The psychology of computer games

Strategic computer games have emerged the very first. Twenty years ago programmers mainframe sometimes played in the administration of the state. The game was to exchange textual information between the player and the computer. The computer typed on the screen a summary of the economic and political situation of the virtual realm, then offered to make a choice from several ready-made solutions to answer “Yes”, “no” or specify the number. The first few manual attempts usually ended badly. After several hours of play, the player found the optimal ratio of parameters (“wheat”, “recruitment of mercenaries”, to “equip the expedition,” etc.) and became invincible.

Among the strategic games it is difficult to allocate the leader: they have not generated a cult like Dum-shaped game. In addition, they are heterogeneous: some offer only “the World”, others – “War”, and others – and at the same time. In the peace genre to lead the close family of games SimCity: SimCity 2000, SimTower, SimCity-3000. The publishers of the game (Maxis) argue that in ten years has sold more than seven million copies. Pirated copies, of course, much higher.

For the military the most typical genre of the game Warhammer: Dark Omen. In General, the purely military simulators great popularity do not use.

War and peace as a genre of strategy games is the largest by number of titles. Here such giants in the production of computer programs like Microsoft. Many players believe this Corporation created the game Age of Impair the standard of the modern strategy games.

The word players

Strategy games are those games that are played all night long. People have time to spend their mental resources before the game time to get bored. Sometimes a player comes to a complete nervous exhaustion: he can neither sleep, nor play, nor eat, nor drink, he wants to lie down and die. But if the man is bad to all computer games, strategic he would call the lesser evil. Most people think that these games develop thinking and horizons.

Alexander H, 29 years, commercial Director of the firm, specializing in the wholesale supply of imported food: “All human beings want to command, but most of this is not possible, so they play in strategic games. Games give the power and authority, which does not entail any responsibility. In real life it does not happen. In addition, in games faster the time flows. For a few hours to do what usually takes the whole life”.

Andrew B., 30, system programmer, an employee of a large government organization: “People like to cultivate. I can pass the same level of strategic games over and over again until, until you learn to do it perfect. I don’t just want to win. It is important for me to do it the best way.”

Maria N., 21 years old, student: “I played in the Age of Impair very long, because I wanted to reach the end. I like to see how the structure starts to develop from scratch, and turns into a huge Empire. Attracted to the process of change, development, growth. We love to watch movies about how people changed for the better. In strategic games there is something similar. There is a real life, and I can with this life to manage. I like it.”


A prototype of strategy games – chess. The metaphor of life as a game set of pieces on a square Board has been around for thousands of years. The last hundred years, people dream about their modifications. In the literature, an image of animated chess.

First sent on a journey through the chessboard of his heroine Lewis Carroll. The subtitle of “Alice in Wonderland” – chess sketch, the arrangement of pieces on the Board and the caption: “White pawn (Alice) begins and becomes Queen in eleven moves.”

In the thirties of our century, the use of M. Bulgakov. Woland with a Hippo play in live chess.

The concept of chess underlies the medieval Italian Comedy of masks and the modern television series: one series, one game. All characters and rules are well known in advance. Every time the viewer sees a new sketch with the same figures.

For a long time the human dream to play in live chess has been a dream, and now this Board is impossible in the real world. But man has the ability to see something that does not really exist.

A few years ago the illusion of animated chess was created with the help of computer: a person looks at the screen and sees that in three-dimensional space hanging the layout of the area with living beings.

Virtual whiteboard can not be touched, but it can be turned to any side, zoom in, zoom out, view from another angle of view. The size in modern games in the hundreds of square kilometers. There are and moved by the will of the player (and themselves) thousands of figures of various kinds. Their appearance changes all the time. Military units suffer losses but gain combat experience, civilian targets are increasing or losing power. A temporary extension of the game can reach several thousand years.

The technology of war and peace

Usually the Board is a square layout of the area. Sometimes it is clearly marked on the cells (SimCity), often it does not, but the structure of rectangular cells determines everything that happens in most games.

Figure – sociological unit, which the player can manage as a unit. In SimCity most static figures: factories, power plants, houses. The degree and speed of their development is dependent on all the other figures of the Board. Roads are good almost all airport oppresses the surrounding residential areas and developing Commerce. Movable object – a natural disaster: tornado, flying saucer, monster. They check the town is built for durability.

The war games most of the figures are movable. First, the player puts his figure units of cavalry, infantry, archers – designated place, and then sent them to anywhere in the Board. Fixed object – artillery. The moves of the opponent expects the computer.

A strategic game consists of a number of levels. In peaceful games, the main indicator of the quality of the game – population. When it exceeds a predetermined for the level number, the player has the opportunity to use additional types of shapes. The war games main indicator – the defeat of the enemy. If the player manages to reach it, he gets a new Board with a different terrain and more powerful figures. Game that combines war and peace, require first to build infrastructure for the army, and then destroy the enemy. A military target is closely linked with the peace.

Mind and strategy games

Don’t most games allow the player to see the entire table at once. Players prefer such large boards is that they are not placed in their field of vision. Rather, the Board can fit, but it will have her so much to reduce that it will become impossible to discern what is going on it. The figures will be so small that they are difficult to see.

Most of the playing time the player examines the Board on a larger scale. All the major game events happen when there is one twentieth to one thirtieth part of it.

To win, the player needs to accurately represent what and where on the Board occurs. To do this, it needs to have the image of the Board. In the external world to create it is impossible. This forces the player to build the image of the Board in his mind. He relates all his actions, constantly updating and adjusting it as being abandoned. The size of the image exceeds the scope of consciousness: it is too large to fit in there.

The work can thus subjectively experienced as the growing influence of unconscious impulses into the decision-making process. Modern adult this is not always able, he was accustomed to explain their own behavior with conscious, rational position.

Sometimes the players together, connect their computers and play strategic games against each other. Ceteris paribus in this situation, the 10-12-year-olds easily beat the adults. I think adults are better than children, but their thinking is constrained, the need to motivate the result.

Another skill that gives a game – experience with the “black box”. Black box – any device with an unknown working principle, having an input and an output. The purpose of the research – experimenting with the input to achieve the desired reaction at the output.

In the beginning of the game almost all the pieces for the player – the “black box”. Some information about their relationship to give the description and hint system. Basically the player builds assumptions on the basis of common sense. Sometimes they are justified, sometimes not.

In SimCity 2000 you need to build police stations, to the increase in crime is not inhibited development. For police money is spent from the city budget. If the police is too much, then the player not be able to expand and improve your city. The player can obtain additional information until the statistics of recorded criminal offences in each police station, but to make the right decision this information will not be enough. He has to find the right balance of shapes.

Chess rules known in advance. Rules of the computer strategy games the person draws in your gaming experience. He can’t win until his ideas about the properties of shapes do not coincide with those established by the creators of the game.

In the game one becomes a systems analyst. He learns quickly and correctly to extract the information he needs and on its basis to build and use, over and above the level of consciousness.

Before such skills are needed by a limited circle. Marshal Konev, telling in his memoir on the preparation of a major offensive during the Second world war, wrote: “Memory, including visual, was with me at the time so keen that all the main areas, all geographic and topographic main points always kind of stood in front of the eyes. I could accept the reports without a card: chief of operations, reporting, called items, and I mentally saw what’s happening. We both don’t waste time looking at cards. He only called associated with the specified item numbers and we were both all clear.”

Today with the need to apply system skills facing any owner personally computer. The usual size of Windows 98 in working condition – approximately 200 million characters – about a hundred times more than the novel by L. N. Tolstoy’s “War and peace”. Both users and manufacturer have long been resigned to the fact that a program of this scope cannot be free from errors. They lead from time to time to unpredictable reactions of the computer.

Moreover, the Russian, the user often uses pirated copies of games. Their program code changed the “pirate” during the “hacking”. In the process of installation and operation of such programs often interfere with one another and sooner or later lead to complete data loss. Because the system consisting of pirated software, hardware is hardware and Windows is very complex, and when it ceases to work properly, in very rare cases become known the exact cause of the problem and how to resolve it.

In a critical situation experienced user differs from the beginner course: it is more based on our own experience, it is highly contradictory, and vague speculation about the nature of computer technology. Accurate information the vast majority of users, but effective work with the computer, it turned out to be unnecessary.

Another example of the use of this skill – work with complex multi-page document using the computer. The main problem for most office clerks is that on the screen simultaneously can be represented only a small part of the text. A typical solution to the problem – should produce work cycles: first, print the document, then edit and then do it all over again. Experienced clerks know how to keep changing the image of the document in mind. This allows them to do the job easier, faster and better.

Judging by the tenacity with which people play strategy games in the future, they intend to use the system skills at every step. Perhaps life in twenty years will fill an extremely complex system, which will become the modern home appliances. Perhaps the relationship between people will be better – deeper and more confidential – as a result of mass acquisition system skills.

During the game the player identificeret yourself with big head -_ the mayor or military leader, the administrator of a skyscraper or the owner of the railway network. The facts and theories of Economics, statistics and history – _ – based strategy games.

Often in the beginning the player gets to control a piece of land and few resources (people, gold, construction materials). It is the sole and absolute manage them and watching from the “bird’s eye view,” as his orders unquestioningly executes the virtual people. You can build your city, or even civilization, build an army and move the shelves in the neighboring state. If you did not work and SimSity grew up poor, you can give it fire, flood and earthquake and start all over again.

Hard to be a God, even a small virtual world. As long as the player can not cope with the management on the “low” level, the game will not allow to build new facilities or to manage a large number of characters. The success of a virtual career depends on the “correctness” of the game _- matching the behavior of the player laid down by the creators of the game rules and scenario. Strategy games are perhaps the most ideological among all computer games.

World strategy games are psychologically the most similar picture of the world in the mind of the citizen of the superstate. Virtual people are not religious, willingly does business and pays taxes. If he rebels, it is estimated as a natural disaster (like an earthquake or tornado), beyond the mind, in which there is no meaning, no purpose. A unit may flee in panic from the battlefield, but this requires very special conditions.

Construction games environment friendly. At some level the game needs to establish a transport connection. Otherwise, the city will continue to develop. The relationship is mainly economic: trade and credit.

The war games in the outside world there are both allies and enemies. Allies from time to time engaged in battle on the side of and under the full guidance of the player. In Dark Omen enemies – the enemies of the human race. They are not people, they are lively black magician dead.

Universal games (Knight and merchants) enemies – just the same men as those commanded by the player. They must be destroyed, otherwise they will crush the state of the player. First, the player builds his army, then at war with the enemy. The war ends with the destruction of all the enemy’s civilian buildings and killing civilians. If this is not done, the enemy will build an army and attack again. A normal tactic when playing Civilization – the maximum possible perfidy: first, to conclude a peace Treaty, and then to concentrate their forces and strike. The player quickly learns to consider the atomic bomb as an effective tool of development of the territory.

Computer, modeling the economic behavior of the universal enemy in the game, usually as the sample uses the player’s actions – so before the fight almost equal strength. In strategic games artificial intelligence loses much human. This is especially noticeable when the two players play on the network against each other.

Leave a Reply