Testosterone and Videogames (ihobo)

You can read my thoughts about testosterone and videogames over on the ihobo site today.  It builds upon some numbers I recently crunched from the BrainHex data concerning the relationship between class and gender, also up today on the BrainHex site.

By the way, I've been accused (not unjustly) of being obsessed about ranting against the industry's obsession with 3D shooters. This latest piece is an attempt to draw a line under that. No promises in this regard, but I will endeavour to try and find new topics of conversation concerning games after my annual break for the Wheel next month.

And lastly, speaking of BrainHex, this weekend we had more than 10,000 new responses - more than doubling the total so far almost overnight!

BrainHex: How Do You Play Videogames?

BrainHex Cross-posted from ihobo.com; please use the ihobo post for comments - thank you!

International Hobo is proud to announce the launch of its new audience model and player survey, BrainHex. This model is the culmination of several years of work, examining data from previous surveys and comparing case studies to the latest neurobiological research.

You can take the BrainHex test yourself and learn about how your brain responds to videogames, while helping us further our research into how and why people play games.

You can also go straight to the BrainHex site and learn about the different classes in this new player satisfaction model.

Many thanks to everyone who participated in the alpha and beta testing of the model, and to everyone who takes the test and contributes to this new study.

Please feel free to pass the test link on to anyone who might be interested! Thank you!

Time & Punishment (ihobo)

Over on ihobo today, a piece looking at time penalties in games. Here's an extract:

One way of exploring this notion of punishing games (versus forgiving games) is in terms of the time penalties that are implied by specific outcomes. In a forgiving game, the losses to the player for a mistake are usually minimal. In a punishing game, the player is risking their accrued progress for making a mistake – thus (provided the player is open to this style of play) increasing the excitement by adding risks to the play.

BrainHex Beta

BrainHex Cross-posted from ihobo.

We are about to begin the Beta testing of the new International Hobo player satisfaction model, BrainHex. The model will be available for everyone to test how their brain responds to videogames this Summer, but we are currently looking for 50 individuals to try the sorter test and the information website and provide useful feedback about the experience.

If you are interested in participating in the closed Beta of this gamer test, please email this address and provide us with your own email address and we'll get back to you shortly with the relevant information. (If you have already registered for the Beta, there is no need to register again).

Thanks in advance for your assistance!

Do You Enjoy Fear? (ihobo)

I'm looking for some help from players who enjoy feeling afraid. The post that went up on the ihobo site today entitled Do You Enjoy Fear? asks anyone who enjoys the experience of terror to complete the following sentence:

I love the feeling of fear and terror when...

Can I ask any blogger who doesn't mind posting calls for assistance like this to share the link? Thanks in advance for you help!

Grip: The Biology of Compulsion (ihobo)

Back to back games posts on ihobo this week, starting today a piece on what I term Grip - the compulsion that keeps you playing a game. Here's an extract:

You may have noticed Raph Koster and others linking to a Cambridge University study of the neurobiology of gambling showing that the part of the brain involved in reward – the pleasure centre – lights up when we nearly win, as well as when we win. Interestingly, the researchers report that subjects report this experience negatively, even though the pleasure centre is being stimulated. But of course, even though this may be a negative experience subjectively, most subjects who experienced a “near miss” continued to play on. The researchers note that this behaviour happens in both games of skill and games of chance.

I call this phenomena of compulsion in play Grip, and consider it to be a complimentary behaviour to Csikszentmihalyi's Flow, which I deconstructed in neurobiological terms the other week. If Flow is the constant and steady supply of the “reward protein” dopamine from the pleasure centre associated with a period of intense focus, then Grip occurs as a team-effort between the pleasure centre and the decision centre (orbit-frontal cortex), two parts of the brain that are very closely linked. The decision centre generates rewards (dopamine from the pleasure centre) when we make good decisions, and thus encourages us to learn good strategies and behaviours.

Please head over to the ihobo blog to read the complete post, and to comment.