touch the bottom line Just fine.

But the problem now is that the game that makes players happy and purely entertaining is full of dazzling.We need to promote the diversity of cultural products. If the market is purely stimulating the senses and purely entertaining products, it will not be possible.

At this time, the standard that we have emphasized above, “temperature, reflection, innovation” should be reiterated.There are three characteristics of this game: story, termination, and independence.

Story: I think that storytelling is the best way for cultural products to have certain cultural significance. Storytelling brings two results, one is narrative and the other is interpretation. For art forms such as film, literature, television, etc., consumers first enter the narrative story, and then interpret information with cultural values ​​from this narrative text.

However, in the game, narrative techniques and game interactions are often a set of contradictions —— playing games to interact with computers or other players is fun, but if you tell a story, you have to stop the player to see CG or text.

I think this contradiction is a hindrance to the art of the game, which means that the game as an art form, its artistic language is immature. Immature enough to learn from other art forms to tell my own text. But it is this contradiction, this obstacle, pointing out a path of game development —— looking for their own artistic language. The breakthrough of this road may be interactive.


Termination: A lot of games without stories are games without end points — — The most typical is Pac-Man. If the player has enough technology and the game equipment has enough life, in theory, this game can play forever. And the game like "Glory of the King", its game story and the game process are out of touch, each game can not tell a valid story, and after the end of each game means there is still the next game. Of course, it is not that these two games are not good, but the focus of these two games is not on the story, but on the game.

Simply emphasizing gameplay without emphasizing cultural narrative, the most terrible consequence is to fall into meaningless repetitive games —— mechanical play games, is not addictive.

This raises another set of questions in the academic world: the debate between the narrative school and the game school, whether the game is fun, or a complete story. In theory, these two games are good for the market, but now the narrative school has too few products and needs to be promoted to balance.


Independence: Actually speaking, the independence of the developer. Also known as the independent game developer, the concept of indie games is actually opposed to commercial games. Like the concept of independent music, it refers to the independent production without the influence of commercial funds or commercial release. Emphasize this because the indie game is not subject to commercial dip, it is easier to become a kind of gameplay, some kind of game aesthetics, a breakthrough in a certain product form — — such as "My World" "Famine" and so on. Moreover, it is the independence of such developers that makes products that are not the same as the market come out, giving consumers more and more interesting choices.


The game "fun = addiction" is actually a pseudo-proposition. There are some games in the game market that have temperature, reflection, and innovation. They are an alternative to the game industry, but to some extent, It also points to the direction in which the game industry deserves to develop.

In the current case, in order to embody emotion, reflection and innovation in the product, more mature game narratives are needed, combined with gameplay and game mechanics. This requires game products to be more story-like in terms of product characteristics, and has a certain termination in the process of product consumption. For now, independent game developers have given us a lot of inspiration.

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