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Live Blogging GDC 2010: The 4 Most Important Emotions for Social Games

Nicole Lazzaro is a researcher who helps clients make their games more fun.  (See my notes from her GDC Austin 2009 talk about usability and types of fun.)  Kids games are often social, like many of the games for the Wii.  Kids usually play games together, or socialize about games later (talking on the schoolyard, etc.) when they play alone.

WoW and FarmVille, separated at birth?  High amounts of user interaction.  What types of game experiences would you like to have in 2020?  Children's games sometimes have one action: tag, you're it.  4 Keys to FamVille success: It has goals, social interaction, feedback/imagination (easy fun like making a picture with your crops), reward (collection/completion).

Why are social emotions important?  People fun = more emotions.  Requires 2 people, drives viral distribution and web 2.0 (people are excited to share).  You connect, you give feedback, and you personalize.  What emotions make players share?  Inside jokes, social tokens, symbols increase value with use.  They create "us" and the outside.

  1. Amusement - laughter (lolcats), silly dancing
  2. Amici - feeling of friendliness and chumminess.  No word for it in the English language, that's Italian. 
  3. Amidar - Cleverness, amping up your inside jokes and evolving them. Increases your ranking in the relationship.
  4. Amiero - reciprocity, like biting someone back in the FB vampire game

Amusement mechanics: Language (like FB poke), Chat & jokes, dancing, teasing, etc. Chocolate cow in FarmVille, dancing in WoW.  Make players laugh.

Amici / chumminess mechanics: Feeling of interaction changes when you have attractive, cute character art.  Clicking 'Like' on FB.  People, pets & plants = taking care of things makes you feel good.

Amidar mechanics: Friends as tools, like you have to trade assets to get ahead in Catan.  Be able to compare, rank, be the mayor in Four Square.

Amiero mechanics: Reciprocity mechanics like healing in WoW, helping grow in FarmVille.

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