Stop sniggering at the back.
A good post over at Creating Passionate Users. Building on research into how, neurologically speaking, video games involve people, it asks what lessons we can learn from this when it comes to creating engaging experiences in other areas. There's even a handy list of 13 tips (although don't try to do them all, or you'll probably cause brain meltdown):
- Discovery: User experience as exploration of new territory
- Challenge: User experience as obstacles to overcome, goals lying just beyond current skill and knowledge levels
- Narrative: User experience as story arc (user on hero's journey) and character identification
- Self-expression: User experience as self-discovery and creativity
- Social framework: User experience as an opportunity for interaction/fellowship with others
- Cognitive Arousal: User experience as brain teaser
- Thrill: User experience as risk-taking with a safety net
- Sensation: User experience as sensory stimulation
- Triumph: User experience as opportunity to kick ass
- Flow: User experience as opportunity for complete concentration, extreme focus, lack of self-awareness
- Accomplishment: User experience as opportunity for productivity and success
- Fantasy: User experience as alternate reality
- Learning: User experience as opportunity for growth and improvement
Ties in very nicely with Steven Johnson's book, 'Everything Bad is Good for You', which I'm reading at the moment. And it's well worth picking up a copy (it's much more than the apologetic for trash culture that some commentators suggested). The thesis? That popular culture is becoming more complex, and that this is stimulating our mental capacity...much as the CPU post alludes to.
Just to continue on down this path for a while, Gareth at Brand New has recently posted on the same topic, taking Lost as his example (series 2 about to arrive in the UK at last!!!). Which mentions a post on Steven Johnson's own blog about the rise in complexity and interconnectedness (did you see what I did there).