Why Play & Engagement Matters. Unlocking Emotional Learning through Fun.
In A Playworker’s Taxonomy of Play Types, Bob Hughes (1996) defines 16 types of play, each of one implies the learning and practice of a specific human ability or behavior, from social to physical and creative skills. Hughes research is particularly relevant from many perspectives, pedagogical, behavioral, sociological, educational and psychological, but also from a transmedia storytelling point of view. In fact, to develop a narrative with engaging dynamics and interactions, designers and content writers must take into account all those 16 types of needs. Fulfilling those needs, allow the players to engage and feel the sense of reward that all players intrinsically seek.
Feeling rewarded is one of humans’ primary need and it is the primary motivation to engage with most activities. Like their parents, kids feel rewarded in different ways. Depending on their “player-type”, they might engage more with a strategic game, a competition or journey of exploration. The more players feel rewarded, the more fun they are having. Which are the main types of FUN that players of all age strive for?
In Emotional Goals of Players (2004), Nicole Lazzaro identifies four keys to unlocking emotions in games:
> Hard Fun - players who like the opportunities for challenge, strategy, and problem solving.
> Easy Fun - players who enjoy intrigue and curiosity, discovery, adventure.
> Serious Fun - players who get enjoyment from their internal experiences in reaction to the visceral, behavior, cognitive, and social properties.
> People Fun - players who enjoy using games as mechanisms for social experiences, competition, teamwork, as well as opportunity for social bonding and personal recognition that comes from playing with others.
Play = to engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation
rather than a serious or practical purpose.
Hughes, B., (1996).
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