Nicole Lazzaro

XEODesign, Inc
Oakland, CA, United States

About Nicole

Areas of Expertise

Games

Universities

Stanford

Comments & conversations

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Nicole Lazzaro
Posted over 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.
Noface
Nicole Lazzaro
Posted over 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?
I feel a big opportunity with games is to use game like interaction in a non-game contexts. We don't need to escape into games to get the benefit of game like interaction. Since Cyan created a game called Myst, I've been using games to inspire my interface design work for websites like BlogHer.com, encyclopedias like the Encyclopedia Britannica and Totally Mad (Mad Magazine), courseware like Chemistry of Life, enterprise software from Cisco, training games for Oracle, utilities such as Roxio's Easy CD Creator and Toast, and of course games like The Sims and Diner Dash. Games are the future of interaction design. Jane wrote a great white paper for the IFTF on the Engagement Economy that handily sums up a number of researchers on what makes games fun here: http://bit.ly/gWGuaP
Noface
Nicole Lazzaro
Posted over 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?
Most people playing games today don't identify themselves as "gamers" any more than people who read define themselves as "readers". The people who are most in love with this form of entertainment, it's most devoted fans, self-identify as gamers. The rest of people playing Farmville on Facebook or inviting friends over to play Dance Central on the XBOX Kinect are just people playing games to have good times with friends.
Noface
Nicole Lazzaro
Posted over 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?
In my 20 years of researching engagement from watching emotions on the faces of people while they play games, the opportunity to explore new worlds and experience accomplishment are just two of the four reasons why we play games. They also play to change the way they think feel and behave and to socialize with their friends. What I found researching best selling games from Tetris to Call of Duty is that first the hook is a novel experience. Games offer a simplified world to explore where they experience curiosity, wonder, and surprise. I call this Easy Fun. Next, while players are exploring the new physics of this world whether it's an abandoned warehouse or a screen full of gems they encounter a goal with some constraints. Players experience frustration as they attempt to overcome obstacles. If they win at the point they are about ready to quit, players experience fiero (Italian for triumph over adversity). This is the feeling of the epic win. I call this opportunity for challenge and mastery Hard Fun because it requires a lot of effort. Next, to make the win feel even more epic many players cooperate and compete with their friends for amusement, naches, schadenfreude, and ameiro (my word for the emotion from social bonding). Games offer the excuse to hang out with friends or what I call People Fun. Finally to make the win mean something, games amplify feedback to make the win change how they think feel or behave. I call this Serious Fun where gamers play Dance Dance Revolution to lose weight, Brain Age to get smarter, or Google Image labeler to help label every image on the Internet. Pardon the plug, but you can download free white papers on on the Four Keys to Fun and other emotion and games research to help you design more meaningful games here: http://xeodesign.com/whyweplaygames.html Game On! o/
Noface
Nicole Lazzaro
Posted over 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?
Every new information technology has been ridiculed at it first introduction. Many people in Plato's time thought that writing would be the end of intelligent thought, because people would no longer have to memorize. Instead, we used this tool to support new kinds of intellectual pursuits. The Nickelodeons were like wise scorned for their cheap and lewd content, but eventually they gave birth to cinema such as Satyajit Ray's Pather Panchali The same will be true for games. Remember that more women (64% ) play games online than men. http://news.cnet.com/2100-1043_3-6123172.html