The Psychology of Video Games: An Update

As I noted before late last year I decided that my blogging project for 2010 would be writing one article a week about the overlap of psychology and video games. Thus was born.

While the site hasn’t exactly “blown up” mega huge, it has developed a readership that’s sizeable enough to surprise me. At first I halfway expected it to exist purely for my own pleasure and maybe a few friends and the random stranger or two, much like But soon I was getting comments and e-mails from real game developers and other people who said they really dug it.

So I kept at it and started putting not insubstantial amounts of effort into writing the weekly articles. In addition to drawing on books I had read, I actually started going to my local university library and doing research in scientific psychology journals. It was cool, because I love writing, I love learning new stuff, and enough people seemed to appreciate it.

A few months ago the Editor in Chief at GamePro contacted me to tell me that he liked what I was doing and that he wanted to know if I’d be interested in doing some freelance writing for the GamePro print magazine. I jumped at the chance, as writing this stuff for a “real’ magazine had been one of the things I had been daydreaming about since I started.

My first article, which is on the psychology of anonymity, is now appearing in the August issue of GamePro, which has this cover:

I also have a second article written, submitted, and in the pipeline for September’s issue, plus I’m just now finishing up a third article for October. Woo!

So while the GamePro thing is one of the biggest things to come out of this little blogging experiment, it’s not the only cool outcome. Here’s some others:

  • I partnered with my friends at GameSpy to lecture on the psychology of games at a conference in Seattle
  • I made Internet friends with another psychology Ph.D. who works for Valve Software, one of my favorite game developers.
  • Actress and nerd celebrity Felicia Day tweeted about one of my articles, resulting in a 1000% spike in traffic.
  • A graduate student in psychology took one of my off-the-cuff ideas (the effect of time distortion on the enjoyment of a game) and is using it as the basis for his dissertation
  • I’ve been interviewed by a handful of people writing about psychology and video games for other outlets
  • A marketing consulting firm interviewed me about video games to tap my supposed expertise on the topic (I did my best)
  • One of my articles was discussed on one of my favorite video game podcasts, Idle Thumbs.
  • started syndicating some of my articles for reprinting on their website
  • A literary agent contacted me asking me if I’d like to write a book proposal that he could evaluate and maybe shop around

So, at this point, I’d call the blog a success –much more of one than I ever experienced with So I’m going to obviously follow through with the rest of the weekly updates for 2010, and most likely beyond. At this point I’m thinking seriously about making 2011 the year of that book proposal; here’s to hoping things continue on the same trajectory.

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2 thoughts on “The Psychology of Video Games: An Update

  1. Congrats! This is mega cool and I’m sure it will just continue on. Giga cool? I’ll miss you and this site eventually. We’ll always have TTU. And, llamas 🙂

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