Game play is an intrinsic human characteristic. We all engage naturally in play from early childhood as a means to develop social and cognitive skills as we age, starting with simple children’s games like cops and robbers and hide and seek. But since the advent of computer technology in the early 1980s, much of this game play has been transposed from the physical to the virtual realm. Back then developers noticed that simple DOS-, text- and spreadsheet-based games were able to capture the attention of users, with unprecedented levels of engagement. It was by trial and error that game developers stumbled on the concept of using innate psychological triggers to drive player engagement and retention, as there were no graphics or sounds to these early pioneering games. It wasn’t until years later that more focused research went into uncovering the factors that make all forms of game play so “sticky”. What has emerged is a deeper understanding of how game design can be applied, especiall...

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