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Game dynamics that support snacking, not feasting

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Alexandrovsky, D., Friehs, M., Birk, M. V., Yates, R. K., & Mandryk, R. L. (2019). Game dynamics that support snacking, not feasting. In CHI PLAY '19: Proceedings of the Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play (pp. 573-588). New York, New York, USA: ACM Press. doi:10.1145/3311350.3347151.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000A-B4A8-D
Player experience research tends to focus on immersive games that draw us into a single play session for hours; however, for casual games played on mobile devices, a pattern of brief daily interaction---called snacking ---may be most profitable for companies and most enjoyable for players. To inform the design of snacking games, we conducted a content analysis of game mechanics in successful commercial casual games known to foster this pattern. We identified five single-player game dynamics: Instant Rewards, Novelty, Mission Completion, Waiting, and Blocking. After situating them in theories of motivation, we developed a game in which game mechanics that foster each dynamic can be included individually, and conducted two studies to establish their relative efficacy in fostering the behavioural pattern of snacking, finding significant potential in Novelty and Waiting. Our work informs the design of games in which regular and brief interaction is desired.