Games & business – lecture

This was a lecture developed just for pre-sessional students at the University of Southampton, in 2018. The aim of the lecture was to give them an overview of the application of games in business contexts. The students were mainly from China and they were applying for several masters degrees in Design and Management topics.

For this lecture, I have developed 2 learning outcomes and very simple and easy concepts for them to think about. Considering that these students are at least between 20-30 years old, they definitely have played any time of games and might play games on their phones (maybe even during the lecture – hope not?). But the good thing is that they can relate to games and they have already an interest in business, branding or marketing subjects. Therefore, the lecture needed to mix these 2 expectations and contexts.

Did it work? I think it did. I’ve asked from feedback from the tutors who were in the lecture room with me and the students appreciated that I also showed them advantages and disadvantages of games & business. Showing the 2 sides of the coin is always good for students so that they can see the 2 sides of the argument and then figure out which side they agree with (or create a new side – who knows?). The whole point was to introduce this topic and provoke them to think on possibilities.

I will definitely improve this slide deck in the future, but at the moment it was good and I’ve decided to add it here! :)

#6 [usability review]: Good Pizza, Great Pizza

As part of my challenge of gathering 30 game usability reviews, I’ve been collecting some mobile games (and other games if I have the opportunity to play them) and writing about them as a cool exercise (why not?).

Good Pizza, Great Pizza is a mobile “cooking” game. In the game you have to cook your pizzas for specific customer needs, just like a typical cooking game. Players need to work against time and make as much profit as they can so they can upgrade their restaurant. See gameplay below.

Good Pizza, Great Pizza trailer and gameplay

Note: in the case of this review I have considered the reviews in the app store to base my comments together with heuristics mentioned in my initial post.

Good points

a) Not a typical cooking game. By looking at the reviews in the iOS app store, it was possible to see that many comments were positive towards the characters and the “look & feel” of the game.

b) No IAP options. Again, one comment in the reviews mentioned that are no IAPs in this game and that makes it different from others like Cooking Fever and other famous cooking games.

c) Character’s personality. Based on the reviews, the NPCs personalities were crucial for the game to be considered as fun. However, players mentioned that they would not let their children play because the characters were “very rude”. Although this could be seen as a problem it has still good points since it attracted a specific demographics.

d) Top-down view and controls. With a top down view the movements to make the pizza are different. You have to spread the cheese and tap to add ingredients. This gives a variety on the gameplay in general. Also, the UI works well and it is easy to see the impact of the actions in the general satisfaction bar. However, it might be difficult for some players who might need to zoom in a bit to read.

Things to improve

a) Control the rudeness of the characters. Perhaps in the menu, players could have a meter to control the “rudeness” of the characters. Or maybe this could be something that the player could unlock after a few points.

b) Balance between upgrade and gameplay. Since it is a repetitive game, it can become a bit boring if the upgrades are difficult to achieve!

c) Business model. Since there are no IAPs in the game, devs could think about how they are monetising from this game since it is a free game. Of course, there are ads between some interactions, but perhaps players could have the chance to give a “tip” to the devs. This could fit the narrative of the game.

d) It is comics sans. It looks like comics sans and it might be. No problem (apparently) with this font, but perhaps it could have an option of not having too much text in the HUD area. This could be very difficult to read, especially if you are targeting “older” demographics.

e) More options for clients. NPCs asked for vegetarian pizzas, and many other options. What about adding more of these crazy diets, low-carb, keto, vegan, pescatarian, and many others? It could give an extra element of “fun” for players. This could give an extra difficult for the game and comments that players could relate to.

Overall, it was a fun game to play and from this review many of the reasons are due to the NPCs and the visuals. Hope devs consider improving the game, it has a lot of potential!

Digital/Physical: PLAY event at Mother, London: thoughts and insights

On the 4th May 2017, I was invited to participate in a very insightful discussion at Mother, in London. The event was organised by Derek Yates, from WSA, Mother and Sennep. Dr. Seth Gidings was chairing the sessions and the panel was composed of: Derek Yates, Jaygo Bloom, Adam Procter, Vanissa Wanick (me! yay!), Carleigh Morgan, Bobbie Allsop, Mink Ette, Sennep. All super designers and thinkers! We received an email with some really difficult questions and I would like to share with you my thoughts and ideas :) Here it goes!

1.  Ask each speaker to introduce her or himself, and to succinctly complete the following phrase: ‘Exploring the playful relationship between the physical and the digital is important to me because….’
I’m Vanissa Wanick, Brazilian UX designer and now PhD in games design from Winchester School of Art, with a thesis in advergames across cultures. And ‘Exploring the playful relationship between the physical and the digital is important to me because….’Because the physical and the digital are always in conversation and it is very difficult to find boundaries between each other. It is important because we are changing our relationship with both physical and digital and they are becoming one thing. Thus, imagine that as a child you could play with spaces and anything could become a “toy”. Now this extends to the digital; children swipe paper thinking that it would function just like a tablet. I’ve seen kinds swiping a TV thinking that it was a huge iPad.

2.  Communication design is generally understood as underpinned by storytelling. What are the implications for your ideas and practice in a digital environment in which narrative is opened up and transformed by games and play? What is the role of the creative practitioner in designing or managing the open-ended, social, collaborative and emergent possibilities of playful user experience? What kinds of control do you want to keep, and what are you willing to cede to the player?
A vey huge question. I think it is hard to keep control – or maybe we need to define control in this digital environment. In the case of games, as designers, we have a huge responsibility, since people could change their behaviours by interacting with games. However, there is another side of the coin – games function like a conversation. It is difficult to predict how the player will react, since we are not designing an experience, but we are creating interactions, possibilities. However, since we started the conversation, it is possible that as designers we could function as guides, or as scientists. Who knows? As for the narrative, I think it is all transmedia, it is everywhere and it is how we communicate anyway.

3.  Play is celebrated for its creative potential – it is seen as open, free, social, imaginative, emergent, and even subversive or transgressive. What are the ethical and political implications of deploying games and playful digital technologies for commercial ends: to attract and retain consumers’ attention, to data mine and track movement on and offline, to gamify everyday life?
Wow, that’s a big challenge. First, can we gamify everything? If so, do we need to gamify everything? Why transforming everything into a game? Playing a game is not trivial – it is hard and that’s why it is fun. So it is not because it is easy that it is fun. Another thing is the data mining and data economy. This is everywhere and people can’t hide. Of course, brands can access all these data, which could emerge from interactions with playful and gameful environments and influence people’s minds. One thing to think again is the responsibility that we have as designers. Research has shown that children can’t identify a persuasive content (e.g. advertising) in games. Thus, they think it is fun playing with M&Ms or whatever the product – but in that case they can’t see as advertising strategy. Also, games can function as transgressive and subversive. I’m quite interested in subversive mechanics, in which you actually don’t win – you never win and you keep playing – or you use other political elements in the game to make people question some aspects. Newsgames and critical play are there. I think there is a lot to think. I also think that we should consider values in games and this should be one topic to take into account while designing games.

And that was it! Not sure if you agree with me or if you have anything else to add, but please feel free! :)
Until the next event!

Digital/ Physical: PLAY
The Internet of Toys: Implications of increased connectivity and convergence of physical and digital play in young children

Digital/ Physical: Play from Curtis Rayment on Vimeo.

Gamification or game design?

Sometimes we still struggle to situate our work in terms of gamification or game design. If gamification is a design process, then game design is also a design process. As known, gamification is about non-gaming contexts but serious games is also about non-leisure contexts. The difference is purely the whole vs. parts (i.e. games design elements) discussion. Gamification is about game design elements and serious games are whole systems, but also composed of elements. So, in this scenario, can gamification become the whole system after design? This is so complicated!

This is not a question about the “magic circle”. I think that if we go towards the magic circle definition, then it will depend on what the player defines as “game”. This means that this “magic” could happen at anytime and anywhere. I’ve read a paper saying that “game” could depend on the perception of the player. So if an user interacts with a system that has game “elements”, it is up to him/her to consider it as a game. That could sound plausible, but what about the design process? What makes gamification different? We could talk about purposes and objectives here. Some might say that gamification is about motivating people to change their behaviour, but then, what about games for change? Aren’t they designed for the same purpose?

The discussion could go further. In serious games we might see heroes and stories attached to the medium. Most of the times, they are characters and they “live” in that game. In card or board games, they are there, but in other formats. In gamification, maybe those heroes could be JUST “real” people. They are what they are. It looks like in gamification the context is the actual main element. This is why DEFINING and INTEGRATING the context is one important aspect. Bringing this context to the interaction could make all the difference and probably shortening the bridge between real-digital. This could also make people change their behaviours in a way that everything is integrated.

Screen Shot 2016-04-17 at 11.05.04

The line between gamification and game design is still very thin. But maybe if we consider the context as a major influencer, maybe it can become easier to integrate best practices of gamification. And this is not about points, badges and leaderboards.

Some might argue that gamification is about extrinsic rewards. Let’s think. Can games be about extrinsic rewards or just playing and having fun with it? Can serious games be about extrinsic rewards or is it about value and purpose inside the game? Reward is strongly related to the routine that takes us to get that reward. But, again, the reward requires MEANING, it requires integration with a context. This is why Deterding’s paper from 2011, of “situated motivational affordances” could be interesting in this scenario. Thus, mapping the context is crucial.

The whole point, however, is the understanding of the design process. So, what is the difference between gamification and game design? The integration of the context, perhaps. And what is the difference between gamification and serious game design? Context? Ummm. It looks like gamification tends to be employed in existing systems or tasks. Hence, the verb “gamify” – which I don’t like that much. I think that maybe the problem is in there. Serious game design sounds like the design process is starting from scratch, whereas gamification sounds like we are adjusting an existing interaction. Maybe this implies the integration of CONTEXT and improvement or creation of systems.

There is also the concept of gameful design, which is actual making things more like a game (i.e. gamefulness), rather than just playfulness. In September 2011, Deterding et al. came up with an interesting way to see gamification. It is about the strategy (gamification), being different from a design “goal” (gameful design).

“Gameful design and “gamification” frame the same extension of phenomena through different intensional properties – as the design strategy of using game design elements (gamification) or the design goal of designing for gamefulness (gameful design)” – Deterding et al. (2011)

This discussion could be going on and on, forever, like the chicken-egg issue. Gameful design and gamification sound very similar! It is also hard to define those approaches. Isn’t the goal of gamification to transform things more like a game? Maybe the name is the issue. As I said before, gamification sounds like adjusting existing things and transforming elements into game design elements. Gameful design sounds more like people centred. It is and it will be about PEOPLE. So, what is game design, gamification and gameful design for you? To me, it is a bit like the drawing. Serious game design/game design has a system with defined lines and objects. Gamification has thin lines and real/digital are in the same context. Gameful design is a way to understand people’s needs and abilities in this scenario that involves people’s interaction with a context.

Definitions of gamification and gameful design are still in development. As a researcher, you need to define those terms before starting your work. This is hard and it has been a journey to me. Now I think I can get the idea of this concept. And you? What do you think?


Deterding, S., Sicart, M., Nacke, L., O’Hara, K., & Dixon, D. (2011, May). Gamification. using game-design elements in non-gaming contexts. In CHI’11 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 2425-2428). ACM.

Deterding, S. (2011, May). Situated motivational affordances of game elements: A conceptual model. In Gamification: Using Game Design Elements in Non-Gaming Contexts, a workshop at CHI.

Huotari, K., & Hamari, J. (2012, October). Defining gamification: a service marketing perspective. In Proceeding of the 16th International Academic MindTrek Conference (pp. 17-22). ACM.

Deterding, S., Dixon, D., Khaled, R., & Nacke, L. (2011, September). From game design elements to gamefulness: defining gamification. In Proceedings of the 15th international academic MindTrek conference: Envisioning future media environments (pp. 9-15). ACM.

I’m studying games design, not gamification

This post is just to avoid the usual misconceptions between gamification and games. Although the names are very similar, they are not the same thing. In fact, they are not the same thing at all. There are three words that address gamification: motivation, persuasion and games. Not to mention, gamification is often discussed as a Design strategy. I must admit that in that case, I totally agree. Gamification is a design process and a design choice. However, in which way?
Gamification as game design elements?
Gamification had its first definition as the utilisation of game design elements into non-gaming contexts. Well, we have been using games in non-gaming contexts through serious games and persuasive games. Although the idea is actually the implementation of those game mechanics, the focus on the game design elements pushes the application of gamification towards game-like activities. This approach makes everything look like a game and in fact, it might be not exactly like a game at all. Gamification goes beyond that.

Gamification as a tool of persuasion or motivation?
Right, because gamification tends to make you do things that are good for you but you don’t feel like doing them, it can be related to persuasion, right? However, this is like the two sides of the same coin. Is it persuasion or motivation? Where is the line that divides persuasion from motivation? The answer here might be an issue of goals. If I want to do something, but I lack of motivation, then it is motivation. If I don’t even know that I want to do something, then I need to be persuaded. However, that difference between one and the other needs to be refined. People mention persuasive technologies a lot in this case. Things like providing the right access and ability to perform a task and some triggers may function to persuade someone to do something. But, yet, again, is it motivation or persuasion? Or maybe motivation that drives persuasion?
I think that gamification might actually try to do both – if possible. But it might have an order. First, you might persuade someone to do something. Then you motivate them to keep doing it. It is possible that the gamification strategy could have two approaches at the same time – why not. Or it may vary according to the context (health, education and so on). Or even better – it will vary according to the PEOPLE.

And what about the game-side of the gamification?
Personally, I’m starting to think that the name is the main problem. It should be design for motivation or design for persuasion. Or maybe people really need to explain better – myself probably. I must admit that I’ve done some mistakes as well, mainly because of the name.

My research is NOT about gamification
Now I need to make a point. I’m not studying gamification. In fact, I’m very far from that. I’m looking at advergames, which are indeed games for advertising purposes. I’m not researching in-games advertising, if you thought about it just because of the name. I’m looking at advergames, games that are TOTALLY shaped for the advertising message. Are those games brand-related? Sometimes. Are those games persuasive? Yes, totally. Are those games gamification? NOT AT ALL. If we look from the lenses of persuasion, it may have some similarities. Advergames are created to change consumers attitudes, make them share the message with others and make them remember the product or something before making a decision. But gamification has motivation as one of the main principles. And it really feels that one of the main triggers here needs to come from the individual. Games are, of course, amazing engaging tools and it is a fact that they can really change the world. This is why gamification was born from the game-design elements. BUT, the aim and nature of gamification is motivation – and can be combined with persuasion in some cases. For marketing, for example, it is almost impossible to motivate someone to buy a product. You persuade someone to buy a product. Moreover, advergames are games – this means that they are a WHOLE game with ALL the elements functioning together. Even if you break the elements and change them, they will be always games, with game mechanics, interface design, story and so on. And if you manipulate one element of the game, you are still working in the game perspective. So, because of that, I can say – I’m NOT researching gamification. And it might be very difficult to explore gamification for advertising and marketing.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that I don’t have any interest whatsoever in gamification. I actually want to keep discussing this aspect and I really want to get involved in the Design process and research. But till now, I just need to make myself clear. :)

photo credit: Goomba Clay Figure from Nintendo’s Super Mario via photopin (license)

What game designers can learn from product placement?

Yes, product placement. Let’s try to paint the picture. You’re watching a movie or a soap opera, and then a brand is just in the background or the main actor is interacting with a known product. This is product placement. Although this strategy is mainly related to advertising purposes, game designers could learn a lot from it. I can tell you how.

When dealing with camera movements in your game, you have to think what are the things that you want people to see. What do you want your player to see and why this is important?

Product placement can happen in different ways. First, it could be done in the background, as “passive” object or in the central of the screen, as “active” object. When thinking about camera, it’s like some products are far from our point of view, but the way the camera is positioned it is still possible to see the brand. In that case, the camera is placed strategically in order to show the features of the product.

See the example of the Wilson with Tom Hanks in the movie Cast Away. In that case, the “wilson” has a strong presence and influence in the movie.
In a game, this could be very similar to the objects that you have to collect in order to succeed in the game. It could be the same way as looking as objects in the game and finding the necessary items in order to progress in the game.


Another way to see placements is in the background.Of course, you need to be careful. If you fail on giving a more “natural” way to see objects and aspects inside the game, they could be like bad product placements. And no one likes bad product placements as they could sound very fake. Everything needs to be in total harmony. This is why placements tend to follow the narrative of the movie plot. Therefore, narrative and storyline are strongly relevant in this case.


Camera strategies
In 3D games in particular, it is possible to think about camera positions that could include more information to the player. Last week, I was in a workshop about Unity and camera positions and it was very good to see some examples.

Over-the-shoulder: The actor is in the front of the game. This can create a very close relationship with the character. This is the 3rd person camera. And it can work very well with tank controls. Depending on the position of the camera, it can become First-Person. Very useful for narratives centred on the character. Placements could be explored in the environment.

Isometric: You can choose for isometric camera, particularly if you want the player to get an overview of the game. Placements related to the narrative could be employed in objects around the environment. However, as the player might see the bigger picture, placements should be sutil. Small objects could do the job.

Zoom: You can also use the zoom action to see more details in gaming interfaces. Things like zooming in a battle, for example. But again, this might be useful for 2D games or isometric interfaces.

Camera positioning is a design decision. The way you start deciding about your narrative, the camera controls should be included in the list of choices in the game design process.
I actually didn’t realise how this influence A LOT the experience in the game and how this is actually related to the narrative. Sometimes we make choices in the automatic mode, but camera controls should be thought in more details. Maybe some elements from movies should be included – and maybe placements in movies should be analysed and also explored in the games as a narrative strategy – not just a product placement.

Read more:
Burgun, K. (2012). Game design theory: A new philosophy for understanding games. CRC Press.
Cristel A. Russell (1998) ,”Toward a Framework of Product Placement: Theoretical Propositions”, in NA – Advances in Consumer Research Volume 25, eds. Joseph W. Alba & J. Wesley Hutchinson, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 357-362.
A History of Product Placement
How Does Product Placement Work?
Toward a Framework of Product Placement: Theoretical Propositions
11 Essential Camera Techniques in Filmmaking – With Animated Images
How to position the camera for isometric assets


Thoughts on gaming bubbles

What makes you play a certain game? Although games are voluntary, they might have something that makes you think “I want to play it!” or “Can’t wait to experience that!” or “Amazing graphics, that’s my type of game” and so on. So many reasons to play a game.
From my personal experience, I’ve played games that people suggested, sometimes just to compete against my friends. I’ve played other games that evoke a certain memory from past experiences. And, in the middle of all the possibilities, we have game genres and types of players.
Player types are ways to categorise players and “label” them into different characteristics. This may work for some strategies, but can we really label ourselves into one single type of player?
On the other hand, we have the game genres: arcade, adventure, RPG, Candy Crush clones and so on. So many genres and possibilities. Let’s take the “clones” as example. Candy Crush is a puzzle type game of matching 3 elements, similar to the old Bejeweled. Actually, if we see in the app stores, there are a lot of clones of “popular games”. But do people play those games because of similarity?
Now, considering the mobile games that are in the app store so far, we can see a large amount of games designed around a movie. Let’s take the example of Minion Rush. It is exactly like Subway Surfers – another popular game. But it has the Minions everywhere. It’s the same as playing the bouncing balls type game from the movie Inside Out. Maybe if you’re a fan of the movie, you might download the game.
Considering this, we could be living in different bubbles that merge in different ways:

  • Game genre fan bubble: players that love this type of game and that’s it. “I play puzzle games because I love puzzles” – or maybe the player types – but this is another discussion
  • “Theme” fan bubble: players that love the characters or the story of the theme. “I love playing Minion games”.
  • Social bubble: players that play games to be part of a group. I’ve lived that – and from the stories that I’ve heard, this might be very true
  • My own bubble: I play games because I want to have fun. A very simple bubble of individual objectives (not getting into detail here)

Thus, we have something very similar to this:
Of course it seems very simple to put people in one bubble. The idea is not that. Imagine that those bubbles are “alive” and moving to each other. They are not separated bubbles and they don’t have closed lines.
The idea behind this is that it is very difficult to label players. They might change their objectives or preferences along time – and this is perfectly understandable.
Many things could be related to those bubbles. In this case, it is a combination of game characteristics that could make people prefer one type of game and another is someone’s context or personal preferences. What makes people play games? Is this just an individual action or does the game itself provide this action? Why not both? One satisfy the other!
I think that the idea of the “fan” should be analysed. As games are cultural artefacts – why not explore the culture of the fan of games? Here we go. I will leave the thoughts with you.

Colour blind mode: a way to include more players into the game

Playing a game is more than just connecting your devices with a new system. It’s being part of a context that makes sense, a magical world, full of new experiences, stories, characters and challenges.

The way colour blind people perceive this image

For a game designer, it shouldn’t be different. In the book Rules of Play, the authors Salen and Zimmerman argue that the creation of meaning (and, in that case, a meaningful play) should be the goal of a successful game. So, considering this, the role of the designer is to build significant systems, that will be the encountered by players and then, create experiences.

Now imagine the scenario. You’re a game designer and you have to create a game that is suitable for colour blind people. How would you proceed? And why?

First, it’s known that are lots of levels of colour blindness. People that have this problem can’t perceive the colours very well. As a designers, we could work in a palette of colours that are considered as “safe“. Or there is another process that is adding symbols to each colour, the Coloradd, that tries to translate the colours into forms. Designers can also transform their computer into a colour blind mode, using tools like ColorOracle, that create a simulation of the environment.
However, is that possible to create a colour blind mode to a game and not compromise the system?
Well, Supermagical is a game that tried to do this. Created by a japanese company called Gala Pocket, the story is about Nina (a cute witch) and her evil sisters, living in the world full of magic and colourful monsters. The mechanics of the game are a mixture of different worlds (levels) and matching colours. It seems fun, right? More than that.
Supermagical is a game full of surprises and the best one was the color blind mode. But how did they manage that? The game uses aspects of the default interface, adding icons for colour blind (as the gameplay is like “matching colours and elements”). With that, the gameplay basis is not affected.

default version

However the experience might be still different. For players that see colours without any problem, this is just colour matching. But, for players that are colour blind, the basics is matching icons. The initiative is good, because it includes more people into the gameplay, transforming them into participants of this magical world. The aspect of “inclusion” is part of the meaningful experience. Why? Because the game can understand people’s skills and limits and can also create an environment that matches the player’s context.


version for colour blind

This is why a meaningful gameplay should take as principle not only rules, environment, culture, structure, mechanics and design elements. It should concentrate also in the skills of the player. This is what we call as “flow”. Flow is a concept very used in games, as an aspect of success or well designed gameplay experience, when you “lose time” or “forget to eat, because it’s so immersed into the game”. What we know too is that flow it’s the relationship between challenges and skills of the player, where everything should be balanced.

So, is Supermagical a good case of games for colour blind? Let’s say that yes, it is. At some point it includes more people to the game but some aspects are still not the same (e.g. inclusion of symbols). And maybe it won’t be. Who knows? Perhaps it should be different anyway. What we can see is that this is a good case study of games that encompasses more people and this concept should be adopted by games designers in the whole world. Just because playing together is more fun!

Further reading
Why games need color blind modes – see SimCity with simulated color blindness
Flow in games
Why all designers need to understand color blindness
Tips for Designing for Colorblind Users

Creating meaningful interactions through games [#isa2012]

Yesterday, I posted about Prototyping experiences. Last week we had a conference about interaction design(#ISA2012) in São Paulo and I decided to make separated posts about the talks.

During the third talk of the day, Olli Leno, explained why the future of games is emotional and how we can relate experiences and cognition.


Meaningful playability

We create meaning from the quest for more emotional computer games, transforming games into playable artifacts. Olli Leno says that emotions define the way we relate to experiences, that’s why it’s important to design meaningful and emotional playability.
The future of games is emotional, not technological. Games are in pre-Citizen-Kane Era. They need to be reinvented in terms of content and address some issues from the real world. You need to feel the game as you are feeling the real world.

Playing is believing
Play is a primal mental action and emotions are judgments and interpretations of the world. The more we care, stronger is the emotion. This is known as a relative intensity.
The origins of the emotions in play is the interpretation of the game. The system’s content is the object of emotion.

Engagement and context

Caring about is a necessary condition for emotional judgment. So, why do players care? They do it because of threats of violence, rules, goals, challenges… Therefore if the challenge is right, the game is fun.
Games can also transform the context and its artifacts. Playable tools and elements can be meaningful if we create playable forms from this context. For example: a pinball machine it’s a game that became material.

Game-rules x rules
The players can get a positive description of the game behavior or rules that they need to incorporate. We are responsible for the freedom we enjoy and choose.

The possibility of failure makes playability
The GAME OVER meaning is that, you can fail in your quest. What makes Tetris playable? That you can lose. Failure is about significance. It provides a baseline for caring about in-game objects.
The Sims, for example, is a sandbox and it has no pre-defined goals but lots of opportunities to fail (like setting fire into the kitchen and letting your Sims to die)

But how to create caring?
Players need to survive in the game world. This creates a fear of failure that moves the game forward and gives an emotional commitment to the scenario.
The context became material and meaningful, so the players don’t want to lose the game, because it’s important to them to maintain this relationship.

Interaction through meaning
So when we create emotions through games, it’s possible to understand and offer more experiences for the players through meaningful choices. In order to create a complete interaction, we need to consider the logic of caring, emotional cognition and feedback.

On simulation, aesthetics and play: Artifactual Playground
Bringing emotions to video games
What is Love?
Social psychology
Emotions about the Deniable/Undeniable: Sketch for a Classification of Game Content as Experienced

photo credit: Art of Video Games Exhibit 15104 via photopin (license)