Blockvania was a game developed for my Master’s Thesis project at Northeastern University in Game Science & Design. Level design was based off of academic classification of what kind of rewards exist in games, and the level design was developed as a way to study rewards in games not as a bunch of stuffy white coat scientists, but in an ecological method that kept in mind that players are people and not little robots that do that push buttons for data collection purposes.
My research was inconclusive (sometimes that’s just how science does!) but it opened up a line of argument that I am passionate about, and partially why I left academia in the first place: games research is weird. To put it simply, games research supposes that people are fixed data points that every day play games the same way, for the same reason, until the heat death of the universe. During my research I found constant frustration in current research about games in regards to rewards, motivation, and play profiling. My thesis reflects that. While I don’t spend much of my time on these moral and methodological issues in rewards in games academia I still have a lot of thoughts about them.
My contact info is always open to discussing this dilemma. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Here are some images from my design doc if that's your kinda thing!