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Playful Design by John Ferrara

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Chapter 4. Player Motivations

Why do people play games? It feels a little ridiculous to even ask this question, because the answer seems obvious: people play games to have fun. Do we really need a grand explanation beyond that? Well, if your interest in games doesn’t extend beyond playing them, I’ll grant you that the simple answer is probably enough. But for a game designer, there are at least two problems with such a basic explanation of player motivation.

For one thing, it doesn’t account for the nearly masochistic things people are willing to do when playing a game. Many of the most popular role-playing games, for example, require players to fight the same enemies over and over again (and ...

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