Jason Pook's Games Design Blog

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Jenga- Game Theory

Jenga is a tabletop game which requires skill physically and mentally, it was created by Leslie Scott in 1983 through a game that had she had played with her family in the 1970’s. The rules of jenga are that you have a set of 54 blocks, stacked 3 across each time rotated when piling up. This creates the Jenga structure, from that then each player is to remove a block at a time and place it on top of the structure, with each move the structure gets taller and loses stability. This requires alot of physical skill in patience, control and balance accompanied by mental skill of judgement, composure and resilience. To end the game the structure will fall over and whoever it was that made it fall over is the loser of the game, you them rebuild and that player is eliminated until a winner is determined.


Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi’s theory of flow applies to jenga when you are playing its been going on for a while so the tower is high but you have the skill to remove another block. Jenga covers most of the flow chart just like Tetris, it gets harder as the game goes on with each block that rises there are less and less options to take a piece without knocking the structure over.


You begin in any area jenga is never easy the game can be over in the first block if you dont have the hand stability and control to remove a piece, most would start in control as the challenge level is in the middle and everyone should have high skill at the start to be able to remove a piece. Whilst you play though and it gets far on the immersion can emotionally drive you crazy, begging for the tower to fall over on your opponent so it doesn’t come back round to you, that’s the thing soon as you have taken your move you worried its coming back around the tension to keep composure on your turn combined with the wait for your turn if people take time makes for an immersive experience.

Categories of Play:

For Roger Caillois’s ‘categories of play’ Jenga would fall under primarily ‘Agon’. Agon is games of competition, with Jenga you are competing against other players to try survive your turn and place your block carefully on top to build the structure, the goal is not to be the person who makes the wrong move and collapses the statue as then you are eliminated as the loser.

It also falls under ‘Alea’. Alea is games of chance, in Jenga sometimes you slowly wriggle out that seemingly impossible block with a sweat on your brow to place it on the top, the structure wobbles a bit and you call for everyone not to move. There is a chance you go for the wrong block and have to move it as you have touched it dependent on the rules (I normally play a feel is alright but push and you have to move it), also the chance other people make a mistake and not you could keep you in the game when you know you will struggle on your next move.

Bartle Test:

To link this into Bartle’s test which defines you as a player through a series of questions this type of game being puzzle based and score based would appeal more to an ‘achiever’ style of player rather than the others due to the achiever always wants to win, in jenga the only goal is to survive and hope the other players knock over the structure before your turn. Other than that the categories of players cant apply to jenga.

When we played Jenga in the studio it was arguably the greatest game of jenga I had ever witnessed, the tower just kept going and going on the first round Me, Barrie, Rinalds and Phil wasn’t letting up. Rinalds pulled off some things I didnt think was from this universe he must have manipulated physics to make that structure balance but it worked, this was similar through every game we was all somehow masters of jenga and control the final game was myself and Rinalds, seeing what he had done it felt optimistic that I would have any chance he appeared to be raised in a school and purely taught jenga. But after grueling turn after turn he made a mistake and I won, the euphoria was uncontrollable. This clearly can be a game for fun or serious competition, we started the exercise to analyse the game for game theory and then it turned into a serious competition which was almost hysterical at times as we had no clue how the game could continue. The level of flow and immersion in the jenga game when it was at this stage of anxiety and unknown when it would go was a psychoanalytically available to analyse our behaviors. Jenga allows the player to engage in mental and physical challenges as the difficulty increases the emotional reactions to the game increase with it, this could both effect the player positively or negatively it could overwhelm them into making a mistake by panicking on their turn or motivate them further to win the session.

Here is an example of the emotional reactions towards an insane move on Jenga:

As you can see after performing this crazy move the lady celebrates in disbelief the emotional reaction to completing a move in this game is there with every move which makes it a great immersive and re-playable game.

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Chess- Game Theory


Moving onto board games I played Chess. Chess is a two player strategy board game in which the objective is use your pieces to attack the opponent with the goal of placed the opponents king in checkmate. Check mate is when the king is in a position where it cannot be moved into a safe place or blocked by any other piece, you can put the king in ‘check’ at any point but its only check mate if the check cannot be stopped.


Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi’s theory of flow applies to Chess as the tactical board game requires alot of planning, tactics and intelligence to dominate the board. In a game where both opponents are highly skilled that is when flow occurs, chess will always vary in the flow chart purely dependent on the opponents skill level. If the opponent or yourself is a beginner to the game and is unaware of the rules of the game and the individual piece rules then the requirement to teach them to play will have you or your opponent relaxed until they improve their abilities. My experience in chess is high as I have played it majority of my life and actually won a chess club tournament a few times at junior school, so when I came up against Brad who claimed to be also highly skilled in chess due to his strategies in the game it induced flow, this turned into control mid way through as he unknowingly was forced into a mistake costing him his queen and from that point I never let up and won. Flow continued into my next opponent which was my tutor Paul who is a experienced chess player, this was a much closer game but I eventually got him in check mate.


Categories of Play:

For Roger Caillois’s ‘categories of play’ Chess would fall under primarily ‘Agon’. Agon is games of competition, in Chess it is a 2 player game so you are competing against the other player at all times wanting to be more strategic than them to win the game.

It also falls under ‘Alea’. Alea is games of chance, Chess can fall into chance dependent on if the opponent makes a mistake in the game. Rules of Chess state that one you have let go of your piece if its been moved that is the end of your turn, so if someone makes a move lets go then realises the mistake its too late. So chance can play a part but personally id say its all technical ability.

Bartle Test:

To link this into Bartle’s test which defines you as a player through a series of questions this type of game being strategy based board game is more an ‘achiever’ style of player rather than the others due to the achiever always wants to win, in chess your aim is to place the opponent in check mate or force them into forfeit on impending defeat.

Killer can also apply, Chess is a strategy game to simulate a war field its your army of pieces against your opponents on a battlefield, the way to win is to be the more strategic player by defeating your opponents pieces then eventually the king. By taking an opponents piece to attack their ranks is an offensive strategy a killer would employ.

Socialiser can also apply due to the game being a 2 player activity. Chess is now also a sport hosting big tournaments and a world championship so social presence comes into it if you go professional, otherwise its a social experience between you and another player if challenged to a game of chess.

Chess for me immerses you in the chessboard, even when its not your turn your constantly thinking a few steps ahead planning how you can take your opponent down with various strategies. Personally I like to use my line of pawns as a line of defense but due to the movement of the Jacks and Knights they are available to get out from behind the line of pawns if I should so chose, this allows an offensive but still defensive method of play. I find chess mentally simulating as it tests me and my intelligence in one versus one basis through strategies, this passion for chess and being a constant game in my life since being young has had an effect on other games I enjoy today, like Sid Meier’s Civilisation series.


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SSX- Game Theory


SSX is a snowboarding game which required you to race whilst pulling off tricks, the main part of the game is the tricks as you gain boost and amount high scores through landing the tricks. It was released in 2012 by Electronic Arts (EA) for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 as the latest addition to the SSX series. It features single and multiplayer online, so online leaderboards and co operative trick races etc could be done to compete against eachother.


Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi’s theory of flow applies to SSX through score and skill, In SSX you have to use skill, timing and control to pull off the jumps, grinds and tricks to the highest of quality and gain large scores, the more combinations of tricks you landed it would fill up your “Tricky” meter and once this was full you would activate in when you wanted to pull of your characters most ridiculous stunt for massive score. To achieve flow it required alot of practice, the skills were performed by a combination of precise analog stick movements and buttons this wasn’t picked up easily as alot of memory was needed. Otherwise you was just doing your best you could by randomly attacking your controller to see what happened. When you was on a big downhill mountain with alot of jumps and grinds and you could pull off your best tricks (different ones each time as otherwise your score was knocked for being repetitive) then you really enjoyed the game and hit the big scores.


To link to the diagram for SSX one game mode was a deadly descent now this would involve the most dangerous snowboarding downhills possible it had a different theme each time such as trees, rocks and darkness” some would require flying with wing-suits to get over huge chasms in the mountains. Every time I played these it Anxiety, I had high skill level on the game but when it came to a deadly descent you never knew what was coming and if you switch off at any point it was over and restart the drop. Soon as you reached the bottom the sense of achievement overwhelmed you as it was done, over and you had won through skill, luck, and persistence most of the time from failing. Then flow would occur on your favourite downhill where you knew how to hit the big scores but wanted to beat your previous 64 million score as your friend ad just text you his 66 million score.

Categories of Play:

For Roger Caillois’s ‘categories of play’ SSX would fall under primarily ‘Agon’. Agon is games of competition, Your goal in the game is to go down the mountains to gain as much score as possible through tricks and be awarded with medals for your efforts, this would give you credits to buy better gear and improve your downhill performances. Also the online multiplayer allowed you to race against other players or friends to get to the finish line but you had to do this in style as boost only came with completed tricks otherwise you would be slow, then the leaderboards visible to see how your friends did on that particular single player mountain would want you to beat their score or even boost your own so they have no chance.

It also falls under ‘Alea’. Alea is games of chance, on the deadly descents as I explained it required alot of skill to time jumps and avoid obstacles but you never knew what was coming around the corner, when its hundreds of trees and your just hoping to make it through without being knocked of your board and restarting.

Illinx can be applied in the boost feature or damage. Illinx games of vertigo/ confusion, when you boosted it blurred the screen around you distorting your vision, then if you landed a stunt badly or hit an object your screen would flash red as if you was hurt. Also on one deadly descent if you stayed in the shadows too long you was too cold and your screen would freeze over distorting vision more and more until you failed as your character had frozen to death.

Bartle Test:

To link this into Bartle’s test which defines you as a player through a series of questions this type of game being score/skill based it would appeal more to an ‘achiever’ style of player rather than the others due to the achiever always wants to win. You always want to win the race but to do that you must also do it with tricks in style to gain boost and score. The added multiplayer features increase competition through leaderboards and co operative play.

‘Socialiser’ also applies as the game is multiplayer, mainly through the leaderboard system that compares your scores to your friends or the world if you change the settings. You are trying to achieve but also scoialising with other people by submitting a score or time to a mountain track.

SSX has always been one of my favourite games, despite the tricks being rather gravity defying and unrealistic the game is simply awesome. The challenge of learning the tricks to maximise player experience and achievement is the type of game I get fully immersed in, when it required time to learn and master the game its always rewarding for me to complete the game. Currently I no longer own SSX due to selling it to a friend but after replaying it for Game Theory I will be reinvesting in a very good game.

Here is some gameplay of SSX with all the features I have explaining with tricks, racing and score from GameSpot’s YouTube channel:

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Mario Kart 64- Game Theory


Mario Kart 64 is a racing game developed by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64 console as the latest addition to iconic character Mario’s list of games. The game is multiplayer compatible so you can play with your friends on your Nintendo 64 console if you had extra controllers through split-screen. You could play as 8 playable characters from previous Mario games Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Toad, Yoshi, Bowser, Wario and Donkey Kong.


Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi’s theory of flow applies to Mario Kart 64 through racing, when you race you want to win to be first place in every race is the main target for any gamer. To finish 2nd or 3rd and be presented on a podium with a silver or bronze is only a downgrade from what you really wanted that ultimate racer 1st place. To race in the game it requires you to drive around 1 of 16 circuit tracks which have obstacles, corners and pick ups (weapons or power ups), you have to be focused on the game to overcome any challenges you are presented with whilst on the track. Personally for me to achieve flow in mario kart whilst racing against 3 other students we was on Rainbow road the hardest track on the game with opportunities to fall off the track and lose position on nearly every corner, control of your kart is difficult and needs high skill for the challenge. This is to be repeated for 3 laps whilst other players fire shells at you leave banana’s on the track and so on, winning this race was a proud moment for me i felt in flow throughout the race and nothing was going to get in my way of my 1st place goal.


To link to the diagram for Mario Kart when you are losing or keep getting hit by everything coming near you, it loses your want to play the game you enter apathy as you feel rubbish at the game but dont feel you should be in the position you are so its not like the game is hard. Or you could be racing against people in your group claiming to be mario kart 64 professionals on the hardest track and beat them to win the race entering flow throughout (that was me against Barrie).

Categories of Play:

For Roger Caillois’s ‘categories of play’ Mario Kart 64 would fall under primarily ‘Agon’. Agon is games of competition, with Mario Kart 64 you are playing to win the race or beat your best times. The added feature of muliplayer interactivity in this game adds to the competition as you want to beat your friends. There are in game cups to add to the competition as you want to win the championships in your kart to prove you are the best racer by completing the game.

It also falls under ‘Alea’. Alea is games of chance, with Mario Kart 64 chance is a big part. One corner a banana may have been left but you serve round it to see a red shell coming for you (homing missile) but it hits the banana, this is one of many examples first place may get hit by a blue shell (homing missile just for 1st place) before the finish line and you take the lead.

Mimicry also applies as Mario is a fantasy character and you race in Mario’s fantasy world and settings which the circuits are based on, you play as the avatar you select in the race to experience this fantasy world.

Bartle Test:

To link this into Bartle’s test which defines you as a player through a series of questions this type of game being puzzle based and score based would appeal more to an ‘achiever’ style of player rather than the others due to the achiever always wants to win. You always want to win the race or the championship either against the computer or your friends so achieving that is your aim.

‘Socialiser’ also applies when muliplayer gameplay comes into it as you are racing with your friends or family around the circuits, this can be an enjoyable experience which can also cause bonding or the opposite as you hit your Dad with that red shell on the final corner to the take the win and he storms off as “you didn’t deserve it”.

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Pac-Man-Game Theory


Pac-man is an arcade game that was developed by Namco and released in 1980. Pac-man is a little yellow circle with a segment missing (mouth) which believe it or not was a design from a pizza with a slice taken out. Pac-man runs around a maze to pick up as many of the dots as possible whilst avoiding the ghosts (Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde). If you get caught by any of them pac-man dies and you lose a life, once all your lives are gone the game is over and your score from how many dots you collected is revealed.


Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi’s theory of flow applies to pac-man as the arcade game requires the player to deal with collecting dots whilst navigating around the maze quickly or intelligently to avoid the enemies, If you eat a big dot you can then eat an enemy but only for a limited amount of time as they return to the ghost enclosure to come back to get you again. The aim is to collect all the dots and gain as many points as possible, the difficulty is the same but you can get yourself into difficult situations where the ghosts are closing in on you and your reactions really have to be sharp to get away otherwise its a life lost. I achieved flow in pac-man due to playing against class students to try get the highest score possible so I was really focusing on every move made and how I can get to the next set of dots without being caught.


Using Csikzentmihalyi’s flow diagram Pac-man can fall into any of them categories it depends how addicted and immersed you in the game. Some cases of flow when Pac-man was released were quite extreme, in the documentary “Thumb Candy” they meet the makers of Pac-man to discuss the popularity of the game 24minutes into the video is the section on Pac-man. 28 minutes in they mention it made “60 billion yen, so roughly 60 million dollars…in one year” for Namco.

Categories of Play:

For Roger Caillois’s ‘categories of play’ Pac-man would fall under primarily ‘Agon’. Agon is games of competition, with Pac-man you are playing to achieve as much points as possible which will require you to survive longer and gain a high score. The replayability to make this a competition with others includes leader boards and also trying to beat your own personal best. An example of Agon would be when we was asked to play free online PC games to later analyse through game theory and in teams of 4 we was to also play against each other for score then rank through score before moving onto the next game.

It also falls under ‘Alea’. Alea is games of chance, with Pac-man the movement of the enemy that the game presents you with is that chance, you could be pinned in a corner by the enemies but somehow manage to escape the navigate randomly but primarily try to chase you but if not they patrol the maze. So chance has a part to play with the enemy, some would say skill is a large part of avoiding them but sometimes you just need that bit of luck to reach the big dot in time before they catch you and eat them all to give you space to continue.

Bartle Test:

To link this into Bartle’s test which defines you as a player through a series of questions this type of game being puzzle based and score based would appeal to an ‘achiever’ style of player due to the points system and the survival aspect.

But it also links to the “Killer” category as Pac-man is a predator, he eats all the dots and if a big dot is activated can eat his enemies which rewards you with bonus score. Therefore it does have killer aspects to the gameplay and rewards.

Socialiser can also link in as when Pac-man was a hugely popular arcade game people would go down to the arcade to play with or against each other, at the end a leaderboard would reveal and you could enter your initials so you was constantly competing with others if you should so choose to treat it that way.

My personal playing of pac-man was that I was either really good at it or just rubbish, when I doing well I enjoyed the game alot and wanted to play more but when i was doing badly it just frustrated me and i wanted to move onto another game. Emotional reactions to the game shows this game has a psychological effect on the player through performance. This is arguable present in all games but this proves the game could be critically analysed using psychoanalysis as a perspective.

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Tetris- Game Theory

Tetris is a puzzle game originally designed and programmed in Russia by Alexey Pajitnov in 1984, since then this has been a hugely successful game franchise spanning across most platforms.

To apply Game Theory I had to play Tetris and then make an analysis on its features and how you can apply game theory to the game.



Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi’s theory of flow applies to tetris as the seemingly endless puzzle game requires the player to deal with each incoming block, the blocks vary in shape on a random basis and the goal on the game is to create as many ‘lines’ as possible to gain score and ultimately last longer. As the game progresses the longer you last the harder it gets, the blocks come down with more speed in each level requiring quick reactions and in some cases sacrifices to leave a gap in your lines in order to make a new line. Due to this focus at all times is a must to achieve anything in this game.


Personally I can see Tetris being a game version of the flow diagram, in Csikzentmihalyi’s flow diagram (see above) you are determined in different states whilst playing a game dependent on challenge and skill level. With Tetris it starts really easy and slow so you get a grip of the game (relaxed) then as you progress through the challenge level increases slowly so you will gradually go through control into flow where you are so focused on the game whilst glancing at upcoming pieces to plot your next move. Then as it goes further it will ultimately get too hard for any player and create anxiety to then make the player fail and lose.

Categories of Play:

For Roger Caillois’s ‘categories of play’ Tetris would fall under primarily ‘Agon’. Agon is games of competition, with Tetris you are playing to achieve as many lines as possible which will make you play for longer and have a high score. The replayability to make this a competition with others includes leader boards and also trying to beat your own personal best. An example of Agon would be when we was asked to play free online PC games to later analyse through game theory and in teams of 4 we was to also play against each other for score then rank through score before moving onto the next game.

It also falls under ‘Alea’. Alea is games of chance, with Tetris the randomly generated shapes that the game presents you with is that chance, you could be waiting for a long time stacking up shapes on all sides for that long line piece so you get a combo of lines but it may never come and you ultimately reach the top with shapes and lose. So chance has a part to play with piece randomisation being kind or not to how you set up your blocks.

Bartle Test:

To link this into Bartle’s test which defines you as a player through a series of questions this type of game being puzzle based and score based would appeal more to an ‘achiever’ style of player rather than the others due to the achiever always wants to win, or reach that high score before anyone else so with Tetris and the points systems through collecting lines and survival of rounds will appeal much more to an achiever.

To give a personal experience of Tetris to apply to game theory, I have played Tetris nearly all my life from my Game Boy to on my phone to on my PC at school. Tetris has always been a game that has kept me engaged, switched on and immersed. No matter how well I do on my last play I always want to play again to beat my best score, this game has an addictive nature about it due to the complexity of the puzzles and feeling that “what if” whilst playing, what if that square shape had come down or that line piece I may have beaten my high score due to the line combo score it would have given me. That feature of the game will always have me coming back for more to try out achieve myself.

Tests from Dr Richard Haier suggest that by playing Tetris you are increasing your brain’s efficiency and have a thicker cortex. This research was determined by monitoring brain activity whilst subjects played the game, the images showed improved brain results. Here is the document.

Here is a humorous video titled “The Tetris God” by CollegeHumor claiming that there is an evil tetris god that calls out the shapes into the game to purposely torture players waiting for that one piece to get a high score of lines and progress:

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Design Process- Research

Recently we have been tasked to make our own design process so that we can check which each piece of work we create that we are following our own design process or skipping steps, it also allows us to evaluate how we are working at the moment to make some tweaks and adapt it to the most effective workflow for our own work.

First I did some research on design processes to give me an idea on roughly the general pattern of a creatives process.

The easiest place to start was with my tutors, as professionals there design process has been tried and tested many times to be fine tuned to what worked best for them.


Paul here has has subdivided his process into 4 sections based on percentage to outline where the majority of work should go which is the early stages of brief, research and concept. It has a modern sharp look to it, i particularity like the circle getting bigger as the process gets further on to indicate progress, almost like a loading bar.




This is my tutor Gareth Sleightholme’s design process. This is a very visual style design process using arrows and using colour to highlight key areas. As you can see this is a scan of his paper pad which would now be ready to enter the next step of Photoshop if he wanted to but there is no need as your personal design process should be something you understand and as long as you can follow it each time you have a working design process.

Then from Gareth’s blog i followed this link to Domanic Li’s design process another tutor here, so clearly it is widely regarded as a thing each creative should have and follow to increase quality of work. This process is extremely helpful as it outlines each area in a detailed ranged way so that it can apply to many areas of art and design.

Other examples i collected are just different examples and ways of design to explain a design process.

This design process is from Dezigngeek. I like this design as its quite visual and with the rocket its as if you must take all these steps as you would checking a rocket before blast off. Simple but the visual aid from the pictures make it more attracting.

This design process briefly shows the steps to take but rather focuses on your certainty on your project, the scribbles indicate you are up in the air with ideas and have nothing pinned down but if you complete the steps you gain more clarity in your work. I really like how this has been portrayed as this indicates if you go straight to the final product your missing something and may run into issues due to lack of a followed design process.


Then finally this is a design process gamified which ties into our gamification work, but nice visuals and a cartoon style to it could teach younger people to implement a design process into their work at a earlier stage or at least consider what theirs might be. Regardless of that it is still relatable to adults as they annotate certain things with teacher/client so its applicable to all people. This has much more steps than most design processes i have seen but some are generally slotted into one overall category like “design” for sketches, concepts, iterations etc.

Now i have to create my own which will apply to my work no matter 5 minutes or 5 weeks, client or personal. A design process should be adaptable to the time deadline set to produce the best outcome of work.

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Essay- Can behaviourism invoke flow in a game of mimicry?


Can behaviourism invoke flow in a game of mimicry?

In this essay I will discuss briefly what behaviourism, flow and mimicry is before making the connection of the 3 to form an analytical response in relation to the question.

Behaviourism is a way of observing how a person responds to something, it might be the environment around them or something that happens to them to form a reaction. An example of behaviourism is B.F. Skinner and his theory of Operant Conditioning, Skinners theory is that you are rewarded for what is perceived to be good and punished for what is seen as bad. This is all revolves around a moral ground as everyone has different views on what is deemed good and bad behaviour. For example, in the TV show “The Big Bang Theory” there is a scene where Sheldon uses operant conditioning to reinforce what he deems as good behaviour to Leonards girlfriend Penny, he does this be offering her a chocolate as a reward for good behaviour. When Leonard realises this he confronts Sheldon and proposes he stops this resulting in Sheldon spraying Leonard with water for punishment. Sheldon does this as an attempt of brainwashing, just as Watson and Rayner did with a baby and a rabbit a test called “little albert”, whenever the rabbit came near the rabbit he slammed a hammer on the table to make the baby jump and cry, he did this until the baby cried just at seeing the rabbit. It is effectively brainwashing the child to not like rabbits and perceive a rabbit as danger due to the punishment.

An example of this in a game would be that for killing a huge boss the correct way completing the quest you are rewarded with loot and new equipment for your character. Whereas if you don’t complete the quest you will die from the enemy possibly resulting in loosing equipment and experience points you have built up.

flowMoving onto Flow, The Theory of Flow was founded Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi; the idea of flow was that flow is a state of ecstasy where you are in an intense state or alternative reality. The list for achieve a state of flow is: 1. completely involved in what you are doing, 2. have a sense of ecstasy, 3. Have a greater inner clarity, 4. It’s a doable activity for you it’s not too complex, 5. You have a sense of serenity, 6. Timelessness, 7. Intensive motivation no distractions. If you can apply the following to your daily life you will live life in a state of flow. To achieve this though you have to develop your skills say ion your daily job, to enter flow you must learn the ways and all the tools to focus on your work in the best mind-set “in the flow”. The diagram I have entered is the flow diagram, if you have a high skill level and the challenge level matches it you are in a state of flow. As you can see the diagram judges yourself dependent on task level and skillset so if you are new to a game and get thrown in with the prestige veterans you’re going to be anxious. An example of myself in flow would be when I’m playing FIFA it’s the final game of the season I need to beat 1st place to win the league, I am a high skilled player of FIFA but I set the opponent on the highest level to so therefore high challenge vs my high skill and I have to be in full undivided focus to win this game, I slip concentration at any point I may concede and lose that game causing a side effect of flow which is rage or aggression when you are so into the game and it all goes wrong you get frustrated. A case of flow in the news was a Chinese couple who played Farmville to an excess where they forgot to feed their baby child at home and it starved to death, or the woman who shook her baby to death as it was crying whilst she played Farmville and she couldn’t concentrate.

Mimicry is one of the four aspects of play devised by Roger Caillois in his book “Man Playing Games”; Caillois divided games into Agon, Alea, Illinx and Mimicry. Agon is a game with challenge, competition or battle.

An example of Agon would be any online multiplayer Player vs Player or AI so Call of Duty, FIFA or Halo. FIFA you can player with your friends, against your friends, without friends against the computer or just on your own practising your skills or managing your team.

Alea is Chance, aspect of luck, strategy which is frequent in card games such as Poker, poker relies on probability methodology you the player are working out the probability your hand is better than everyone else’s and place a bet in direct proportion to how good your hand is, but to be truly good at poker you need to use that to your advantage when you have a bad hand to try manipulate the other players into thinking you have a good hand.

Illinx is multiple things, disorientation, confusion, vertigo, dizziness, alteration of perspective. A better way of looking at it is a game that affects you as the player maybe physically or psychologically. Scary games are Illinx as they make you frightened and jump due to the position you are in as the character whether it be 1st or 3rd person is a different feeling but it still plays with your mind. Away from video games Illinx could be applied in children’s playground on the roundabout as it spins more and more you get dizzier or ring a ring a roses the same effect applies.

Mimicry is make believe, copying or anything with an avatar in it, fantasy. Mimicry will apply for the role that the player has in the game, so any Role playing game (RPG) classes as Mimicry, an example of this would be the Elder Scrolls series, GTA or a board game like Monopoly. In Skyrim (elder scrolls) you design your own character of a chosen race to take the path of the dragon born who will cleanse the land of alduin the world eater dragon. Monopoly you pick a piece to try and build your empire of property and income as a result of that.

These will usually have some form of crossover for example Elder Scrolls is Mimicry for its Role playing, Agon for its competition vs the AI enemies, Alea as it has a chance of having a good drop from an enemy’s death like a rare amulet, and Illinx when you are in a dark cave exploring unknown territory you don’t know what could jump out a massive vampire or just a harmless rat.

Another addition to this Caillois made was Ludus and Paidia, Ludus is a game with rules so the majority of games you play to will have some form of rule e.g. call of duty you have to shoot the enemy to kill them to earn points and more you kill the higher you are on the leader board.

Paidia is without rules, so a concert or kids saying I’m going to play in the garden they don’t know what they are going to do they just know they are going out to play. But Paidia can turn into Ludus quite easily example with the kids they run out into the garden then they decide to play parents and make up the rules of the game as they go along.

Something else worth noting would be the Ludic Loop where you as the player are in and out of control which causes addiction, example would be angry birds you aim and fire but as soon as you let the bird go it’s out of your control, same with flappy birds you tap it flaps but when you don’t tap it falls and the aspiration to get better at making that bird flap gets you addicted.

Now that I have covered the 3 aspects of the question I can now expand and answer the question based on the knowledge I have of the 3 separate aspects.

Yes behaviourism can invoke flow in a game of mimicry. This can be achieved quite easily in many different ways. To support my argument I will use a game I have recently been playing which falls under mimicry, that game is Destiny. Destiny is a MMO shooter which you can play in multiple ways (Bartle test killer, achiever, explorer, and socialiser) you travel across planets as a guardian to enforce the power and survival of the human race and protect the tower the last city on earth, you fight enemies such as the fallen, vex, hive and cabal as base units all of which have bosses leading them along the way varying in levels and difficulty. The use of positive and negative reinforcement or Operant conditioning can be seen in the way the game developers lean you towards going into a strike or taking on a mission, mission difficulty varies the harder the difficulty you set in relation to your level the higher the reward/ loot you gain from taking that challenge on. This idea of complete and slay the enemy on behalf of the speaker (the voice of the god they call the traveller) you will gain rewards and experience points to make yourself a better guardian. But if you don’t do tasks and just hang around in the tower socialising with friends dancing around you won’t level up and you won’t unlock the best gear the game has to offer. Negatives will also be death and by not completing set quest you gain nothing and your time has gone to waste. To achieve the highest challenge strike and gain say a legendary auto rifle alongside glimmer (money system) you and your fire team will have to take down a 30ft ogre that fires plasma out of his face but has a weak spot under his chin. If you enter a state of flow you will be fully focused on getting that loot that nobody has yet and levelling your character up, working as a group to fire orders over headset to flank him and distract whilst I revive my teammate. But you won’t be in flow all the time right when not in the tower? Wrong, the elements implemented that even exploring you can be in flow there are golden and normal chests containing loot in hidden and difficult places, also patrol missions which will up your experience and unlock higher gear, random appearing social events where mass multiplayer events drop you in with other gamers to take down or protect and gain gold silver or bronze ratings, bounties to be completed in forms of collections, kills, tasks etc. flow can be achieved with all this positive reinforcement. A prime example would be recent addition “Vault of glass” this required 6 people you know to be level 26 to take on ridiculously hard enemies that only a few people have completed. This is not only difficult in the game but it’s difficult getting to the level of entry, at level 20 you are capped and experience no longer levels you up, level up is achieved by light in your armor the more the light the higher the level you will be therefore you need to go find loot or encrypted engrams (random loot you take to the tower to be decrypted) to get to that level. And if you go in fail whilst in flow you will react and aspire to be a greater guardian to finally conquer that mission, this links to the “epic win” theory Jane McGonagall mentions in a CAT talk. To achieve that epic win you must have something that tests you to the limit and rewards you for that effort, and to get that you will have to go in full flow to focus and achieve your epic win the link quite well. Following the list of flow the 7 steps you can directly link them to a Mimicry Game in my case Destiny. 1. What to do, you can enter a level 28 strike as a level 26 to gain rare materials to upgrade your weapon power and hopefully find amazing loot and drops from enemies, 2. How to do it, slay everything in your path work as a team to take down a huge boss for maximum loot or go solo to have it all to yourself, 3. How well you are doing, analyse your situation can I really kill that wizard with a shield quick enough out of cover or should I try stunning it and running past. 4. Where to go, use the mini map to navigate to your goal or explore and maybe accidently find a cave of loot, 5. High perceived challenges, bounties, online multiplayer, strikes any form of combat you deem as challenging due to mass amount of enemy or enemy level, 6. High perceived skills, your guardian level is high enough to take on that huge hex god as long as you’re clever about it, 7. Free from distractions, you’re in a lobby of just your fire team all focused on the end goal achieving that epic win.

Putting it all together you achieve flow because you want that end goal of mass loot and to level up despite the difficulty of the task ahead. You have deemed yourself high enough level to go for the grand prize possibly doing bounties related to the mission at the same time for even more loot and you take and complete the strike.

This will obviously depend on the type of player you are in relation to the “Bartle Test” if you are a killer you will want to slay the biggest most difficult enemy and then go online to kill your friend’s player vs player killing successfully and efficiently will induce flow. An explorer may induce flow by climbing and battling through countless enemies to get to the black garden the heart of the darkness and see vast views of amazing visuals. An achiever will want to complete all the story mode all side missions all strikes as fast as possible in the most efficient way to gain loot level experience and even trophies e.g. on PlayStation an achievers ultimate goal is the platinum trophy as well as in game maximum level for bragging rights. A socialiser will achieve flow by working in teams to go out into the game, he will then share his knowledge with others like which is the best cave or upcoming areas for release, helping others achieve their goals will induce flow for them.

There on the other hand could not invoke flow in a game of mimicry, if you just cannot get the hang of the game you struggle with shooters you find certain enemies too difficult despite them being lower level than you, it will cause anxiety and frustration. I mean you feel you are trying your hardest but just can’t kill that boss to grab your experience and loot that will boost your character significantly. You will just not want to play it anymore; it will have too much negative reinforcement for you despite you knowing there is a whole world of positives. The hard graft of a less skilled player in maybe forcing them to purely explore and do low experience very low level enemy areas purely hoping on a chest find wont induce flow. People can easily get stuck on a game like destiny and that it may require you to get past that point to get further and if you can’t it will be seen as a negative.

In conclusion there is both sides to an argument in this case possibly leaning slightly towards the Yes than the No but some people will have their own views and stumbling blocks when coming to a game, people may not see the benefits of behaviourism in games and react badly to the negative reinforcement especially if punished for doing what is deemed wrong. This could be a block or ban for hacking or cheating in the game or when you die you lose items you have gathered or experience points.


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