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Valued Actions VS Goals (in gaming)

Posted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 1:48 am
by J T
(this will relate to games. wait for it)

So, some psychologists make distinctions between values and goals and valued actions. Values are what you care about, and are process-oriented in nature. They are ongoing; a way of being. This is distinguished from goals which are an end point. So, I value learning, but I have a goal to get a PhD degree. The value stays even after the goal is accomplished. Given that we don't always live our lives in a way that is consistent with our values, there is also the notion of valued actions, which is when what you do matches what your values are.

So, I was talking with someone about that today and I began thinking about how this might relate to games, because I'm a big nerd and I like to relate everything back to videogames. Anyway, so I started thinking that games that just have goals are kind of boring unless you also value what you are doing to obtain those goals. I have no reason to care about getting a high score, or collecting 100 stars, or any other sort of gaming goal unless the goal somehow connects to valued action. I was really impressed with the indie shmup Jamestown because it made me care about points and high scores since it had gameplay bonuses for raking high scores. I cared about getting 100 stars in Mario 64 because it was the first 3D platformer I had played and I simply enjoyed running around and exploring this new kind of world.

I guess I'm just thinking that a bunch of goals in a game is simply bad game design if it isn't tied to valued action. You need to feel motivated by what your character is doing, not by where they are going. Either the gameplay is pleasurable, or the storyline has you doing things that you want your character to do. Or maybe I'm overthinking things (as I've been known to do) and this would have been better in the "random gaming thoughts" thread.

Re: Valued Actions VS Goals (in gaming)

Posted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 3:13 am
I like the open Sandbox approach to games, but then do want to see goals that in itself is a value to obtain, the obstacles to reach that goal. Sometimes I want to collect every "Mario Star", to maybe unlock something such as a beta screen shot or a new hidden level to play. So for me the 100% star collecting has reward, more when there is a prize at the end "goal".