It took a while, early this year on my previous site I did promise “something new coming up, hopefully soon”. Well, it’s still 2013.

For now, please enjoy some reprints of my earlier writing.

On this site you will find my writings on diverse topics, but my focus is on the games industry, especially the growing mobile & online sectors. However, instead of discussing news or reviews, this blog will primarly focus on the economic and psychological aspects of games and the systems they employ. I will also touch generally on decision making and behavioral economics, topics on which I have been working on in my in-progress Ph.D. studies at Aalto University.

Like the Force in Angy Birds: Star Wars, behavioral economics/psychology can be used for good and evil. Our gray matter has been flexible enough to adapt to an enviroment where we can fly inside an aluminium tube at speeds of 800 km/h and altitude of 30 000 feet, and where we need to fill out tax forms. However, the actual construction of that gray matter is still almost undistinghuisable from when humans roamed the savannahs. This has left us with a two-speed system what Daniel Kahnmann calls “thinking fast and slow”1, Seth Godin calls “our lizard brain” and John Maynard Keynes called “animal spirits”2. Instead of being tabula rasas, we have systematic, built-in cognitive biases from the beginning. This would creep Aristotle and John Locke to the bones3, but probably eternally pleases Thomas Hobbes. We are generally risk-averse, altruistic and use hyperbolic discounting.

It is interesting that the perennial fascination in computer games is to focus on competition, adversaries and slaying them. The modern society has strict controls on violence and yet this one of the most primal urges is so strongly represented in games. However, the human civilization really kicked in when we as a species figured out how to co-operate, build societies and carry trade. One innovation that strongly links to these developments was agriculture, so could one argue that FarmVille was an evolution toward more social gaming in surprisingly many ways and that history has a strange way to repeat itself. However, there are very few mentions in human history about slingshotting variours birds against structures…

All the opinions in this blog are, as they should, mine and some stakeholders might not agree with me on everything. As for any disagreement between me and you, the dear reader, will be settled on an Extreme track of your choice in Trials Fusion at dawn.

New content and some old classics will appear on this blog in due course.

  1. Daniel Kahneman, “Thinking Fast and Slow”

  2. John Maynard Keynes, “The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money”

  3. Then again, Locke’s tabula rasa was heavily used as an counterargument against monarchy and towards human rights.