Getting Gamers : The Psychology of Video Games and Their Impact on the People who Play Them
With sales in the tens of billions of dollars each year, just about everybody is playing some kind of video game whether it's on a console, a computer, a web browser, or a phone. Much of the medium's success is built on careful (though sometimes unwitting) adherence to basic principles of psychology. This is something that's becoming even more important as games become more social, interactive, and sophisticated. This book offers something unique to the millions of people who play or design games: how to use an understanding of psychology to be a better part of their gaming communities, to avoid being manipulated when they shop and play, and to get the most enjoyment out of playing games. With examples from the games themselves, Jamie Madigan offers a fuller understanding of the impact of games on our psychology and the influence of psychology on our games.
- Hardback | 320 pages
- 158 x 238 x 27mm | 626g
- 16 Dec 2015
- Rowman & Littlefield
- Lanham, MD, United States
Table of contents
1: Why Do Perfectly Normal People Become Raving Lunatics Online?
2: Why Do People Cheat, Hack, and Peek at Strategy Guides?
3: Why Are Fanboys and Fangirls So Ready for a Fight?
4: Why Do We Get Nostalgic About Good Old Games?
5: How Do Games Get Us to Keep Score and Compete?
6: How Do Games Get Us to Grind, Complete Side Quests, and Chase Achievements?
7: How Do Developers Keep Us So Excited About New Loot?
8: How Do Games Make Us Feel Immersed in Imaginary Worlds?
9: Why Do We Go Crazy for Digital Game Sales?
10: How Do Facebook Games and Smartphone Apps Get You With In-Game Purchases?
11: How Do Games Keep Players Paying?
12: How Do Games Get Players to Market to Each Other?
13: Do We Shape Our In-Game Avatars or Do They Shape Us?
14: Why Do We Like Violent Games So Much? And Should We Be Worried That We Do?
15: Do Video Games Make You Smarter?
Outroduction: Where Do Psychology and Video Games Go From Here?
Summing Up: Essential. All readers. * CHOICE * I love a book that has a great opening sentence. Getting Gamers opens with 'The history of video games started in a small Norwegian village during the 1680's when a precocious young fisherman names Billy 'SadPanda42' Jackson created Call of Duty 3 out of sticks and moxie.' That, my friends, is a great opening sentence. Not only can Madigan write a good opener, he gets better as he goes. He takes complex concepts such as 'deindividuation' or 'spacial presence' and make them easily understandable. More than just understandable, but relatable. Using examples from casual games to intensely committed game fans, he shows the influence that the psychology behind the games can exert. . . .As a teacher, these concepts are [fascinating to] me. . . .[I]t has a wealth of ideas and concepts that teachers and administrators should be embracing to change the landscape of education for the better. * Making The Awesome: A Blog About Life, Education and Everything * Cognitive dissonance theory, social comparison theory, social identity theory, social learning theory, self-determination theory, self-perception theory, self-categorization theory, deindividuation, priming, psychological reactance, emotional contagion, Asch phenomenon, law of diminishing sensitivity, loss aversion bias, status quo bias, benign versus malicious envy, ego depletion, variable schedules of reinforcement, big-fish-little-pond effect, anchoring effect, Dunning-Kruger effect, and reciprocity effect, Zeigarnik effect. If you took Psychology 101 in college you no doubt recognize at least a few of these terms, and if you followed that up with a mid level course in social psychology you may recognize most of them. Jamie Madigan defines and uses all of these terms, quite appropriately, in his delightful book, Getting Gamers.... If you are a video gamer, the book's insights may help you appreciate the games all the more; help you become more rational in your choices of games and manner of playing them; and make you less likely to fall for gimmicks designed to part you from your hard-earned, real-world money or trap you into game routines that are ultimately more tedious than fun.... If you are a student or would-be student of psychology, you will find here accurate, fun-to-read descriptions of basic psychological theories, principles, and research findings, along with their applications to video games. Although this is a serious, thoughtful, well-researched book, it is written in a refreshingly breezy, often humorous style. * American Journal of Play * Jamie takes us as deep into the minds of gamers as is possible without a scalpel. It's a fascinating and essential read. -- Nir Eyal, author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products Jamie Madigan's fascinating exploration of the psychology of gaming blends provocative research findings with lively anecdotes and witty prose. It is accessible, insightful, and a must-read for gamers and game designers. -- Nick Yee, author of The Proteus Paradox: How Online Games and Virtual Worlds Change Us--And How They Don't Madigan repackages research from familiar names in behavioral psychology such as Dan Ariely, Drazen Prelec, Amos Tversky, and Daniel Kahneman, into delightful, yet thought-provoking anecdotes that seek to understand and explain how psychology affects the world of games. His easy-to-read style and liberally-sprinkled humorous asides makes what could have been a dry, academic tome into a page-turner. Whether you are a game developer or game player, you will likely come away second-guessing pretty much everything about how and why we play! -- Dave Mark, President and Lead Designer, Intrinsic Algorithm For those interested in the interplay between the science of the mind and the science of game design, there is no better place to begin than with this book. -- Mike Ambinder, PhD, Experimental Psychologist, Valve Corporation Jamie Madigan has put together something fun, engaging, and seriously interesting, and not just for people who love games, but for people who wonder why we can be so weird online or inside our social media. I guarantee you will come away from this book with not only a better understanding of human behavior, but with advice on how to apply the latest research in your own life and profession. Madigan exposes how game designers have solved so many of the behavioral problems we see in other domains, and what you learn about their process will no doubt be useful in yours. Madigan's lively, quirky approach to the topic is sure to provide fresh insights, even if you've read a psychology book or two. Whether it is exploring immersion, grinding, why we cheat, why we lob insults, or how freemium games subtly guide our hands toward our wallets, Madigan wonderfully explains in detail the deeper phenomena at play. -- David McRaney, author of You Are Not So Smart and You Are Now Less Dumb and host of the You Are Not So Smart Podcast For years now, Jamie Madigan has served as the unofficial psychologist of the games industry. If you want to understand how human behavior and games interact, this is the book for you. -- Ian Bogost, Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology
About Jamie Madigan