Pretty Much Pop #94: Psychology of Video Game Engagement w/ Jamie Madigan

Why do people play video games, and what keeps them playing? Do we want to have to think through innovative puzzles or just lose ourselves in mindless reactivity? Mark, Erica, and Brian are joined by Dr. Jamie Madigan, an organizational psychologist who runs the Psychology of Video Games podcast, to discuss what sort of a thing this is to research, the evolution of games, player types, motivation vs. engagement, incentives and feedback, as well as the gamification of work or school environments. Some games we touch on include Donkey Kong, Dark Souls, It Takes Two, Returnal, Hades, Subnautica, Fortnite, and Age of Z.

Some of the episodes of Jamie’s podcast relevant for our discussion are:

Check out his books and articles too. Here are a couple of additional sources about engagement:

The site Erica mentions about disabled modes in gaming is

This episode includes bonus discussion you can access by supporting the podcast at This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life podcast network and is curated by

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Strangely, Jamie abides in this graphic bubble floating next to text and a game pad and things. Really!

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