Author Topic: "Getting to the Heart of the Appeal of Video Games"  (Read 13023 times)

Offline glottal

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"Getting to the Heart of the Appeal of Video Games"
« on: August 03, 2011, 08:31:58 PM »
A bunch of researchers tried to find out why people like video games.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110803133553.htm

My gut feeling is that they are right, but that there is more to the appeal of video games than approaching one's ideal self.

Offline Fierce Deity

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Re: "Getting to the Heart of the Appeal of Video Games"
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2011, 09:13:46 PM »
But can they see why kids love Cinnamon Toast Crunch?
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Offline glottal

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Re: "Getting to the Heart of the Appeal of Video Games"
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2011, 09:25:29 PM »
... a combination of sugar, starch, fat, and cinnamon perhaps? (I don't know of any research done specifically on Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but I'm pretty sure that's the main reason I liked it when I was a kid).

Offline Fierce Deity

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Re: "Getting to the Heart of the Appeal of Video Games"
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2011, 10:26:04 PM »
Truthfully, if someone wants to try and understand the rationale behind the appeal of video games, then they are thinking too hard about it. It'd be like asking why people like watching movies, or why they like to read books. It's simply an outlet of the entertainment industry, and it will appeal to an audience because it entertains them. There is no rhyme or reason.
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Offline Delling

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Re: "Getting to the Heart of the Appeal of Video Games"
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2011, 05:42:19 AM »
Truthfully, if someone wants to try and understand the rationale behind the appeal of video games, then they are thinking too hard about it. It'd be like asking why people like watching movies, or why they like to read books. It's simply an outlet of the entertainment industry, and it will appeal to an audience because it entertains them. There is no rhyme or reason.
Uhm, but that's wrong! :o "It entertains them" fails to ask WHY it entertains them (the point of the study) and WHY some things entertain some people and not others (i.e.- selecting for appeal to larger demographics) is BIG business to the entertainment industry. On top of which: "it will appeal to an audience because it entertains them" is a tautology because "appeal" and "entertain" are essentially synonyms here. The syllogism of your two statements is that outlets of the entertainment industry by virtue of being outlets of the entertainment industry find an audience: by this logic, nothing would ever flop. We live in a universe in which things flop, ergo this is false. (For instance, this post is probably flopping a fair bit right now, but faulty logic annoys me so I'll sacrifice this post to combat it. :P)

I find it interesting on one level that the study concludes that people play video games as an attempt to emulate an ideal self or to seek out things to incorporate in their image of an ideal self--this latter point has been the accepted reason behind play by behavioral psychologists studying young children for decades! ...which is the other level on which the study is interesting: it doesn't actually tell us anything NEW that we couldn't reach by simple deduction from pre-existing studies of other forms of play: humans play and roleplay to try out different behaviors, independent of age or type of play.
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Offline Baggins

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Re: "Getting to the Heart of the Appeal of Video Games"
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2011, 07:55:35 AM »
Shouldn't they also be asking what is the appeal of games in general?

Why play board games, why play pen and paper RPGs, why play solitaire games? Why did people play live action war games and reenactments, what about sports, charades, etc?

Is there only one answer?

Video games are are really just an evolution out of old time pastimes before there was technology. People have been playing games for thousands of years!

One other aspect this study doesn't touch on is that games  and sports often release endorphins, so there is a certain level of energizing, even improvements to mental acuity, or to some it may even be addictive! But it means playing games in general 'feels good'!
« Last Edit: August 04, 2011, 08:05:36 AM by Baggins »
Well, ya, King's Quest is on Earth. Daventry is very old city from a long time ago. It's in ruins now and people aren't quite sure exactly where it used to be. There are some archaeologists searching through the ruins, they think they know its Daventry. But its somewhere on Earth."-Roberta Williams http://kingsquest.wikia.com/wiki/File:Daventryisearth.ogg

Offline Fierce Deity

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Re: "Getting to the Heart of the Appeal of Video Games"
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2011, 09:17:08 AM »
Truthfully, if someone wants to try and understand the rationale behind the appeal of video games, then they are thinking too hard about it. It'd be like asking why people like watching movies, or why they like to read books. It's simply an outlet of the entertainment industry, and it will appeal to an audience because it entertains them. There is no rhyme or reason.
Uhm, but that's wrong! :o "It entertains them" fails to ask WHY it entertains them (the point of the study) and WHY some things entertain some people and not others (i.e.- selecting for appeal to larger demographics) is BIG business to the entertainment industry. On top of which: "it will appeal to an audience because it entertains them" is a tautology because "appeal" and "entertain" are essentially synonyms here. The syllogism of your two statements is that outlets of the entertainment industry by virtue of being outlets of the entertainment industry find an audience: by this logic, nothing would ever flop. We live in a universe in which things flop, ergo this is false. (For instance, this post is probably flopping a fair bit right now, but faulty logic annoys me so I'll sacrifice this post to combat it. :P)

I find it interesting on one level that the study concludes that people play video games as an attempt to emulate an ideal self or to seek out things to incorporate in their image of an ideal self--this latter point has been the accepted reason behind play by behavioral psychologists studying young children for decades! ...which is the other level on which the study is interesting: it doesn't actually tell us anything NEW that we couldn't reach by simple deduction from pre-existing studies of other forms of play: humans play and roleplay to try out different behaviors, independent of age or type of play.

I'm not really arguing, or debating over the topic. I think the point of the article is not reaching an actual conclusion. It's trying to find a reason for something that doesn't need a reason. For instance, look at Baggins post:

Shouldn't they also be asking what is the appeal of games in general?

Why play board games, why play pen and paper RPGs, why play solitaire games? Why did people play live action war games and reenactments, what about sports, charades, etc?

Is there only one answer?

Video games are are really just an evolution out of old time pastimes before there was technology. People have been playing games for thousands of years!

One other aspect this study doesn't touch on is that games  and sports often release endorphins, so there is a certain level of energizing, even improvements to mental acuity, or to some it may even be addictive! But it means playing games in general 'feels good'!

There isn't only one answer to why games are fun, and there could be infinitely many reasons why people like video games. To vent anger? To relieve stress? To role-play? To compete? To cooperate? It all depends on what the player wants out of the game. Playing a game yields no purpose in life, it's simply there for entertainment. I understand what I said when I was using the synonyms "appeal" and "entertain", and I don't retract my statement at all. It perfectly explains why games are there. Why do people read articles? Why do they watch the news? Why do they listen to music? What makes these things so important? If by now, the world is engrossed with this concept, then it complicates what shouldn't be complicated. I like to think philosophically as much as the next guy, but I choose to not question the purpose of media. The media has been around for ages, and it's there to entertain and keep people busy. That is truly the most basic principle that the media serves. I'll say it again, there is no reason why video games entertain people, they just do.
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Offline Baggins

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Re: "Getting to the Heart of the Appeal of Video Games"
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2011, 09:35:20 AM »
I'm sorry to say that I think this study is rather shallow, and has a weak premise... It's almost like they had a preconceived idea, and then went out to prove it! Without looking at all the other factors. Picking and choosing data that would support their premise. It tries force square peg into a round hole.

I think it very well might be a waste of research money!

Delling pretty much hit on the nail with this comment;
Quote
it doesn't actually tell us anything NEW that we couldn't reach by simple deduction from pre-existing studies of other forms of play: humans play and roleplay to try out different behaviors, independent of age or type of play.

What was the point?

Quote
Playing a game yields no purpose in life, it's simply there for entertainment.
Entertainment actually serves a purpose in life though. All work and no play makes jack a dull boy, or go something something! What it serves in life for each person may vary however! Like you pointed out it may be a stress reliever, an escape, or just to allow the mind to unwind (get off other thoughts), etc. These are not all mutually  exclusive and overlap.

Quote
I choose to not question the purpose of media. The media has been around for ages, and it's there to entertain and keep people busy. That is truly the most basic principle that the media serves. I'll say it again, there is no reason why video games entertain people, they just do.

Actually the purpose of the media is two fold, to entertain or to inform (educuate, illustrate, communicate).

In the latter purpose, it may not be 'entertaining'. Something that is 'entertaining' may not be informative! But sometimes they meet in the middle!

In addition media may be or contain some form of propaganda (for good or bad, its not black and white), used to indoctrinate the audience into different viewpoints. This generally falls under the 'inform' category, but could be inserted into the 'entertainment' category as well. Both are not mutually exclusive. In this situation, its not just a matter of 'teaching' new things , but also to change your audience, mold them with new beliefs and feelings.

There are probably other categories I'm overlooking. It's been awhile since I've read up on media theory.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2011, 09:44:04 AM by Baggins »
Well, ya, King's Quest is on Earth. Daventry is very old city from a long time ago. It's in ruins now and people aren't quite sure exactly where it used to be. There are some archaeologists searching through the ruins, they think they know its Daventry. But its somewhere on Earth."-Roberta Williams http://kingsquest.wikia.com/wiki/File:Daventryisearth.ogg

Offline Fierce Deity

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Re: "Getting to the Heart of the Appeal of Video Games"
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2011, 10:31:48 AM »
Quote
Playing a game yields no purpose in life, it's simply there for entertainment.
Entertainment actually serves a purpose in life though. All work and no play makes jack a dull boy, or go something something! What it serves in life for each person may vary however! Like you pointed out it may be a stress reliever, an escape, or just to allow the mind to unwind (get off other thoughts), etc. These are not all mutually  exclusive and overlap.

Indeed, the media has a purpose in life, but like you had pointed out, the reasons I had suggested are so personal, that it can't be considered valid data for research. It's too broad of a topic to try and narrow down truths. That's why I tried to just chalk it up to it being "entertainment".

Quote
I choose to not question the purpose of media. The media has been around for ages, and it's there to entertain and keep people busy. That is truly the most basic principle that the media serves. I'll say it again, there is no reason why video games entertain people, they just do.

Actually the purpose of the media is two fold, to entertain or to inform (educuate, illustrate, communicate).

In the latter purpose, it may not be 'entertaining'. Something that is 'entertaining' may not be informative! But sometimes they meet in the middle!

In addition media may be or contain some form of propaganda (for good or bad, its not black and white), used to indoctrinate the audience into different viewpoints. This generally falls under the 'inform' category, but could be inserted into the 'entertainment' category as well. Both are not mutually exclusive. In this situation, its not just a matter of 'teaching' new things , but also to change your audience, mold them with new beliefs and feelings.

There are probably other categories I'm overlooking. It's been awhile since I've read up on media theory.

I agree, but I was trying to simplify my answer without changing the topic at hand. But you are absolutely right, the media also informs, but information can also be falsified accounts from tabloids (such as The National Enquirer and the like). I think the tabloids are a perfect example of that grey area between entertainment and information. I do find it to be borderline ridicule though. Whatever the case, the media is there for our leisure, and I feel like it'd be too zealous of the researchers to try and find the means behind its appeal. It's appeal is very apparent, and shouldn't have to be complicated.
Freudian Slip - "When you say one thing, but mean your mother."

Offline Baggins

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Re: "Getting to the Heart of the Appeal of Video Games"
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2011, 10:45:45 AM »
As a researcher, I take anything from the media with a grain of salt. I question everything, and check out opposing and alternate viewpoints, and make my own conclusions based on the evidence. I may start with a hypothesis, but it may be  proven wrong as I acquire more evidence! But that's another subject for another day (except that it does at least points back to how a proper study should be followed)!  
« Last Edit: August 04, 2011, 10:58:12 AM by Baggins »
Well, ya, King's Quest is on Earth. Daventry is very old city from a long time ago. It's in ruins now and people aren't quite sure exactly where it used to be. There are some archaeologists searching through the ruins, they think they know its Daventry. But its somewhere on Earth."-Roberta Williams http://kingsquest.wikia.com/wiki/File:Daventryisearth.ogg

Offline snabbott

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Re: "Getting to the Heart of the Appeal of Video Games"
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2011, 11:11:04 AM »
As a researcher, you have to take pretty much everything with a grain of salt (but some things more so than others). Even data from "reliable" sources can be unconsciously biased by the researchers'/reporters' preconceptions.

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Offline Baggins

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Re: "Getting to the Heart of the Appeal of Video Games"
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2011, 11:21:17 AM »
Exactly! The source of bias may also come from who is supporting the research in the first place, i.e. who is giving the grant money.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2011, 11:28:23 AM by Baggins »
Well, ya, King's Quest is on Earth. Daventry is very old city from a long time ago. It's in ruins now and people aren't quite sure exactly where it used to be. There are some archaeologists searching through the ruins, they think they know its Daventry. But its somewhere on Earth."-Roberta Williams http://kingsquest.wikia.com/wiki/File:Daventryisearth.ogg

Offline Fierce Deity

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Re: "Getting to the Heart of the Appeal of Video Games"
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2011, 11:32:41 AM »
Exactly! Bias may also come from who is giving the grant money to support the various studies!

It's a sad truth, and in some cases a necessary evil. Not only will a researcher have to take information with a grain of salt, but so will the masses.
Freudian Slip - "When you say one thing, but mean your mother."

Offline Baggins

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Re: "Getting to the Heart of the Appeal of Video Games"
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2011, 11:37:21 AM »
I think its a good thing if the masses are willing to question research! It means they are more capable of thinking for themselves, and possibly coming up with newer and better hypotheses, maybe improve on previous theories! Science is never settled, and if someone claims it is, they have totally drop kicked the scientific method!

People should be inquisitive and curious, willing to come up with new ideas, innovations, etc!

Note that there is a difference between questioning and total denial and cynicism!

There are cases where someone may disagree with a researcher's analysis of the data, and may even think that same data may even support a different outcome or interpretation! So even if the one disagrees with the researchers analysis, it may still prove to have content useful for supporting alternative hypothesies! Nothing is is necessarily set in stone with a single interpretation!

It's also important to understand that everyone has some sort of bias of some sort! It is impossible to be completely objective! That's why its good to look at as many points of view as possible, and then at least try to make your own informed analysis!
« Last Edit: August 04, 2011, 12:13:34 PM by Baggins »
Well, ya, King's Quest is on Earth. Daventry is very old city from a long time ago. It's in ruins now and people aren't quite sure exactly where it used to be. There are some archaeologists searching through the ruins, they think they know its Daventry. But its somewhere on Earth."-Roberta Williams http://kingsquest.wikia.com/wiki/File:Daventryisearth.ogg

Offline dark-daventry

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Re: "Getting to the Heart of the Appeal of Video Games"
« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2011, 01:22:31 PM »
I'll tell you my personal reasons as to why video games appeal to me. Again, these are my reasons, and don't necessarily reflect every gamer. The appeal to me is the fact that in a lot of games I can do things I simply can't do in real life; in The Legend of Zelda, I get to experience wielding a mystical sword and defeating a great evil, all the while having an annoying little fairy hover over EVERY LITTLE DETAIL! SHUT UP, NAVI!!!! ahem... In Grand Theft Auto, I'm able to vent my frustration with life by committing virtual acts of violence and getting away scott-free. that saves me from blowing my fuse in real-life. In King's Quest, I get to experience a time long since passed, with magic and adventure. Video games appeal to me because I can do things in them that i can't do in real life; especially because they're interactive. When you see a movie, it's like looking through a window into another world. When you play a video game, you actually enter that world; you *become* the main character. Maybe I'm the only one whom this rings true for.
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Offline snabbott

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Re: "Getting to the Heart of the Appeal of Video Games"
« Reply #15 on: August 04, 2011, 03:22:41 PM »
I think its a good thing if the masses are willing to question research! It means they are more capable of thinking for themselves, and possibly coming up with newer and better hypotheses, maybe improve on previous theories!
Sadly, it seems like the masses will generally only question research if it goes against their own preconceived notions. :-\

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Offline Blackthorne

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Re: "Getting to the Heart of the Appeal of Video Games"
« Reply #16 on: August 04, 2011, 04:57:43 PM »
Sometimes, there is such a think as thinking TOO much about something.

Video games are fun.  Do we need a needlessly complex reason as to WHY they are?  Even if we had it, people would use the information to try and create video games that were "more appealing" and they'd create pure crap doing it.

Somethings do better without the explanation.  Sometimes it's better not to know why, but just to do.



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Offline Fierce Deity

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Re: "Getting to the Heart of the Appeal of Video Games"
« Reply #17 on: August 04, 2011, 05:19:29 PM »
I think its a good thing if the masses are willing to question research! It means they are more capable of thinking for themselves, and possibly coming up with newer and better hypotheses, maybe improve on previous theories!
Sadly, it seems like the masses will generally only question research if it goes against their own preconceived notions. :-\

Oh, most definitely. Couldn't agree more. This goes hand in hand with the bias of the researcher. Everybody would have to be unbiased to question research (properly anyway). However, most people will allow their convoluted opinions get in the way of a fair judgement. For the sake of discussion, let's say somebody was firmly against abortions. Would they be able to take stem cell research seriously? Sure, he'll question it, but he'll also be negatively drawn towards comprising a retort against the research. Thus, the research would never please his expectations. It's difficult for people to get past their own bias, much less accept the perspective of someone else.
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Offline Baggins

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Re: "Getting to the Heart of the Appeal of Video Games"
« Reply #18 on: August 04, 2011, 06:13:05 PM »
Quote
Sometimes, there is such a think as thinking TOO much about something.

Video games are fun.  Do we need a needlessly complex reason as to WHY they are?  Even if we had it, people would use the information to try and create video games that were "more appealing" and they'd create pure crap doing it.

Somethings do better without the explanation.  Sometimes it's better not to know why, but just to do.

Oh I wish it were true that all video games are 'fun'! Some developers just don't get it!
Well, ya, King's Quest is on Earth. Daventry is very old city from a long time ago. It's in ruins now and people aren't quite sure exactly where it used to be. There are some archaeologists searching through the ruins, they think they know its Daventry. But its somewhere on Earth."-Roberta Williams http://kingsquest.wikia.com/wiki/File:Daventryisearth.ogg

Offline MusicallyInspired

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Re: "Getting to the Heart of the Appeal of Video Games"
« Reply #19 on: August 04, 2011, 08:10:00 PM »
No idea why everyone singles out video games all the time. Games are games. Video games are just the electronic form. Even those old hand-held single-triple-A-battery-powered Sea Battle games from Radio Shack back in the late 80s are video games. It's no different than a board game or some puzzle or card game. It's interactive and it stimulates the brain. Everyone's different and enjoys different stimulations.

/thread