I recently came across this slideshare from Dori Adar, the creative director of TabTale. Dori puts the highly gamified app – Tinder in standard under the prism of game design principles and tries to explain its popularity. He attributes much of the success to something called the hunter loop – a highly effective action and reward loop that is embedded in our brains very strongly since the times where hunting was a survival instinct.
Dori also explains how to build a hunter loop in your game in order to increase user engagement and retention. Basically, how to make the game more fun for users by leveraging their primal instincts. The presentation has 95 slides but it’s a fast flicker with a single line or visual in every slide so you can go through it quite quickly.
If you want to better understand the psychological and biological aspects of why the hunter loop is so effective, I highly recommend this TED by Simon Sinek. In the talk, Simon explains the effects of dopamine in focusing us on goals and motivating us to achieve them (Minutes 8-10 in the talk). The example that Simon users is hunting for food and while mobile games can leverage the hunter loop, you can imagine that the dopamine levels are higher when the prey is real and reflects a very primal instinct as in dating apps.
So if you find yourself addicted to Tinder, you can blame it on the dopamine.
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