The Player’s Journey


Yesterday I wrote about games as pleasurable learning engines that offer up skills to master, and reward you with ever-greater challenges & opportunities. Progress metrics like points, badges, and levels are icing on this learning/mastery cake. They help you gauge … [Read more]

What makes games compelling?


What is it about games that holds our interest and keeps us playing? Games are compelling in so many ways; they can make our progress visible unlock new content, experience and powers connect us socially to people we care about offer intellectual, sensory and … [Read more]

Radical Inclusiveness: Reflections on #GDC14


Last weekend, we visited Glide Memorial Church with our shul, Peninsula Temple Sholom. Glide in an amazing institution - their message of radical inclusiveness was woven into every aspect of the service, and volunteers were actively signing up people for Covered … [Read more]

A game developer speaks


"I definitely want to be a part of VR, but I will not work with Facebook. Their motives are too unclear and shifting, and they haven’t historically been a stable platform. There’s nothing about their history that makes me trust them, and that makes them seem creepy to … [Read more]

Lifecycle Design and Performing Arts Camp


We just signed up for our 7th trip at Cazerdero Family Performing Arts Camp. In early August, we'll make our yearly pilgrimage to a majestic Redwood grove near the Russian River, and setup camp with dozens of other creative-minded families. We'll spend our days playing … [Read more]

#GDC14 starts this week

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It's here! Today kicks off the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco -- a yearly "gathering of the tribe" AKA the wacky, creative, super-smart people that devote their lives to making games. I'm looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones. Ping me if … [Read more]

Tapping the Trinity of Instrinsic Motivation


Recently I wrote about why you shouldn't rely on Extrinsic Motivation to drive lasting engagement. So if that's off the table... what CAN you do? What's the secret? Simple. To create a truly compelling experience, tap into the Trinity  of Intrinsic Motivation: … [Read more]

Game Design and Extrinsic Motivation


In 2007, I gave a talk at O'Eilly's Emerging Technology conference called Putting the Fun in Functional. In this talk, I identified five game techniques driving successful social media properties, and outlined how websites could become more gamelike by incorporating … [Read more]

DIY: Create Your Social Action Matrix

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After much experimentation, I developed my Social Action Matrix - a tool to identify the core social activities that MOTIVATE your players. This model is inspired by personality quizzes and player types, but focused around VERBS AND ACTIONS rather than human … [Read more]

Beyond Player Types: Kim’s Social Action Matrix

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Human nature is complex - and personality types are convenient simplifications. that help us understand people's different temperaments, motivations and social styles. Like many game designers, I’ve found Bartle’s Player Types useful, especially for MMOs and online … [Read more]