Game Mechanics

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6 Things that Therapy Games can learn from Facebook Games

While I have posted several in-depth analyses of Facebook games during the last half year, an actual conclusion was still missing. Even though I abandoned my master’s thesis for now, I’d like to add a conclusion to the work already done. Therefore, I present to you after the jump: Things that therapy games can learn from Facebook games.

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Pet Rescue Saga: Mix and Match

[The following text is part of my upcoming master’s thesis on the use of game mechanics in therapy games for children. As part of my master’s thesis I am analysing already existing games that are commonly known to be addictive. A lot of those games are Facebook games.]

Pet Rescue Saga by King is probably one of the best examples of how certain game mechanics are not unique to a game, but can be adapted to other games. Pet Rescue Saga is basically a mixture between Diamond Dash and Candy Crush Saga, yet works surprisingly well.

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Diamond Dash: It's Groundhog Day … Again

[The following text is part of my upcoming master’s thesis on the use of game mechanics in therapy games for children. This is just a rough first draft, and I gladly welcome all critique and suggestions – be it on a content level or regarding my use of language. As part of my master’s thesis I am analysing already existing games that are commonly known to be addictive. A lot of those games are Facebook games.]

Diamond Dash by Wooga superficially looks like a matching tile game similar to Candy Crush Saga or Bejeweled, but works slightly different. Diamond Dash lacks some of the refined features of its competitors. When compared to Candy Crush Saga, Diamond Dash seems a bit rough around the edges, both art-wise as well as in the use of game mechanics. While Candy Crush Saga tries to cater to as many player types as possible, Diamond Dash mostly attracts agile, quickly reacting players that like to compete with their friends. Still, the classic Facebook game mechanics are implemented, mainly that one one hand, Facebook games usually provide strong motivations to do certain things but on the other hand directly prevent players to actually do those things – unless, of course, the players pay or bug their friends about it.

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FarmVille 2: Crop Circles

[The following text is part of my upcoming master’s thesis on the use of game mechanics in therapy games for children.]

FarmVille by Zynga is probably one of the best known Facebook games to date, both because of players that cannot seem to quit the game and their Facebook friends that are annoyed by the game’s ceaseless stream of pleas for help, designed to suck in even more players. FarmVille 2 has several tightly interwoven game mechanics that manage to keep the player glued to the game. The most important among them are the tight feedback loops, where finishing one task has an immediate effect on the next task at hand; a constant stream of quests that provide temporary “winning” conditions in an otherwise endless game; the possibility of self-expression through decoration, even if severely limited and finally the integration of Facebook friends that “ask for help”, cleverly exploiting social norms that result in players returning to the game again and again.

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Candy Crush Saga: Fun for the whole family

[The following text is part of my upcoming master’s thesis on the use of game mechanics in therapy games for children. This is just a rough first draft, and I gladly welcome all critique and suggestions – be it on a content level or regarding my use of language.]

Candy Crush Saga by King.com is a classic casual game (as most Facebook games are), that caters to different player types at once: the puzzler, the explorer as well as the competitive player. Candy Crush Saga is a Bejeweled clone, a simple matching tile game. Candy Crush Saga combines various basic game mechanics and feedback methods in order to attract a diverse set of player types. The basic game allows players to recognise patterns and create order (a common theme with many casual games, which is quite rewarding in itself), the level map caters to the explorer type, while the constant feedback of how well the player’s peers did eggs on competitive players. By catering to all those different player types alike, the producers of the game manage to capture an audience as large as possible, something a therapy game would likely have to achieve as well.

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