Triple U, play design & research

Triple U aims to increase positivity in gaming and play.

According to the universal law of attention, whatever you focus on will grow. So if a game is supported by elements that evoke positivity, more joy will be created by playing it.

Triple U has a method to evaluate games on a positivity scale. Most games have win or lose conditions, that, when met, will usually end the game. If at the end of the game a player wins, which is positive for that player, that victory will be worth 1 point. The amount of players that didn’t win, count for as many negative points. The summed points make the positivity score. So chess, for example, will have a positivity score of 0, most of the time. Draws are interesting only if they happen relatively often, as the score is averaged over an x amount of games played.

Many games will have negative positivity scores, measured according to this scale. So how can this be improved?

Cooperative games are scoring much better on the positivity scale. Players are rewarded for good cooperation. Admirable. And if there is a ‘punishment for losing’, all players will share it. As example, Lord of the Rings (board game) comes to mind. The game definitely has competitive elements and the cooperation is dominant.

Here is a thought. If a game has to have 1 or only a few winners, can such a game be realised so that it gives all players the feeling they accomplished something at the end? In other words, can a ‘loss’ be ameliorated by other game gains?