chapter  5
33 Pages

Achieving Eudaimonia in Free-to-Play Social Media Games

WithSteve Holmes

In Chapter 4, I explore affective design as one way in which more traditional FPS games employ a select number of Foggian design elements among other more conventional videogame components. In Chapter 5, I examine an entire genre, gamified persuasive technologies (GPTs), as consisting entirely of Foggian design elements and only the most superficial use of conventional videogame elements. By comparison, Chapter 6 features a case study of a videogame genre that exists somewhere in between these two extremes on the Foggian design spectrum: social media games for casual gamers. While the traditional consumer audience for videogames could once be described as a mostly young male audience who desired complex game mechanics that required a considerable degree of time and skill to master, games studies researcher Jesper Juul chronicles the rising popularity between 2000 and 2010 of “casual games.” 1 As the name indicates, casual games require only low-skill gaming ability to enable individuals with no previous experience in traditional videogames to play. One afternoon during a social gathering in 2008, I watched a friend’s 90-year old grandmother successfully win a series of matches on the Nintendo Wii’s Sports Tennis videogame. 2 Afterward, I asked her when she had last played a videogame, and she commented that she was not sure that she had ever played one in the past—not even the older prototypes of casual games, such as Tetris or Solitaire. Released in 2006, the Wii console was a reflection of the rising interest in casual gaming. The Wii not only incorporated a handheld remote controller with a motion sensor to allow in-game motions to be intuitive to casual players (i.e., to hit a tennis ball, a player swings the controller like she’s holding a racket), but part of its marketing plan and types of videogames offered were designed for a much broader audience than the traditional gamer.