The Psychology of Video Game Engagement — Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast #94 with Jamie Madigan

Why do peo­ple play video games, and what keeps them play­ing? Do we want to have to think through inno­v­a­tive puz­zles or just lose our­selves in mind­less reac­tiv­i­ty? Your hosts Mark Lin­sen­may­er, Eri­ca Spyres, and Bri­an Hirt are joined by Dr. Jamie Madi­gan, an orga­ni­za­tion­al psy­chol­o­gist who runs the Psy­chol­o­gy of Video Games pod­cast, to dis­cuss what sort of a thing this is to research, the evo­lu­tion of games, play­er types, moti­va­tion vs. engage­ment, incen­tives and feed­back, as well as the gam­i­fi­ca­tion of work or school envi­ron­ments. Some games we touch on include Don­key Kong, Dark Souls, It Takes Two, Retur­nal, Hades, Sub­nau­ti­ca, Fort­nite, and Age of Z.

Some of the episodes of Jamie’s pod­cast rel­e­vant for our dis­cus­sion are:

Check out his books and arti­cles too. Here are a cou­ple of addi­tion­al sources about engage­ment:

The site Eri­ca men­tions about dis­abled modes in gam­ing is

Hear more of this pod­cast at This episode includes bonus dis­cus­sion that you can access by sup­port­ing the pod­cast at This pod­cast is part of the Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life pod­cast net­work.

Pret­ty Much Pop: A Cul­ture Pod­cast is the first pod­cast curat­ed by Open Cul­ture. Browse all Pret­ty Much Pop posts.

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