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Players Making Decisions: Game Design Essentials and the Art of Understanding Your Players by Zack Hiwiller

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25. Motivation

Things need to be worth doing for themselves, not just for practice for some future time.

—JO WALTON, AMONG OTHERS

Playing games is a choice; it’s voluntary.1 Any game designer who is forcing people into playing games should seriously reconsider her craft. Given that, you must assume that people volunteer to play games because they want to. Thus, game designers must be intimately familiar with the motivations of players. What makes people want to play? What keeps people playing?

1 Caillois, R. (1961). Man, Play, and Games. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press.

An anthropological discussion of why humans play is beyond the scope of this lesson. For more on that topic, the definitive starting points are Roger Callois’ Man, ...

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