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Glued to Games: How Video Games Draw Us in and Hold Us Spellbound (New Directions in Media) [Hardcover]

Scott Rigby , Richard M. Ryan
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

May 2010 New Directions in Media
With video game sales in the billions and anxious concerns about their long-term effects growing louder, Glued to Games: How Video Games Draw Us In and Hold Us Spellbound brings something new to the discussion. It is the first truly balanced research-based analysis on the games and gamers, addressing both the positive and negative aspects of habitual playing by drawing on significant recent studies and established motivational theory. Filled with examples from popular games and the real experiences of gamers themselves, Glued to Games gets to the heart of gaming's powerful psychological and emotional allure-the benefits as well as the dangers. It gives everyone from researchers to parents to gamers themselves a clearer understanding the psychology of gaming, while offering prescriptions for healthier, more enjoyable games and gaming experiences.

Frequently Bought Together

Glued to Games: How Video Games Draw Us in and Hold Us Spellbound (New Directions in Media) + Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World + Fun Inc.: Why games are the 21st Century's most serious business
Price For All Three: £35.38

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 186 pages
  • Publisher: Praeger Publishers Inc (May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0313362246
  • ISBN-13: 978-0313362248
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.7 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 88,882 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"This accessible survey of the psychology of video games serves as a useful introduction. Summing Up: Recommended." - Choice "As games mature, and the average age of gamers continues to rise, we can hope that game scholarship will evolve as well, and Glued to Games is a good step in that direction." -

About the Author

Scott Rigby, PhD is founder and president of Immersyve, Inc., a research and consulting group specializing in the psychology of virtual worlds and interactive technologies. In addition to publishing scholarly research on human motivation, Dr. Rigby has himself developed interactive applications for entertainment (Sony, Warner Brothers), education (The Smithsonian Institute), and health care. Richard M. Ryan is a clinical psychologist, and professor of psychology, psychiatry and education at the University of Rochester. He is a cofounder of Self-Determination Theory, and has published well over 300 scholarly articles in the areas of human motivation, personality development and applied psychology.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I read this as part of my academic study and found it a compelling read. Whilst it retained academic references to help with my further studies it was also written in an accessible style in the manner of better quality popular science books. So, in summary: a great read for parents of young gamers, gamers themselves, teachers instructors and educationalists and anyone with an academic interest in this area. I wish all my text references were as good.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful, informative, surprising 16 July 2011
By M. L Lamendola - Published on
The authors did a good job with this book. I like the fact they make a non-gamer reader feel included by explaining gaming-specific items rather than leaving the reader feel clueless. On this particular topic, I had scant knowledge before reading this book. To me, the very limited time I have on this earth means I am just not going to do some things. Long ago, I put video games in that box of what I am not going to do.

But like any choice, this one means I am giving up something. As games have greatly evolved since their early days (when I made that choice), that "something" has become fairly significant. Video games do offer benefits beyond what we non-gamers typically know about. And, of course, they have their drawbacks. The authors explore both of these areas, while explaining what makes video gaming so compelling to so many people.

The authors also explore the hyperbole, disinformation, and denials about game content. Some fascinating reading, there.

So if you're not a gamer, is this book a waste of time to read? I don't think so. For one thing, you probably know (and misunderstand) someone who spends a fair amount of time with video games. And video gaming is a multi-billion dollar industry. Its market goes well beyond the original demographic (school children), to include all ages and most walks of life.

Most of us are aware that the Space Program has produced benefits in mainstream society (Tang not withstanding). Gaming shares such a legacy.

For example, as I type this I am viewing the text on a monitor that incorporates features originally developed to improve the video game experience. I remember when a 16-bit video card was a big deal, too. The video card that drives this monitor's display runs on a special bus and has so many bits I can't remember them all. :)

So, extremely sharp display with no refresh issues or redraw ghosts. If not for gaming, neither this monitor nor this video card would exist.

None of this convinces me to get into gaming. I simply don't have the time, and I get the benefits (which the authors identify) via other means.

Some of the benefits touted by gaming advocates do not exist. The authors explore this and debunk some misconceptions. They also look at nontransferable skills gained in gaming. I was surprised that they didn't assess the brain plasticity related benefits that gaming probably produces.

While the authors, who are gamers themselves, do give an overall positive impression of gaming, they were careful not to dismiss its darker side out of hand. Nor do they use the "salesy" tactic of addressing objections or concerns with false arguments. Their approach seemed honest and genuine, and they backed their statements with research. This required, of course, acknowledgement of the addicts in the gaming world. They actually discussed a couple of case histories indepth.

I think it would be difficult to write a balanced book on this topic, but the authors fairly well pulled that off. I mean if you're not a gamer, then obviously you have a lower opinion of gaming than a gamer does.

And I think there's not much middle ground in terms of how people see gaming. The reason is similar to that of any "extreme" activity. You don't dally around with it. You're either committed, or you don't participate. Consider dance. I took dancing lessons and enjoyed the activity. But continuing forward would have been too much of a time commitment so I quit. I think gaming is like that.

I don't mean to say gamers have no life outside of gaming. That would be a false assertion, though there are gamers who fit that description. But then, you find fanatics in all kinds of hobbies and fields of interest. We all know at least one sports fan who seems to live for that particular sport or, as a spectator, a particular team.

The authors draw on their own experiences in game development and game playing, experiences of specific gamers, and a staggering amount of literature and research relevant to the topic. On this last item, fact-aholics will be happy to note that many of the sources are primary sources. As someone who is quick to shoot down ill-researched opinion posing as non-fiction, I believe the authors endeavored to make this book as accurate as possible.

The authors also chose a writing style that's conversational, yet authoritative. That's a good tone for this kind of work, in my opinion. It makes the book highly readable, without any "dumbing down" being evident.

A final observation about the writing. The trend in recent years has been to reduce publishing costs by cutting back on, or eliminating entirely, the proofreading process. This book does not appear to have suffered from that. The text is really clean. That, to me, scores big points.

So, that's my overall view of this book. I won't get into the details of what the authors conclude, because the most accurate way to understand the conclusions is to read the book.

This book consists of nine chapters occupying 173 pages, with the research notes presented as back notes at the end of each chapter. It also has a well-written introduction and an extensive index.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, a lot of useful information 3 April 2012
By Paramagnetic - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was skeptical to drop money on this book since the only review, although positive, was from a self-proclaimed non-gamer. I picked up the sample on my Kindle Fire and was pleasantly surprised, so I bought the full book.

To give a little background, I AM a gamer and I work for a mobile video game developer. We recently got into the social/freemium market and, although our games have great ratings, we seem to be lacking in retention. This is where Glued to Games comes into play. I am just a little over halfway through the book and I already have a decent list of things that will help to improve our current game as well as our past/future titles.

Even if you don't make video games for a living, this book is fascinating from a psychological perspective. Ever wonder why some games, even simple ones, draw in users and get them hooked? This book explains it. I would recommend this to anyone trying to understand the relationship that games and gamers have.

On a final note, the authors are themselves gamers and give many examples of recent games that are good at hooking users. They also give real-world examples, for those who may have not played the games. Definitely a solid read for all types.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fresh, data-supported perspective on the power of games 12 Jun 2012
By Jean Park - Published on
I highly recommend this book to non-gamers and gamers alike. Given the ubiquity, influence and age/gender-agnostic nature of games today, I found it important - not to mention fascinating - to finally understand what really is going on behind games' unique ability to engage us.

The authors present a clear, compelling, scientifically supported perspective on why games engage people more potently and sustainably than practically any other aspect of our lives. The authors are PhD's in motivational psychology and uncover that successful games support intrinsic needs that all people have to feel competent, autonomous and relatedness with others. They debunk such myths as people play games simply because they are "fun" or because they seek opportunities for escape. Rather, they confirm that the density, consistency and immediacy of game experiences happen to be highly effective at delivering against and reinforcing those intrinsic needs.

My own experiences true up very well with the intrinsic motivational framework the authors have uncovered. My most motivating jobs, hobbies, entertainment experiences, and even personal relationships have all had strong alignment with the authors' framework. With that said, I was particularly interested in the chapter that looked more deeply at the role of gaming beyond entertainment. The next frontier could very well be leveraging game dynamics and mechanics to drive improvements in education, healthcare, personal finance, etc. The authors' research supports the high potential of that happening in a very big way.

Again, I highly recommend "Glued to Games." Very compelling and credible insights that are a result of digging deeply and methodically into the root drivers of successful games. The style of writing is also very accessible to any type of reader.
5.0 out of 5 stars A very informative and consumable book 17 Nov 2012
By Scott - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed the author's approach to the PENS model. As a psychologist, I found the book to be very informative and enjoyable. As a gamer, the special examples really resonated with me. I also appreciate how Rigby explains several of his concepts in a way that even the lay population could understand. Great book, and hopefully this field continues to grow.
5.0 out of 5 stars More than just the best book to understand the pull of video games 10 Jun 2012
By Scott Dodson - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The Authors Scott Rigby and Richard Ryan accomplish one of the most difficult challenges for those with extensive scientific and academic backgrounds: presenting the results of years of rigorous research in a book that is easily understood, fully absorbing and at times very entertaining. I have a strong interest in what makes people tick, and because of my career, what makes things engaging and compelling. The authors provide direct and actionable answers to those questions. As a result, this was one of the most valuable books I've ever read. If you want an understanding of what it is that satisfies intrinsic psychological needs and drives sustained engagement--you'll find it here.

While the focus is video games the book goes far beyond games and the knowledge it imparts is highly transferable and applicable. This is a must read for anyone in marketing, user experience, or frankly in any leadership position with an interest in employee motivation.

I am also a parent and struggle a bit with the role video games should play in my kids' lives. To be clear of my bias, I'd call myself more of an advocate than a critic. I still play a very direct role in the type of games they can play and I believe the games they play are beneficial to them. I've learned a lot of critical thinking, logic, and systems optimization from games and I believe they have value. Despite the title, "Glued to Games" is not inherently anti-video game. I might even call it slightly positive towards them.

It is at the very least, balanced. The authors address the negative side of video games but do it from a refreshing perspective of scientists. They are not sensationalist, trying to grab headlines, but instead present the research without bias and with thoughtful consideration of the implications. They succeed in imparting an understanding of why video games can, "hold us spellbound" with both the benefits and the dangers of that powerful ability. If you are a parent, this book will help you understand (and relax a bit) about the power of video games.

Beyond this, as another reviewer mentioned, this is a very professional production: high quality paper, binding, editing and proofreading--nothing to distract the reader from the very substantial content herein.
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