Achievements, trophies, badges, and similar rewards are ever present in video games. The assumption seems to be that they motivate players to keep playing a game in order to reach some goal or get some reward, and they are used judiciously by game designers and platform holders towards this end. They’re a kind of external reward for doing what the game designers want you to do. And it works, right? I mean, we love it when we hear that little sound and an achievement pops, right? Don’t we love it when we cross items off our quest logs? Or when we see our Xbox Gamer Score or Steam level go up?
Often, yeah. No doubt. But is that always so? Are there ways in which game designers can rely on achievements, trophies, badges, quests, goals, and other external motivators that can actually undermine our internal drives just play the game and enjoy it? In this episode I talk with Michael Hanus about when these kinds of things work and when they don’t.
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- “Robot Motivation” by The Polish Ambassador, licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0
- “Bicycle” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com). Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
- “Over Under” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com). Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License