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Games Entertainment

Familiarity and Habituation In Learning Games 14

Posted by Soulskill
from the what-did-those-pixels-ever-do-to-you dept.
Gamasutra is running a feature about how the ease of learning new games depends on the types of games a player has seen before. "Pong offers quick pick-up not because it is easier to learn than Computer Space (although that was also true), but because it draws on familiar conventions from that sport. Or better, Pong is 'easy to learn' precisely because it assumes the basic rules and function of a familiar cultural practice." The article goes on to examine how the need to master some games is more akin to the "catchiness" of a song than an addiction. "Familiarity relates to another of Barsom's observations: repetition. Catchy songs often have a 'hook,' a musical phrase where the majority of the catchy payload resides. Indeed, the itch usually lasts only a few bars, sometimes annoyingly so. But games rely on small atoms of interaction even more so than do songs. The catchy part of a game repeats more innately than does a song's chorus. In Tetris it's the fitting together of tetrominoes."
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Familiarity and Habituation In Learning Games

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  • No way! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheSambassador (1134253) on Saturday April 04, 2009 @04:20AM (#27455911)
    The things that help us learn other things help us learn games too?

    Pong seems like a simplistic example... it's easy to learn because it's... a very simple game. A more interesting way to look at this would be in FPS games... does playing paintball or airsoft in the real world transfer any sort of skill into FPS's?

    The comparison of a song's chorus actually is moderately interesting. I wonder if games that we like are structured similarly...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cjfs (1253208)

      The whole article is completely devoid of any insight. It's as if they just strung together random adjectives for four pages.

      How does spewing "easy to learn, difficult to master" in several different ways then saying "call them 'catchy', not 'addictive'" at the end warrant an article?

    • Re:No way! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by kaladorn (514293) on Saturday April 04, 2009 @09:11AM (#27456889) Homepage Journal
      I imagine that some things would transfer (for instance, you may know enough to check your six regularly, to use cover and to look for it as you move, etc). This is more in the domain of tactical choices. The actual muscle skills (marksmanship, running, evasive manouvers, etc) are clearly not similar. And the physics engine of RealLife(TM) is fairly different than most games. Most games have a slant on how their physics should work and you learn to adapt to it. But it isn't ultra-realistic, unless you play hardcore sim FPSes. Even they aren't real, just more real. One example of a somewhat similar nature: When my old infantry reserve unit fielded a paintball team, they were mortified when the guys from the local comic shop kicked them around so badly. I heard comments like 'my FN wouldn't have been stopped by a twig' or other equally hilarious complaints. The actual military fieldcraft skills had some benefits for sneaking around, but the performance of the hardware (mainly paintball ballistics and the jam rates of paintball guns of the day) was different enough that the locals put the boots to the soldiers quite handily. As I pointed out to one of the guys in the unit though: If a fat guy in purple coveralls can get within 30' to kill you with an inaccurate marker, what would a guy with an AK manage? That shut down the complaints pretty fast. One of the interesting aspects of trying to carry training across to a different situation is that you sometimes learn lessons in training that aren't just un-useful, they're actually dangerous in the real situation.
      • One of the interesting aspects of trying to carry training across to a different situation is that you sometimes learn lessons in training that aren't just un-useful, they're actually dangerous in the real situation.

        Like teabagging the corpse after you kill them?

  • In Tetris it's the fitting together of tetrominoes.

    I doubt it is. It's something more like lego, jigsaws or wooden building blocks. Yes I just looked at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetromino [wikipedia.org] and thought "hey Tetris blocks".

    I'm getting old, 30s, so may have come across tetrominoes before I played tetris (and not remembered) but are they as widespread as tetris is? Tetris was based on them originally but the ease of gameplay and popularity isn't, I posit, based on previous familiarity with tetrominoes.

    • And pentominoes (Score:3, Informative)

      by tepples (727027)

      I'm getting old, 30s, so may have come across tetrominoes before I played tetris (and not remembered) but are they as widespread as tetris is?

      Pentomino puzzles [wikipedia.org] have been around for decades. Tetrominoes are just a simplification of pentominoes such that one can place three of them every second (see this video [youtube.com] and the end of this video [youtube.com]).

  • To test this hypothesis, they should go to a country without a history of tennis, and see how long it takes them to "get" pong.

    Methinks the author is a bit overblown with the claim that 100 years of ping pong made us ready for the video game.

Theory is gray, but the golden tree of life is green. -- Goethe

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