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The Neuroscience of Games: One Weird Truth About Learning Styles That Will Change Everything You Know About Play

Are you Timmy, Johnny, or Spike? A Gamist, a Narrativist, or a Simulationist? Gud, or a filthy casual? These handy stereotypes can help designers clarify what experiences their games create, but may also lead to creative choices that predict and restrict player behavior. This workshop discusses why modern neuroscientific theories of learning, personality, and emotion have mostly abandoned categorical thinking about individuals, and why that change is important for game design. We will argue that games can provide players with divergent means to self-express within the bounds of the magic circle—roles and mechanics that encourage players to reveal, renegotiate, and reinforce their unique identities.

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Natalie Mesnard and Patrick Watson

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