Gaming 101 – By Andrea Gothard


Today we went to Edinburgh Training and Conference Venue to speak with Phil Harris a creative writer and video game designer. I personally am not an avid video game player but it was very interesting to here Phil speak about the complexity of games and how much goes into them. I had no idea that Phil’s job even existed. Video games are more than just a sequence of buttons, swipes and spins they have story lines and histories to them


The part I was most interested in, and a little frightened by, was how much psychological research gaming organizations do to figure out how to get people addicted to games. Phil called this “Agency” or the emotional attachment and engagement with a game. Getting people addicted to certain games depend on so many aspects that would have never crossed my mind. All the details matter; whether you swipe, tap or shake, the color, the shapes and more. This relates to packaging in the aspect that the smallest details attract the human eye and draw them in. Different shapes and colors are used to appeal to different demographics; toiletries are the easiest place to see this.


Another aspect that I found interesting and was able to compare to packaging was the age specification label found on video games. Before today I was disgusted to see 10 year olds play horribly violent video games. Phil then told us that he once encountered a mother who was furious with him for helping develop such a graphic game that her young son was playing. Due to the age restriction the mother had to have bought the game for the son and she was the one allowing him to play it. This reminded me of packaging because many packages have age specification labels and majority of the time if a young child chokes or injures themselves on a package it was because they where under the age restriction and where allowed to come in contact with that package because of there parents.




I learned a lot to day on a subject that I never thought I would. Phil was very passionate about his work and was a great host. Edinburgh was great but now I am off to Amsterdam for the weekend then back to London!


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