Nicole Lazzaro Posted about 3 years ago We spend 3 billion hours a week as a planet playing videogames. Is it worth it? How could it be MORE worth it? For two decades as a games industry consultant I have made screens more engaging by watching the emotions on gamer's faces as they play. I have also applied this research to unlock the mechanics of why we play games for games and for interface design. In the 20 years since I began we’ve discovered so many ways games are good for us, (see free white papers on the xeodesign.com website.) Consider these four reasons why we play games. I call them the Four Keys to Fun. 1. GAMES Create and discover new worlds through curiosity, wonder, and surprise what I call Easy Fun. 2. GAMES Build skills and encourage us to try again. We can fail 80% of the time and still feel like we win. This opportunity for challenge and mastery I call Hard Fun and it creates frustration that leads to fiero (Italian for the feeling of the epic win where the player punches the sky) 3. GAMES Connect Us. As Plato once said, “I learn more about a person in an hour of play than a lifetime of conversation.” Social emotions like generosity, naches, gratitude, amusement, and even schadenfreude bind us together. I call this People Fun, and players tell us that it's people who are addictive, not the game. These game mechanics expose the processes and emotions that make team work possible. 4. GAMES Change us and our world. All games teach. Players like games more that have meaning for them. Whether it's playing Wii Fit to lose weight or Brain Age to get smarter, people play games to change how they think feel and behave. Game designers have worked for decades to make players feel as victorious as a space marine, as rich as King Midas collecting screen fulls of gems, the satisfaction from milking cows, or the social glow form spending time with friends all from a simple click of a button. Game designers are wizards at engagement. Kids and games are the future. To meet their future responsibilities we must use games to unlock their potential and help them improve quality of life through play.