30 December 2010

Psychology of Play, Social Games and Game Design - by Michael Fergusson

      Posted 11/25/10 06:44:00 pm  

Can social game designers learn something from child’s play? You be the judge. I came across an interesting social game design article from Mike Sellers and his blog, Online Alchemy, and I thought I’d share the link with you. 

Sellers’ blog post examines the close relationship between the emergence of gameplay in popular social games and the path of individual psychological development of play.  Why is this so interesting from a game design and business perspective?

If you’ve been following my blog, then you know how interested I am in the meaning of play and its fundamental role in human behavior. It’s not just for fun, but it’s a biologically based, evolutionary contribution to human survival and development, a crucial vehicle forcultural learning and cultural transmission.

Sellers' blog post discusses a 1930′s study published by Mildred Parten looking at the development of play in children. Simply put, there are 6 stages of play that correspond to a child’s physical, cognitive and social development. Here are some the developmental stages of individual play:

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