Psychological Aspects of Users’ Mobile Gaming Motivation

The game is an integral part of human’s life. Latest psychological researchers have proved that game isn’t just what small children do with their toys while the parents are busy. The game is an important cultural mechanism helping pass experience between generations and orientate in the world. By playing games, humans learn how to behave in their environment and acquire its values, beliefs and conduct patterns. But even after they’ve grown up, people continue playing psychological games by performing roles in their private and social life.

However, the game has received one more essential sense recently. It has become not a way to adapt to the world around us and to act there, but rather to escape from it. More and more people replace their real needs, achievements, friends, and even lives by virtual ones and disappear in game worlds. This phenomenon called game dependence is widely discussed, and psychologists are trying to explain and to overcome it. That article uses some results of these researches and takes a closer look at psychological aspects of people’s gaming motivation. It considers what basic human needs can be transferred in the area of virtual games and satisfied there.

The particular topic of this article is mobile games. It should be noticed that the situation with mobile gaming is not as acute as with computer gaming. People don’t tend to spend a long time with their smartphones, and it’s good so. That is the reason why this article won’t instruct people how to make a “bomb” stealing gamers from their families. It should rather be a guideline for mobile software developers to help them create an involving and exciting product being able to “hook” users.

Human needs that can be satisfied in a mobile game:

1. Need for achievement.

One of the most significant temptations of a game is giving usual people the possibility to become anyone they want to. The opportunities of game plot and its characters are endless, and the likelihood criterion is only optional. So, an unremarkable manager comes home, turns his PC on, launches the game – and becomes an incredible God in a fantastic universe. The longer he plays the more skills, experience, and points he earns; and these rewards are highly valuable for him. A game gives its player a possibility to become something else, a better, more important person, and to be more successful than he possibly is in its real life. Achievements in a mobile game are more “salient” than in real world: they can be made more quickly and easily than in reality; and their results are much more visual (unfortunately, no one receives golden coins or stars after having performed something well in his real life). This attractive process of gathering game achievements can be considered as a kind of substitute for real world self-development.

Why is this aspect important for a mobile software developer? By creating a game, he should reward the user for his progress generously. Stars, coins, additional resources, bonus levels etc. make players feel their success, enjoy it – and return to the game again and again in order to refresh these feelings.

2. Need for respect.

Being respected and appreciated by other people is an important side of people’s social life. Playing alone is good. Playing with other people, demonstrate achievements to them, win different competitions and being admired and regarded by other players is just perfect. Winning feels especially good. There are two main kinds of competitions in mobile games: direct and indirect. In a direct competition, players fight with online enemies or play matches against online opponents face-to-face. In an indirect competition, the game is performed in a single-player mode, but there are leaderboards showing the names of the best players. In that way, a person can always estimate his game success and compare it to the progress of his friends.

But even apart from any competitions, online games have a very significant social side by creating virtual communities. Being part of a clan or detachment evokes a strong feeling of belonging and cooperation. When we do something for the cause, perform our work well, and contribute to the general prosperity by this, we are respected and appreciated.

So, a mobile game should contain as many social features as possible. Leaderboards, online multiplayer modes, creating communities, social sharing buttons – everything connecting the player to other people matters.

3. Need for knowledge.

Learning new things is cool. It doesn’t mean that a mobile game should immediately become a branch of school on users’ smartphones. But gathering new experience, finding out exciting facts, discovering a foreign world, or exploring an interesting topic is fun. Thirst for knowledge has always been pushing humanity forward; it is in the human nature. That’s why the process of solving problems and puzzles and any other kind of intellectual activity can be an important source of gaming motivation.

This need can also be satisfied in a mobile game, especially in a strategy, RPG, or quest. Filling the game world with mysteries, puzzles, interesting facts, and secrets will turn a user to a discoverer learning things not because he has to but because he wants to.

So far, three important human needs that can be satisfied in a mobile game have been considered. Taking them into account and creating a mobile game on this basis will help it “hook” the users and settle down in their smartphones for a very long time.

Top 10 Best Facebook Apps (Games)

Facebook is a virtual world with a lot of apps. And they’re all different and (sometimes) addictive in their own sense. Top Facebook apps like Farmville, Criminal Case, Texas HoldEm Poker and much more are loved by users, serving as a great past-time, and perhaps, the perfect distraction. Sure, staying online all day to play games is unhealthy and not recommended, but a little indulgence never hurts anyone. As long as you don’t have any other work. Therefore, here’s a list of the games you should try out if you’re free, online and bored.

1. Criminal Case

Publisher: Pretty Simple

Rating: 4.5

It’s a game that makes you feel like a badass detective or even Sherlock Holmes. Or maybe that’s just me. You need a keen eyesight and need to be quick about finding all the clues. After all, you need the time bonus. As soon as you start playing, Detective Jones is the one who tells you what to do and gives you hints along the way. But the hints have their limits, at five bars.

 

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You have a Tablet in the game, which is where you get your cases from. And as for the cases, not only do you need to find all the clues at the crime scene, there’s a lab where all the autopsies are done and you need to go and discuss all the not-so-gory stuff, so that the lab geek gives you another clue about the criminal you’re trying to catch. You also have a forensic kit.

Your score, time and hints bonus, are added up after you find the clues, and these are the things that decide whether you get a star or not. And don’t forget the gold coins. They all so give you experience and are what increase your level. To investigate cases, you need your energy. And every case has its own energy cost. So, after getting all the clues, you need to arrest the killer. And there’s always more than one suspect. You need to arrest the one with the most matches.

But, Criminal Case is quite fun to play, if you like the ‘identify and spot the object’ kind of game.

2. Zoo World

Publisher: RockYou!

Rating: 4

Zoo World has one main objective for you: becoming the best Zookeeper in the (game’s) world. You have to acquire various animals for your zoo and save and breed endangered species. You also have to buy kiosks. Players can also get their Facebook friends’ help and recruit some of them as zookeepers.
The game has hundreds of animals, some of them you might not have even heard of. Ah, but you can’t accept help without giving something in return.

Well, you can but that’ll leave you with a guilty conscience. You can help your friends out by gifting them with animals in return. Ultra rare animals include Unicorns, Pterodactyls, Tyrannosaurus, and Rudolph. Yes, Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer. And, let’s not forget the ‘Loch Ness Monster’, the Pegasus (which gives you a major Clash of the Titans flashback) and the Werewolf.

Zoo World is pretty easy to play, and you should enjoy it if you’re an animal lover.

3. Farm Heroes Saga

Publisher: King.com

Rating: 4.5

Farm Heroes Saga is all about stopping the main antagonist- The Rancid Raccoon. This little animal on a quest to ruin the ‘Happy World Farms’, and it’s up to you to stop him. The game is quite similar to Candy Crush Saga in terms of the actual playing- switch around the fruits to match them in rows to pass the level.

The game is simple at first and the level of difficulty increases as you go through the levels. It’s a good past-time when you’re getting bored to tears, but not everyone can play it for more than an hour (or at least, I can’t). You have to switch and match strawberries, pears and other fruits- including the one that looks like a sun, but I’m still not quite sure what it is.

4. Papa Pear Saga

Publisher: King.com

Rating: 4.5

Okay, so this game involves physics- don’t worry, it’s in a fun way. There are 75 levels in the game, and you have to help the main character, Papa Pear, bounce around the screen.

Your goal is to get all the buckets at the bottom of the screen to light up and remove as many acorns as you can. Honestly, the way the buckets keep beckoning towards the pear is very funny. But that is what you need to do, so it’s all good. The game is simple and fun, and you should probably give it a try once. It doesn’t require that much thinking.

5. War of Mercenaries

Publisher: Peak Games

Rating: 4

It’s got a pretty serious name, but in all actuality, the game’s quite fun to play. It’s a bit similar to Age of Empires. According to the game, it went through a series of expansions throughout the land, and even a huge war.

In the new era of Mercenaries, it’s your objective to build the greatest empire. You have to build your own army of mercenaries and go to war with other empires. All in all, it’s a strategy game, one you need to play carefully. You can even get dangerous beasts for your army. If you go to war and win, you can loot and raid the empire you have beaten. It’s a game you should try playing once.

6. Plants Vs Zombies Adventures

Publisher: PopCap Games

Rating: 4

Another interesting strategy game which is also closely related to the original version; it could also be called the zombie field version of the original one.

This game goes further than your everyday backyard: you have to go on different quests and even road-trips and destroy every zombie that tries to stop you. There are new types of zombies and new kinds of plants. Another interesting feature is that players can send groups of zombies to their Facebook friends. If you liked the original game, give this one a try too.

7. My Ninja

Publisher: Unknown

Rating: 4.2

An adventure and RPG game, inspired by the manga and anime show, Naruto. Create your own ninja, customize him or her, train regularly to become the best ninja. Aside from the training, the game has different Chapters and missions for you to complete.

As you level up, there are four types of skills you can master: Body, Mind, Elemental and Passive. Your skills depend on what element you chose while customizing your character. You have the option to choose from Earth, Fire, Water, Wind, and Lightning. Completing missions and sparring against other characters will give you bonuses.

By completing missions, players can level up to different ranks, starting with Genin. To level up, you need to participate in specific exams. Completing quests gives you Elemental Ores, which are needed to master your elemental skills, among other bonuses. Throughout the game, you need to buy new weapons and armor according to your level, as they play an important role in your battles. You can buy those at the weapons and armor shop respectively, with the coins you earn through your missions.

My Ninja is pretty fun to play if you like ninjas and battles.

8. Words of Wonder

Publisher: Playdom

Rating: 3.5

This game is set in a world where words are what sustain life itself. Explore worlds and chapters, which have their own stories. Your main guide throughout the game is Watson, the Owl. He’s a cute little creature, that wears glasses.

The game is all about spelling words. Each chapter has jumbled up letters, and you have to spot words with three or more than three letters. Each chapter has a specific objective as well. Finding more words even fills up the star meter. There are 195 chapters in the game, so you have a long way to go before you finally beat it.

Also, each chapter has a bonus letter, and if you use it in a word, it leads to the bursting of surrounding letters.

9. Uphill Rush 4 Game

Publisher: Unknown

Rating: 4

A racing game, with different vehicles and even animals. You can participate in different cups, for races or a time trial. There are six cups in total, all with three levels of difficulty: Easy, Normal and Hard.

You can even customize your player, by choosing the gender, outfits, and vehicles, though you need to earn cash before you can choose a vehicle of your preference. Not only that, but you can also unlock a dolphin.

Throughout the race, you need to control your mode of transportation carefully. One wrong move could end it. You can even perform stunts to earn more points. The game is fun and even challenging. Try it out if you like racing games.

10. Jelly Glutton

Publisher: RoyalCactus

Rating: 4

The main protagonist of this game is Jelly, the little glutton. It’s a puzzle game that’s all about matching up the same food pieces. Make them disappear, and help Jelly. With four delicious game modes, explore the world of Jelly Glutton. There’s ice-creams, candies, biscuits, and fruits.

Each level has its own objective, and you have to complete it. Completing the stages also gives you stars. Complete levels, and set personal records. The game is fairly easy to play, but playing it actually made me hungry. If you’re really bored, give this one a chance. It’s pretty cute, even though the way of playing it is quite common.

Dangers of Game Addiction

Ever since the advent of video games, there have been debates on the pros and cons of gaming. While there is no denying that gaming sharpens a number of skills of the child, it also stands for a fact that the addiction of gaming can have dire health consequences. Apart from health risks, an addiction to gaming also brings along a non-social temperament that leads to stalled emotional growth.

Here are some of the most common dangers and effects of game addiction:

1. Stress

An obvious fallout of game addiction is stress. Stress develops when the person gets so involved in the game that there is an inbuilt pressure on him or her to achieve goals and cross stages and levels of the game. It slowly converts the game from a source of entertainment and fun to a catalyst of stress buildup. Also, when a person realizes that his life is in a pitiable state because of excessive gaming, he or she develops more stress out of the fear of not being able to get back to normal.

 

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2. Lack Of Sleep

A major portion of a person’s time is taken up by work and it has been found that many people sacrifice their precious time to play an extra game or two instead of sleeping to rest the body. Long term game addiction leads to a sleeping disorder called Insomnia that takes a huge toll on a person’s health.

3. Disregard For Personal Hygiene

Excess gaming leads to seclusion of the gamer from the outside world which eventually leads to little or no interaction with people. When the person realizes that there is nobody who may notice his lack of grooming, he feels less compelled to take care of his personal hygiene.

4. Seclusion And Isolation

Gaming addiction can lead to people developing a tendency of seclusion and isolation. They start isolating themselves from family and friends. The fact that they start ignoring their personal hygiene is just the beginning of his or her displacement from the social scene. Gaming starts taking precedence over other important chores such as interaction with friends and as this addiction intensifies, the subject may start becoming more and more stubborn and rude. All that a gaming addict wants to spend time on is games.

5. Carpel Tunnel Syndrome And Arthritis

Excess gaming can lead to these two physical disorders. Studies have revealed that years of excessive gaming can lead to serious issues with the person’s thumb as this area is most exercised in gaming and is prone to osteoarthritis too. Carpel Tunnel Syndrome is a condition in which there exists an excessive pressure on a nerve in the wrist which is responsible for allowing certain hand movements. This syndrome is likely to surface in game addicts since they make a lot of repetitive hand and wrist movements while playing games.

6. Unhealthy Eating Habits

With excess gaming, one becomes oblivious to dietary routine because he or she is too busy thinking about what is next in the game for them. Most game addicts choose fast food and sugary sodas to accompany their gaming sessions which further leads to deterioration of health. They also prefer frozen food that does not take much time to cook and thus does not hinder their gaming spree. Such eating habits are a major cause of diabetes and obesity in adults.

7. Depression

It might be rare to know a gaming addict who realizes that he is slowly slipping into depression. Depression slowly makes its way to the addict’s brain as he or she gets more and more addicted to the game. The only time they realize that they are in a state of depression is when they pause for a moment to realize that they have made a mess of their lives by excess gaming and neglecting other necessities of life. What makes the matters worse is that the only recourse they find to get out of this depression is more gaming and this drags them deeper into the trouble creating a vicious cycle that declines to break until the person resolves to take back the control of his or her life.

It shall be wise to conclude that video games, when played in moderation, can promote good health. They improve motor skills and develop the cognitive ability. It is recommended to address the issues of game addiction as soon as it is noticed lest it may take a heavy toll on health and personal life.

Gaming: Evolution and Devolution

People often have trouble understanding the word “tradeoff”, sure enough, it’s easy enough to understand as an exchange but in today’s corporate parlance it is meant as an exchange of one commodity for a cost for another. I was playing Final Fantasy’s Dissidia on the good old PSP yesterday when I marveled at the game’s replay value, yes I have spent over 50 hours on it already, which is what this entire topic is all about.

Normally if you look at the oldest games like Mario and Dave, they had one thing unanimously common, addiction to it. Not that I am propagating obsession towards anything, however, this is what the current paradigm of gaming has come down to; a commodity. I have always been a gamer, I will not deny that and this is exactly what my contention with gaming today is. The first games had a lot of things that hooked people up but most of all it was about the level of engagement that the player had with the game environment or the “world” of the game. And this engagement has little to do with the 3D graphics or the extensive options available.

 

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Let us take a look at the progression; first, it was the advent of the simple arcade type games which were phenomenal to a certain point. Kept players hooked and introduced a whole new boom of media into the world. This was where literally every child was begging for the Atari systems and your Pentium II and III machines had Sega and NeoGeo emulators installed (mine still has both installed by the way) and gameplay elements were about difficult commands mixed in with clever sequences. Take this forward a bit further and the same two systems incorporated decent mixed stories and continuity in the games enhance the media capabilities being explored in the two avenues. The fighting game series KOF is an ardent testament to that and from there came the further boom of turn based strategy and role playing games which became akin to “user controlled novels” on computers. This adaptability of both game-play and media can be called as the turning curve of the gaming industry.

Because this was where a lot of business heads realized that the games could be used to simulate a lot of things, pretty much everything so the potential as a business commodity was obvious even from then on. The progress from then on was about enhancing the visual effects of the game, the additives were obvious the visuals needed more work so in came the influx of investment in gaming studios and the push for 3d graphics into gaming. That apex can be called as the secondary curve because once that was established, the potential for business gain via games became second to almost none. Hollywood movies will tell you the story of boom and fall without fail but games have the replay factor attached to them irrespective of their audience size that guarantees reward.

And this replay factor was cashed in next. We all can see the online capabilities being offered by games which as also paved the way to players just buying the next powerup or update online. The concept of “buying all” is where we can point and say that gaming has devolved. So at a point where gaming was fun with added complexity like Baldur’s Gate, Ys, Metal Gear Solid, the games went on to become more about commodity value.

The biggest factor in all this is mobile gaming of course and here I point at the smartphone games which are purely centered on time killing. The problem occurs when the majority of the smartphone gamers are not regular gamers but more so there to just kill time. So when you give a game like Subway Surfers online buying advantages for the “normal” people, some level of competition envelopes between the console/PC games and the phone games. The niches are different, the categories are different, and the size is different. A game like Temple Run cannot be compared to Farcry 3 but ultimately when the games become about money then these things sidetrack and mix in.

Today you have fantastic gameplay elements being added, furnished and perfected. Complexity is a given and with that, some features sit well whilst others do not. What’s adverse to the gaming paradigm, in general, is the holistic focus on sales which often makes them compromise on a lot of things from the gameplay side. Ultimately when gaming becomes more focused on buying rather than playing than the entire reason for playing a game gets taken away.

A Career in Testing Video Games

Playing video games for a living makes one think that this is the ideal job. People who witnessed the advent of computer gaming in the late eighties to early nineties have probably dreamed of having a game testing job. Who wouldn’t desire a job that compensates personal enjoyment?

Almost everyone loves video games. The days of video games confined to clunky consoles that cannot be taken on a plane trip or any trip for that matter are long gone. When people choose to play games, they use portable gaming devices such as PSP Vita, or even their Android smartphones or tablets.

Now that video games are competing with so many other personal entertainment types, a freemium model is now widely utilized in PC games and mobile gaming, which has given video games a boost. This is great news for those seeking to be video game professionals and they are willing to do what it takes to secure their place in the industry. One of the fastest ways to gain a foothold in the video game industry is to apply for a quality assurance testing (game testing) position.

 

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It is important to note that those testing a game are always separate from the team that codes or programs the game itself. Therefore, the bug-tracking phase is accomplished by quality assurance testers (game testers).

Further, game testers are asked by companies and game studios with presenting bug reports on a regular schedule. For example, if one is testing a game and has submitted only a few bug reports for all the months in the company, one should not anticipate superiors giving glowing reviews.

Since communication with the programming department is in writing, excellent written communication skills are needed. Without good writing skills, one will not thrive or survive in this field at all.

It is paramount to remember that game testers are not very special in the video game production world. The reason is that there is an abundance of potential testers, and if one leaves, another will quickly fill the void. So, if advancement is desired, one must demonstrate an above average or better game tester ability for superiors.

Here are the hard facts:

Survival Skills. In order to survive in the professional quality assurance testing (game testing) field, one will require skills of the trade that can be obtained through formal training (on-the-job training) and through continuous experience.

Paramount to playing video games is an experience. However, it is not the be-all and end-all of game testing. It is just a small aspect that will assist in the performance of a game tester job.

Most Important Asset. The most important asset of a game tester is the ability to perform on the job. How good is one in bug tracking newly developed games? One cannot astonish lead game testers and quality assurance managers just by simply telling them that as a 15-year-old one was a programming whiz. No matter how true this may be.

Game tester effectiveness lies in the capability to discover the bugs that may arise from many combinations that exist within specific game segments.

A tester is not assigned the whole game, but only a specific segment in which to discover bugs. This when tester effectiveness will be scrutinized.

Be Prepared. Being prepared will greatly improve the chances of getting hired. To gain proof of time spent and monetary investment, one should enroll in courses just before applying for a game testing position. One cannot tell employers that they are well versed on game testing through reading. Interviewers will not accept this as experience and will end in one going home with a broken heart. It is important to be aware of this now, in order to prepare for what lies ahead. It is not easy to get in, but it is not impossible either.

Professional and Passionate. One will need to demonstrate to superiors not only professional performance but also an extreme passion for video games. This will enable one to advance above the average game testers.
Stephen R. Summitt

Do you want to find sustainable employment by getting a job as a game tester? If you are here because you are serious about getting a job as a game tester, you have to deal with facts, not myths and the personal fantasies of hopefuls. Discover the truth about this field and how you can enter it.