Many popular video games are challenging. If this is the case then why do so many people play these games that cause so much frustration? Sound like your squash playing experience?
Psychologists call it intrinsic motivation – doing something regardless of expecting a reward or acknowledgement. Video games have become a useful tool for helping to understand this. Designers of video games have also picked up on the principles of motivation and have found a way to apply them – which is evident from the number of people who play their games.
According to self-determination theory (a framework for understanding motivation), it all comes down to fulfilling three basic needs:
The interactions in most video games gives players a choice (autonomy) and the ability to play others (in person or online) satisfies relatedness. Teaching competence is the tricky one. If you hold the player’s hand too much they disengage from being bored. If you ask too much of them too soon they will quit in frustration. Finding a balance by easing players up the learning curve requires you helping them to master the basic moves and progressing them into more challenging situations.
The most important thing to remember is to coach the people in front of you. Do you need to progress them on further to keep them interested, or do you need to dial it back so they can experience success?