Type Number 5: Heightened Emotions
What Is It? This is the one reward that is still somewhat lacking in gaming. Games have the ability to make us feel a heightened sense of emotions and in doing so produce therapeutic properties. Games have the abilities to engage all emotions: Fear, Love, Hate, Anger, Joy and more, though, due to gaming’s demographic, some emotions are more popular than others.
How is it Achieved? The reward of heightened emotions is first achieved through the reward of escape. In order to create an emotional response from a gamer a game must first involve them on a deep level, the sort of level of, say, Final Fantasy VII or Silent Hill.
Once the player is fully engaged with the story and action the game carries the player through various symbolic plot points that induce various emotions. Because the game is creating emotions in a controlled manner it is also training the player’s brain to be able to produce and dismiss various emotions at will. For more on this sense of reward, why not check out this article: How Horror Movies Cure Fear.
Hopefully, this article has shown how games developers motivate gamers to play and keep them hooked on games by creating an energised balance between action and reward. What is interesting to note is that this mechanic of gameplay is near identical to the process of creating and sustaining motivation that is used in personal development.
Next, we’ll take a look at how these basic gameplay mechanics can be applied to real life to create a heightened sense of motivation, purpose and even self esteem. First I gotta go get some exercise though!