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The Psychology of Collection and Hoarding In Games 183

Posted by Soulskill
from the who-has-the-most-nerdoints dept.
This article at Gamasutra takes a look at how the compulsion to hoard and accumulate objects, as well as the desire to accomplish entirely abstract goals, has become part of the modern gaming mindset. "The Obsessive Compulsive Foundation explains that in compulsive hoarders: 'Acquiring is often associated with positive emotions, such as pleasure and excitement, motivating individuals who experience these emotions while acquiring to keep acquiring, despite negative consequences.' Sound familiar? The 'negative consequences' of chasing after the 120th star in Mario 64 or all 100 hidden packages in Grand Theft Auto III may be more subdued than those of filling your entire house with orange peels and old cans of refried beans. But game designers know that it's pretty damn easy to tap into this deep-rooted need to collect and accumulate. And like happy suckers we buy into it all the time, some to a greater degree than others."
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The Psychology of Collection and Hoarding In Games

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  • by Shikaku (1129753) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @12:23PM (#28159345)

    Gotta catch em all, POKEMON!

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You can never have enough!

    • by punzada (1557247)
      Just you and me, you know it's my destiny oh, you're my best friend in the world we must defend!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by ijakings (982830)
      Pokemon?! With the Poke and the man and the thing where the guy comes outta the thing and he makes a o abba zabba eh heh heh
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 31, 2009 @12:25PM (#28159373)

    They always attribute this behavior to some kind of compulsive outlier, but the the behavior is common to all humans. And is at the root of a lot of the fruitless consumerism. Comes from before there was culture or communication. Comes from the lizard brain. And probably never failed the early hunter-gatherer who didn't get penalized for keeping too may cats or a garbage-ridden apartment.

         

    • by F34nor (321515) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @01:25PM (#28159875)

      It is also a no-no in yoga. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yamas [wikipedia.org] see Aparigraha (non-horading).

      I had a hell of a debate with the people in my yoga class about MP3s. Because they violate asteya (non-stealing) and Aparigraha (non-hoarding) and they just would consider the idea, free MP3s beat out philiospy, practive and truth in their minds.

      The reason you are not supposed to hoard is because someone else might have a current use that outweighs your possible future use for the item. I have often thought that making NPC need items in games would make hoarding harder ethically to pursue. I also think that monster ecologies would be cool. Kill all the fur seal in freezly land when power leveling and fuck... they went extinct. Kill all the predators and shit we are overrun with disease carrying rats!

      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Check out the old Maxis game "SimLife", it has the exact ecology mechanism you describe (along with a lot more!)

      • by Faylone (880739)
        So, how would they feel about massive torrents of mp3s released under Creative Commons? It's not stealing and you're actually assisting anybody else who wants to use it.
      • Yes, but you are talking IRL and we are talking game. Hell your MP3 analogy doesn't even hold up IRL because you can't actually "hoard" MP3s, as you can plug your flash into my PC and "take" my MP3s and I'll still have them. And in game it is a whole different ball of wax.

        For instance I like this game called Sacred Gold [wikipedia.org] that I picked up out of the bargain bin. I never heard of it but the screenshots looked good and for $20 I'll give any game a shot. if you haven't picked it up it rocks. Anyway they have this "green" armor, which gives major bonuses in a set, like in Legends of Aranna. Unlike Legends where you could get a walkthrough to tell you where each piece is Sacred is random drops, and the green set armor is one of the rarest. Worse, since there are six characters you can get green drops that aren't for your character and even if they ARE for your character there are about 5 suits per character so it may not respond to the set you are trying to build. So I'd set there for hours going "nope nope nope nope Green? &^%^&%$&^%$ Gladiator crap! nope nope nope" while I'm dripping with expensive items and all the cheap shit is in 20 foot mounds around my character.

        But who cares? It is A GAME. And I'm enjoying myself, even when I'm cursing the damned gladiator and battle mage because I keep getting their crap. By hoarding i now have huge amounts of money by selling the lesser crap, so when I walk into a village and see a "ring of badass" that is a crazy price I just slap the gold on the table, my character has gotten powerful enough that even midlevel monsters refuse to attack me for fear of getting their asses kicked, hell its fun. So while I HATE those "bring me the asses of 20 snow goats" kinds of quests, which thankfully aren't that many in Sacred, as long as whether to hoard or not is my choice and it is fun, who cares . it is a GAME. The whole bloody point is we get to do the kinds of antisocial crap we wouldn't pull IRL. And as long as the designer remember to make it fun as opposed to "bring me the asses of 20 snow goats" I'm a happy little camper.

        And if you haven't tried Sacred give it a spin [gamershell.com]. Good graphics and random monsters and items makes for the fun and lots of replay in my book.

        • by kalirion (728907)

          Ah yes, Sacred Gold. Got it on Steam for $10. Was having fun with it, until I reached the last difficulty level and found out to my chagrin that my character would have to gain another 20 levels to even use any of the damn items the monsters dropped! That killed all the fun for me.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Chris Mattern (191822)

        I also think that monster ecologies would be cool. Kill all the fur seal in freezly land when power leveling and fuck... they went extinct. Kill all the predators and shit we are overrun with disease carrying rats!

        Ultima Online actually did this when it first came out. It was removed when it turned out that there was a small but sufficient minority who enjoyed *deliberately* exhausting a resource for no other reason than the sheer joy of screwing over all the players who needed it.

      • by averner (1341263)
        That would never work, you'd have trolls killing things to extinction left and right.
      • by brkello (642429)
        Seems like a short sighted philosophy. Something simple minded that maybe an elementary school teacher would come up with to teach sharing. If we all didn't go to the store and buy whatever that we wanted just because someone else might need that item more, then we would pretty much buy nothing. Less things selling means less jobs means less people with money etc., etc. It would pretty much cause everyone to suffer. There needs to be a balance between not taking so much that others suffer and not takin
      • by kenp2002 (545495) on Monday June 01, 2009 @03:09PM (#28172729) Homepage Journal

        THey did that in UO early on.

        I run a simulation that I am reasearching that takes the spawns of creatures and moves, add, deletes them as a result of activity.

        Simple version:
        Spawn X criteria
        Damage Done to Players: + 1 per 100
        Players Killed: + 10 per 1
        Dmage Done to Mobs: +1 per 50
        Mobs Killed: +5 per 1
        Damage Taken by players: -1 per 80
        Times Killed by players: -1 per 1
        Damage Taken by Mobs: - 1 per 50
        Times Killed by Mobs: -1 per 5

        The location of Spawn X is then shifted a random direction away from the last J spawns where J was negative and towards the last M spawns where M was positive.

        If the last spawn was positive the level of the mob spawn is +1, if the last spawn was negative then -1. The last 5 spawns are active at all times. For every 3 in a row positive spawn we turn the oldest of those three spawns into a new roaming spawn (e.g. the population went up by one.)

        If a spawn hits a streak of 5 negative spawns we expire the current roaming spawn.

        Over simplified (we actually track males and females, level averaging, migratory behavior, etc..)

        There is a lot of interest in ecology modelling in games these days, don't ask how much the consultant ask for these days...

    • This might explain the 25 sinks, 40 doors and 200 windows in my barn.

      Doesn't exactly help though.

      Anyone near Kingston ont need a Pepsi cooler? Or a clawfoot bathtub? Or a 3 sink stainless restaurant counter? Or a half ton of glass panes?

    • by rtb61 (674572)

      The behaviour exists because we have become convinced that it will bring happiness. Of course it does not actually bring happiness but only substitutes for a period of time because we have been convinced it 'should', up until it the idea collapses and people either successfully mature and leave it behind or it leads too inevitably psychological collapse and various psychological illnesses.

      What has happened is the psychologically deviant, psychopaths and sociopath have gained positions of power and used m

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 31, 2009 @12:28PM (#28159395)

    Okay, so basically this article is saying that people collect and horde in-game items because they like it and it makes them happy ("positive emotions").

    Sort of like the way psychopaths kill because it makes them happy, lazy people are sedentary because it makes them happy, and fat people eat too much because it makes them happy.

    That's saying about as much as barking dogs.

    • by gringofrijolero (1489395) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @12:58PM (#28159675) Journal

      Hey! Whatever makes them happy...

    • by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @01:58PM (#28160129) Homepage Journal
      Actually, what makes a psychopath kill (sociopath is the more politically correct term now) is their inability to truly tell right from wrong. To them, killing a person is the same thing as stealing a candy bar. They don't get "happy". Their impulse is satisfied. It may not seem like much of a difference up front, but do you get "happy" when scratching an itch? No, but you are satisfied by doing so.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by pla (258480)
        Actually, what makes a psychopath kill (sociopath is the more politically correct term now) is their inability to truly tell right from wrong.

        Okay, how about somewhat less of a moral extreme (and what I expected TFA to discuss before I read it) - Collecting copyright violations (or any other illegal materials with the condition that the illegality itself not give rise to the motivation to collect)?

        Most relevant to the topic at hand, how about game ROMs? No one can defend their collection of 6000 SNES
        • by Omestes (471991) <omestes @ g m a il.com> on Sunday May 31, 2009 @03:19PM (#28160833) Homepage Journal

          Legal != Right; Illegal != Wrong.

          Legality and morality are loosely linked, but do not imply each other. I jay walk almost daily, but I doubt that this puts my morality into question. Some people might not view some copyright laws (and instances of them) as particularly moral, and thus feel free to ignore them as long as the risk of getting caught is lower than the satisfaction gained in the action.

          I'm sick of people thinking that following law is always moral, or that all laws are moral statements. In extreme circumstances following laws can be immoral, and breaking them moral. Hording mp3's or ROM files probably don't fall into this (to me its pretty morally agnostic, in some cases I see no problem with piracy, and in some I do, depending on circumstance, and how unnatural the law is in that case).

          To me the pathology springs from wanting to have 6000 ROMs, when there is no chance in hell that you could ever enjoy a significant percentage of them, I horde DVDs, but I have managed to watch all of them (sans a few crappy gifts).

          • by Hatta (162192)

            To me the pathology springs from wanting to have 6000 ROMs, when there is no chance in hell that you could ever enjoy a significant percentage of them,

            When a complete set of NES roms is just a couple hundred megs, why not have them all? It's easier to just get a full set than it is to sit around and pick out the ones you wanted.

            • I still can't figure out how that guy could possibly think it was a complete GoodNES set without Kid Icarus. I mean really...

          • by ultranova (717540)

            To me the pathology springs from wanting to have 6000 ROMs, when there is no chance in hell that you could ever enjoy a significant percentage of them, I horde DVDs, but I have managed to watch all of them (sans a few crappy gifts).

            6000 SNES ROMs take a few gigabytes at maximum, so it makes sense to grab a "complete SNES collection" torrent rather than hunt the few dozen games you actually want one by one. And it makes sense to also keep the 5976 remaining games, even if you never play them, just in case y

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          With the NES collectors, you could argue that there is no real harm in having 6000 ROMs from a game system that's 15 or so years old. They don't sell it, and even if they did, there isn't much market for that stuff anyway - you'd need to package it nicely and make it play like a regular game. Even then, the appeal is limited. This is more akin to collecting antiques.
          • With the NES collectors, you could argue that there is no real harm in having 6000 ROMs from a game system that's 15 or so years old. They don't sell it

            ...except in the Virtual Console aisle of the Wii Shop Channel.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          ROM goodsets [wikipedia.org] exist not so that one person can have every ROM, but as a way to distribute ROMs. For an old system, even a complete set of every ROM ever made is still not that big, but part of how the size is kept down (other than the ROMs being tiny by today's standards to start with) is that their compression is usually very bad and on top of that, there may be significant shared code between ROMs, so a solid archive would probably be used. On top of that, for the vast majority of the ROMs the audience int

          • by pla (258480)
            No one wants every ROM (unless they are doing some sort of statistical analysis on them...), but someone wants every ROM

            You, sir, have made the single most cogent argument of any response to me so far. I don't normally reply to AC posts, but seriously - Kudos!

            While the rest got bogged down in whether or not legal == moral (and more amusingly, that I of all people consider them such), you addressed the actual point, that sharing the whole collection serves the greater good regardless of whether or not
  • So this is why I idle 24/7 in a vain attempt for a pithy sniper hat...
  • Learning that there is such a thing as the Obsessive Compulsive Society is really the best birthday present I could have gotten.
  • by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @12:39PM (#28159495)

    But game designers know that it's pretty damn easy to tap into this deep-rooted need to collect and accumulate. And like happy suckers we buy into it all the time, some to a greater degree than others.

    Game designers are just out to reel in suckers. Skinner boxes, treadmills, and obsessive compulsive triggers - anything to land them a pigeon. Yup. That's it. It wouldn't ever be because someone wants to build something they think might be fun.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Yewbert (708667)

      If the measure of success the game company values most is sales, and therefore the game designs that are emulated most closely in subsequent generations are the ones that sold the best, then these kinds of features (that 'reel in more suckers' by playing on psychological predilections) will evolve whether or not the game designers are conscious that they're using OCD triggers. Just, as the phrase goes, sayin'.

      • by _Sprocket_ (42527)
        I completely agree. My point was actually that game designers are simply doing what seems to them would be fun. That "fun" coincides with various psychological motivations is rather unsurprising happenstance. Unfortunately, my sarcasm got the better of me.
  • Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mmaniaci (1200061) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @12:43PM (#28159521)
    This is not some new thought or idea. Its survivalism and hasn't changed since... ever. Horde it up 'cause you may not have it tomorrow, and you still gotta eat. This trend in games is now obvious probably because of the popularity of WoW et. al. and how our "selves" are so easily transferred to an abstract, digital realm where we can horde and collect as long as there's stuff to horde and collect. For fuck's sake, people have been collecting and playing card games for decades. This is incredibly un-newsworthy.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rpillala (583965)

      The word you want is "hoard." I'm not trying to be snarky I just thought you would want to know for future reference.

      The effect in MMO's is magnified by the fact that it's possible for some objects to be permanently removed from the game. Most times I've seen this, people who already have something are allowed to keep it while no new copies of it will be spawned. In real life we have endangered species that are sometimes permanently removed, and there is a small (in number of people) trade for parts from

      • by Kjella (173770)

        In real life we have endangered species that are sometimes permanently removed, and there is a small (in number of people) trade for parts from those species. Partly for the rarity itself and partly I expect because the parts may not be available tomorrow, so to speak. This, however, is not for survival.

        Not to mention the antiques market, the art market, designer fashion and a ton of other businesses that sell almost as much on the uniqueness of what they're making opposed to any instrinsic quality of the product.

    • This is incredibly un-newsworthy.

      But it got a response :-) And that's the name of this game. Hoard those hits and trade 'em for ad revenue, heh, so they think..

    • There's a way in which virtual collection may actually satisfy a "need to hoard" (I would correct your misspelling as "horde," but it works too well with the WoW reference) in a productive way.

      Modern life has made a lot of once-healthy instincts unhealthy, and has taken away many of the opportunities to exercise them. Children once would learn by exploring open spaces without a lot of adult supervision; as those spaces diminish and our fears about children's safety increase, games provide an alternative spa

  • by jeffb (2.718) (1189693) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @12:48PM (#28159571)

    Oh, wait. [slashdot.org]

  • Morrowind (Score:5, Funny)

    by F34nor (321515) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @12:53PM (#28159621)

    Let me tell you about houses full of crap. Multiple sets of all the armors, weapons, and huge amounts of reagents all laid out on the floor in neat grids.

    My pride and joy was stealing the full set of dramora armor off of the guy who helps you with corpus disease. I made a low DPS dagger with huge magical armor damage and broke the armor off his body. Then I knocked him out bare handed and robbed him and charmed him back to friendly. Each item was enchanted with a variable stat increase. All decked out I was totally unstoppable.

    The best hoard was all the moon sugar in the game, which I ate all at once. When I ran and jumped it would load four or five games tiles before I hit the ground. It never wore off before I was bored of the game.

    I am replaying Ultima Underworld right now on DOSBOX and am fighting my self not to hoard because items have no effect in that game really and trade is useless. P.S. Where is the bandit's hideout behind the store room? I cannot find it at all.

    • You're not the only one who spent half of Morrowind picking up an object, moving your view ever so slightly to the side, then dropping said item. Then closing the Inventory screen, cursing that it was another inch off where it needed to be, and repeating the process again. And again.

      Oblivion is the only game in which I've found myself spending a pathetically long time trying to line up those fucking books so they will sit properly, or at least in some semblance of an order. Not being able to rotate items in

    • by Wraithlyn (133796)

      Heh. I am just starting down that road on Fallout 3. :) Misc items for inventions in here, extraneous apparel over there. Backup weapons and armor laid out nicely on shelves over here. Fridge stocked with booze and purified water, and heavy weapons laid out upstairs. Mini-nukes, my preciousss...

  • Um, finishing? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by maxume (22995) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @01:10PM (#28159765)

    I don't think I play games like Mario64 to 'collect' all the stars, I play until I think I have finished the content, the stars track that progress. Once the game is finished, the stars don't really have any meaning or other significance.

    This is very similar to filling in all the answers to a crossword, not so similar to making sure my T.V. Guide collection is complete.

    • Re:Um, finishing? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by artor3 (1344997) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @01:20PM (#28159829)

      But some people do play to collect all the stars. Now, I never played Mario 64, but in most games there are stars or flags or some other widget scattered all over the place, and collecting them is completely tangential to the plot. A normal play through might have you find 20% of them. But some people then go back to find every last one. Those are the sort of people being discussed here.

      • by arotenbe (1203922)

        Now, I never played Mario 64, but in most games there are stars or flags or some other widget scattered all over the place, and collecting them is completely tangential to the plot. A normal play through might have you find 20% of them. But some people then go back to find every last one. Those are the sort of people being discussed here.

        In fact, I would argue that Mario 64 is a terrible example. You need more than half the stars to finish the game (unless you're tool assisted [youtube.com]). Also, they aren't just random achievements--all the stars except the 100-coin and 8-red-coin ones are completely original.

    • A better example they could have used would be the Chaos gems from the Sonic series. Optional items won in bonus levels, they didn't serve much of an ingame purpose (until you collected all of them, but Super Sonic was kind of a gimick), but adorned your the main menu screen as a kind of trophey case.

    • by SharpFang (651121)

      Agreed. It's not about collecting all the stars.

      OTOH, carrying the basketball ball all the way through System Shock 2 is.

    • That sure is a bad example. Most star missions were basically new experiences, and were most often quite fun. There were some exceptions, like the blue coins in Sunshine.

      The again by that logic, completing a game just to have beaten it is on the same level. If the experience becomes repetetive and boring, which many games do after a few hours, then there should be no reason or motivation to finish. But many people do just that so they haven't got "gaps" in their "collection".

      The moral of this story is basic

  • by Xeriar (456730) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @01:37PM (#28159975) Homepage

    ...not the game.

    The box.

    I was offered $20.

    For the box.

    And would not part with it. ...help?

  • by Animats (122034) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @01:55PM (#28160115) Homepage

    I've never had much of a desire to own stuff. But I've never owned a broadcast TV in my whole life. I have a DVD player and a large flat-screen display, but no antenna or cable connection. Watching 20 minutes of commercials per hour is bad for you. Hours a day of "consume, consume, consume" has to have an effect.

    The "hoarding" mentality may come from overdosing on advertising.

    • Or it could come from survival instinct. Even just a generation or two ago people horded things that might be needed, food could be rationed, money could become worthless, stocks could crash and banks could fail. If I horded a large amount of gold in my house I would be relatively immune if the dollar suddenly became worthless rather then the person who had their life savings purely in cash. Today we have more insurances against that sort of stuff but it could still happen.
      • by FreakWent (627155)

        London, in the blitz. Hell of of England for the whole war.

        String, paper, cloth, tape, elastic, rubber, you name it. Shops were either blown to bits or had limited stock and high prices. There are no rubber plantations in the UK, and the only metals in quantity are tin, iron and lead. A very long list of other commodities had to be imported, and homeowners were encouraged to turn in frying pans to make aeroplanes from.

        If you can still find someone alive in a big city from then, like my dear Mum, they will

    • by brkello (642429)
      Uh, I really don't think so. I watch TV and don't have these issues. It has more to do with people wanting to have things when times are lean. Also, some people are competitive. They want to have what other people have but better..the whole keeping up with the Jones' mentality. You don't have TV channels yet you still consume movies and I am sure plenty of other items that you are not dependent on for survival.
  • by MaizeMan (1076255) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @01:59PM (#28160139) Homepage
    At least my pack rat nature has been channelled in digital things that can be stored on hard drives. Sure I spend 250 dollars last month upgrading because I'd filled every drive I owned, but I'm lucky.

    My dad accumulates books. Online used book stores like abebooks are the worst thing to ever happen to my mother. Now five or six books arrive in the mail most weeks from all over the country. Last time I was home pretty much every open wall in the house had vanished behind bookshelves.

    Hording in the digital age may still be expensive, but at least it takes up a lot less total volume in meatspace
    • Wailt til you get your own place and you intend on being there for a while, that's when you'll find out what you're really like for hoarding stuff. I'm terrible, though I have friends who are really light on what they own. Partly depends on your needs and interests I guess. Doing a house up is terrible for this...

      There always seems to be one more tool that needs to be bought to fix a simple DIY job and having a garage, oh that's a killer for keeping spare dust sheets, lengths of useful timber, etc....

      Sounds

      • by MaizeMan (1076255)
        Once I have the hard copy it's definitely hard to get rid of, so I definitely sympathize. When I graduated college, my parents informed me I couldn't continue to store my old books at their place (needed the space for my dad's books), and moving across country I couldn't take them with me.

        Since then I try to get digital copies, even if they cost more. Less space, and easier to find things. I'm also not a terrible organized person, so trying to find a book I knew I had a year ago could be frustrating.
        • sounds like you're a better man than me! nice one :-)

          One lesson I learnt was - don't use storage places, they are a waste of money. At one point I was due to go off to a project in Ghana for a year so I put my stuff into storage. Project didn't work out, six months later I pulled my stuff out of storage - and when I worked out how much I'd spent on storing it... well it would have been cheaper to sell/ throw away /give to friends on long term loan most of that stuff and just buy new stuff when I got it back

    • I currently have a ~1.36 TB raid 5 array (4 x "500 GB" disks) because I ran out of space on the ~840 GB array (4 x "300 GB" disks). Unfortunately a flaw in the pci bus of that machine makes it incapable of taking a gigabit network card or a second raid card, so I had to copy the data over 100 mbps ethernet.

      It wasn't a cheap upgrade, and the next one promises to be more expensive (when it becomes necessary), thanks to the fact that if the array exceeds 2 TB I'll need to buy a "64 bit" raid card.
      Despite the f

  • by Yvan256 (722131) on Sunday May 31, 2009 @03:13PM (#28160771) Homepage Journal

    Rule 284: Deep down, everyone's a Ferengi.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by JohnSearle (923936)
      Rule 10: Greed is eternal.

      but my favourite is...

      Rule 113: Always have sex with the boss.

      I wonder how that applies in the Ferrengi patriarchy where the women are expected, for the most part, to stay out of business.
  • by Rastl (955935)

    If you're prone to obsessive behaviours then you're going to be prone to them in games as well as in real life. I can't see how game designers are somehow bad for catering to this. As long as the game is playable without the need to collect all the widgets then they're actually just creating extra features.

    Speaking as someone who is prone to obsessive behaviours I can tell you that the most idiotic flash game can 'trap' me if I'm not on my guard. For me it isn't the need to collect widgets, it's the "One

    • by node 3 (115640)

      If you're prone to obsessive behaviours then you're going to be prone to them in games as well as in real life. I can't see how game designers are somehow bad for catering to this. As long as the game is playable without the need to collect all the widgets then they're actually just creating extra features.

      It's bad, at least potentially, for the very reason you outlined below: it's a trap.

      You say "catering", but it's also "exploiting". It's both. It's, as you point out, good in a way, but it's also bad in a way. People need to grow beyond the need to label things as completely good or completely bad (which is yet another trap). Most things are a mix of the two, and understanding the dynamics of that mixture (as you have, when you say that you have to be on your guard, for example) is crucial for making people

      • by genner (694963)

        People need to grow beyond the need to label things as completely good or completely bad (which is yet another trap).

        Is that a bad thing?

    • by maglor_83 (856254)

      But empty space on the bookshelf looks bad.

    • by Culture20 (968837)

      We've even got ~gasp~ empty space on the bookshelves.

      You know what would go well there? More $ITEM.

    • by turing_m (1030530)

      One last thought for all of you folks who have a ton of $ITEM in your house.

      The last time I threw out $ITEM I ended up needing it later at more time and expense than I wanted. Meanwhile it costs nothing to sit in a box somewhere. It may as well sit there as in a landfill.

      Hoarding gets a bad rap. The hoarding instinct is well honed over the centuries from when all the energy we could use was energy that crops could absorb in a year from the sun (e.g. human or literal horse power). Making stuff was expensi

    • It can work the other way as well. I have seen many people who are compulsive minimalistic and are obsessive about tidyness. They will often want things that they once threw away, sometimes having to buy a new one. Or they spend hours every week, almost like a schedule, just to minimize perceived "junk".
      While clearing a house can be a daunting task, it's pretty easy to underestimate the amount of posessions a household collects throughout their life. It's unreasonable to expect people to constantly sift thr

  • The need to acquire things, more than any other single thing, comes down to one basic human need; to feel as though we are, in some way, superior to our fellow man.

    Blizzard understood that implicitly, and three of their most successful games, Diablo, Diablo 2, and World of Warcraft, were essentially based on that principle from the ground up.

    A multiplayer game doesn't need complex or innovative gameplay to be compelling, at all. All it really needs to do is provide ways for a player to think that he has a

  • I was going to say this is correlation not causation. However, it's not even correlation. The two aren't related. Achievements are motivational because off of a sense of accomplishment, giving a person a positive sense of self-worth (or introjected worth, external acceptance in other words). Obsessive behaviours are not the same at all. I can't speak for hoarders but as far as "checkers" go, it tends to be motivated by fear, from a chemical imbalance according to the medical theory, although more modern thi
  • I saw this news item on my iphone before driving my late-model car to my condo by the lake, which I go to on weekends to wind down from the 14 hours days I put in during the week (plus weekend time remotely at the condo) so that I make enough to maintain this lifestyle.
    I can't believe people will do all that in the game just to accumulate stuff.

  • by Thoughts from Englan (1212556) on Monday June 01, 2009 @03:57AM (#28165417)
    For the Horde!
  • I found in Balder's Gate, (one of the last games I seriously tried to play), that I enjoyed trying to build a strong and efficient character with effective tools/weapons, but that after a while I saw the pattern of more difficult challenges increasing the demand for more powerful weapons/tools. When the pattern became obvious to my base, automatic nature; (intellectually I knew from the outset how such games were designed), I lost all interest in the game because it felt repetitive and the story was uninte

  • hmm (Score:2, Informative)

    by Fac51 (819372)
    it's better than collecting STD's
  • Does anyone else find this trend of item/achievement hording to be troubling?

    I wish I could denigrate and demean those who waste away their online lives pursing the virtual carrots on virtual sticks, but then I remembered that I logged 40+ hours in the last two weeks trying to unlock the new spy & sniper weapons in a Team Fortress 2 content expansion pack... Now I've got them, and I've played with them for at least a few hours, but now I feel no reason to play the game by myself much anymore. (I will st

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