The Psychology of Genres in Edge Magazine #241

My latest article on the psychology of video games for Edge Magazine has been published in issue #241. It’s the one with the Crysis 3 cover. In it, I explore a bit about some theories of decision making and genre usage that may clue us in on why we like the genres we like. Why…

Draw Something Uncertain

Imagine that some wealthy lunatic comes to you with an offer to choose between the following gambles in order to win five bucks: Option 1: A stock is selected at random from the Wall Street Journal. You guess whether it will go up or down tomorrow. If you’re right, you win $5. Option 2: A…

The Psychology of Avatars in Edge Magazine

I have a new article about the psychology of video game avatars in issue #240 of Edge Magazine. It’s this one: This article was a lot of fun to write. My standard operating procedure is to look at some body of psychological research or theory that has nothing to do with video games, and then…

Needs and Gratification Theory and Game Genres

Hey, do you guys watch Extra Credits? If not, you should. Each week the team there shares insightful, animated essays on topics related to video game design, culture, and business. They’re often pretty amusing, too. A few weeks ago they did a series on the difference between Western and Japanese RPGs that reminded me of…

The Psychology of Free-to-Play Games in Edge Magazine

Good news, everyone! Well, good for me and possibly good for you if you’re inclined to read Edge Magazine. Because my mutterings on the psychology of games are now appearing there. Specifically, I have an article about the psychology of free-to-play games in the latest issue (April, #239) with the cover below. The article is…

The Dunning-Kruger Effect and Multiplayer Games

Let me describe a scenario that I think we’ve all been in. You pick up a game like Gears of War 3 or Starcraft II or the deck-building iOS game Ascension. You jam through the single-player campaign or do a little comp stomping in skirmish mode –maybe even on the second-to-hardest difficulty ‘cause you’re totally…

Two Lessons From Team Fortress 2

I’ve gotten sucked back in to Team Fortress 2 (TF2) lately and taking notes of the changes that have happened since I last played. In the course of poking around the Mann Co Shop I’ve been reminded that they have some pretty smart cookies over there at Valve and I for one welcome our new…

Self-Perception Theory and Marketing through Avatars

I recently found out, via this article on Mindhacks.com, about an interesting paper by researcher Jeremy Bailenson in The Psychologist. In it, he reviews recent research on how viewing online representations of ourselves –like our avatars on the Xbox 360 or our Miis on the Nintendo Wii– can affect our behavior. He talks some about…