Thursday, August 25, 2011

Please Love Me

One post on this topic isn't enough. Here are some examples on "How to be loved".
Remark: I use some strong language to make the point and sometimes I exaggerate to make it a fun read.

Imagine you date a supermodel. It is a bright summer's day. Do you keep your sun glasses on? Think about it. The answer is 'yes'.

Imagine you meet Miss supermodel at the nightclub. She asks you to buy her a drink. Do you do it? The answer is 'no'. That fact alone that Miss supermodel asked you, already means that you will not "get her".

Women are fascinating, especially as a man. It requires years, often decades to figure out what they want. And at the same time there are ugly, often even poor, guys who date the most beautiful women. What the hell?
Actually, most women don't understand themselves. Women joke that they try to change their husbands, but stop loving them once they succeeded. Well, it's not always funny and quite true.

Women are fascinating, because they are natural super talents at figuring out how to select the smartest/fittest/etc. guy out of a crowd. After all they can have a baby only every nine months and only a limited number of babies. While men can have, well, endless amounts. No, that's not what the genders consciously think; it is just the evolutionary rationale behind their behaviour.

Vice versa it is much easier, at least theoretically. If a woman wants to appeal to a man, she just needs to look good and be reasonably intelligent. That sounds sexist, I know. But if you look good as a woman, most men will be willing to fuck you. That doesn't necessarily mean that they want a relationship, of course. But if you look bad as a woman you have a big problem. If makeup doesn't help, you have to either stay single, or settle for a "lesser type of guy". Incidentally, they sometimes turn out to be quite a good choice.

Imagine you want to found a new religion. You dream of being the high priest of billions. Now, one of your minions wants more rights. What do you say? Well, of course you say 'no'; and then you exclude the minion from your community. And then you ask your followers to kill him.

How many religions do you know? Are they comfortable and convenient? Are their high priests lovely guys? Not while the religions expand!

High priests demand that you do not drink and eat during day. They demand that you pray all the time. They demand mass suicide! They demand that you turn the other cheek. They drown the ground in thousands of liters of your blood, while you construct world wonders for their glory. Religions demand that you fight holy wars. They demand of their high priests to never have sex !

Religions don't buy you a drink.

At the heart of this topic is the question of how to make something that somebody, the consumer, loves. The obvious way is to appeal to the consumer. And this isn't completely wrong. Of course, not buying a drink doesn't make girls fall in love with you. Nor does demanding suicide make people pray to you.

It's not that easy. You still need to convince the consumer/supermodel/minions/etc. that you are worth their attention and eventually love or devotion. But you don't do this by fulfilling their every wish! Instead, you do it by convincing them of your greatness - indirectly.

Real men don't smile while flirting.

For example when you see a beautiful woman in the night club, you don't just go for her. Instead, you go for the guys she's out with. (Beautiful women are always out with other guys). And then you talk to the guys. You entertain them. You talk about "manly topics". Of course, you boast a bit, but just a tiny bit. And you ignore her.
Eventually she will try to make contact with you. But you have to ignore her until she starts to try to appeal to you. For example, she will try to add to the conversation by telling you that she likes mountaineering, as well. And that she always wanted to do it. Now, you got a start.
You may even say something like "At first I considered you rather uninteresting, but I might have been wrong". You continue to make her find reasons for why she is worth you. You might have to help her if she's not very good at it. But whenever she is successful, you reward her with more attention and successively more compliments.
Oh - and you never exert physical force outside of sex. I just wanted to have said that. Applying physical force - even a tiny bit, like holding her too fast - is a weakness and as such unattractive.

I shouldn't go into more detail. Read Magic Bullets by N. Savoy. But try not to buy it; it is excessively expensive. You may be able to guess why.

I've yet to read a book about how to become a guru, but it is very similar. At first you convince your future minions that you are great. Now, that is certainly a challenge; that's why there aren't that many gurus. You must do this without boasting too much or making them feel like you want their love. You despise them! The reason you are talking to them at all is because there's no other way. Figure out some brilliant reason! Oh - and you always have way too many followers already, of course, and not enough time.

Then you make your minions find reasons for why they are qualified to enter your community. And you reward them if they find good reasons. Once they are in the community, you demand of them! The more you can demand without them quitting, the more you can demand next time.

I write in a funny way. Partly, because the topic is funny. But make no mistake: if you want somebody to fall in love with something, you need to make him/her fall in love. You must not try to appeal unless he/she tries to appeal first.

Good games are funny distractions. They are much better than bad games which are outright punishing to play. Good games constantly try to appeal to you. And that's why you become bored of them so fast.

In contrast to good games, Great games don't try to appeal to you; at least not directly. Great games make promises to you. They make you dream. They make you dream of what you could achieve, but they never allow you to achieve it. Think of Limbo. The main reason to play Limbo is to find out why the hell you are even doing this!! Of course, some 10 hours later you have found out why you do it. And you never touch Limbo again. Limbo is a great game, but it wouldn't work with a subscription.

Good games make you move forward by feeding you with carrots until you hate carrots. Great games make you hunt this one carrot for as long as possible. At all times you think that the carrot is just within reach. You are convinced that soon you will be there - but you are not. The more often you succumb to the carrot, that is you make a step but fail to get it, the more likely you will make another step. Great games enslave you.

Excuse my drastic language. But I really want to make this point! Getting epics is not as much fun as hunting them. Read the last sentence again, please. And again. Getting epics is not as much fun as hunting them. The trick is not to shower the player in carrots, but to make him hunt them! Showering the player in carrots is harmful. It proves to the player how worthless they are!

Humans aren't rats. Skinner boxes don't really work. We don't like to eat ever more cookies, we get sick of them fast! But we love to hunt for cookies.

In contrast to what Brenda says, players never played MMORPGs because the second-to-second gameplay was so much fun. It was terrible! Please open your eyes! Tell me one smash hit game, especially MMORPG, that was so much fun at the second-to-second gameplay!

MMORPGs - especially original World of Warcraft - seduced the players; they did not appeal to them! Hundreds of hours grinding gold! Tens of dungeon runs until you got one tiny piece of gear improvement. Dreams of beating Ragnaros! Farming reagents first.

MMORPGs used to promise much and demand even more. And this made them successful. The promise was credible enough to make players work for it. Millions complained that it was like work - and they continued working. The promise, the dream, the anticipated long-term reward is what drives players to sink thousands of hours into virtual achievements.
Don't hunt the ghost that is the perfect short-term gameplay. You won't find it. It's not there.

Don't treat the player like the overweight girl from next door. We are supermodels and that's why we don't play games that try to appeal to us too hard. The game needs to be worth our attention and if it buys us too many drinks, then, in our eyes, it becomes a funny little distraction. Not worth a long term commitment.

If you haven't read my earlier post on the topic, go do it now. I demand it! ;)

Edit: "Don't treat the player like the overweight boy from next door. We are supermodels ... ..."


  1. The question is not whether devs treat players well but why YOU think it's ok to treat 'the overweight girl from next door' differently to 'the supermodel.'

    You lost a reader with this one, have fun with your sexism.

  2. I don't see this as sexism, Beautiful women treat overweight guys from next door differently as well. It's more of a pretty versus not so pretty argument. I think what Nils is trying to say is that developers should develop THEIR game and if it has merit then players will play it. The same could be said for human relationships, tired of getting dumped all the time, quit trying so hard to please and be yourself. Somewhere out there is the person looking for who you are and not what you are trying to be.


  3. I'm not saying that it's ok, or even fair, Spinks. I am saying that that's how the world works.

    If you treat the girl with low (sexual) self confidence the same way you treat the arrogant girl, you will fail. She will be be offended, while the arrogant girl will feel challenged.

    And, just like Salvaenus pointed out, this works both ways. It's not fair, and it is often morally wrong. I hate it at times, just like everybody else. But it's the way it is.

    Anyway, more important that my analogies is the question of how much of it can/needs to be transferred to MMORPGs.

  4. I love the ideas in this post and the last, but I don't think the analogy works.

    The situation isn't so much like the guy in a bar trying to draw the attention of that one perfect girl, its more like the guy at the week long outdoor concert where there are thousands of willing girls, and the goal is to sleep with as many of them as possible. In that case, the guy correctly buys drinks for as many girls as possible (or just lies and says there will be siege warfare at release ... er ... I mean that he's with one of the bands), and he will succeed.

    It would be nice if developers had some motivation to treat players like desirable and confident women (or men), but we don't behave that way. We play the desperate junkie looking for our next fix, and that's how we are treated.

  5. @ Spinks

    I don't feel Nils' comment was sexist at all.

    As a woman who has been single for quite some time and who has explored the finer points of the dating scene, you can't tell me that you would honestly NOT treat two different people representing opposite extremes of attractiveness the same.

    You can say it's shallow to do that and so on, but we've all done it. We have all had someone approach us that we may not have been terribly attracted to and have had to let them down in some way. Some people find their overweight neighbors to be attractive and others don't. It's their individual choice, with regards to what appeals to them.

    It's not sexism. It's knowing what you want and being able to recognize that a certain someone just won't cut it for you. I see nothing wrong with that.

    I think it's way worse to lead the overweight neighbor on, when you have no intentions of going through any kind of courtship with them.

    Sorry if I went on a bit of a rant here.


  6. Mmmm...that might not be sexist, no - that's probably just general, superficial discrimination. but the assumption that all women are the same, easily manipulated and gullible horde (as many of these lol-dating guides for men /cough losers promote), sure is. or the generalization that all beautiful women are the same or look for the same, just because pop-culture likes to portray exactly 1 type of pretty woman with no brains. gosh, am I glad neither me nor my partner were ever into those kind of "games", despite what we might look like.

    I'm sure there was a good point here somewhere Nils, but I wish you had chosen for some different, less problematic analogies to make it. I think cool, sober analytics suit you better than the loud, scandalous tabloids approach. ;)

    Ignoring everything that could easily make me frown here and concentrating on what you meant to say; I agree that devs generally should not look for approval too much, but need to have the masterplan up there and know whats "good for the player". most of all, think long-term. that's the topic I suggested to you a while ago, wasn't it - how much say should players ever have...

  7. I wrote an answer to your question, you know that Syl, don't you ?

    On topic, most people have relationships that just work. None of the participants need to think about any "dating theory", because it just works. The man doesn't always say "yes" and has the respect of the woamn. And the woman doesn't always say "yes" and has the respect of the man. There is balance.
    This balance is often destroyed when the man retires, by the way. He suddenly loses the respect his wife, because he sits at home all day ;)

    Anyway, you'd be surprised, like most people are, how effective men can become when they focus on becoming better .. playboys. If done well, few woman can (=want to) resist. But I feel I won't be able to prove that to you. That's ok :)

  8. Oh no worries, I've seen it.
    we've had many interesting discussions in the past, so I felt as a long-term reader I'll just leave you this as a personal, well-meant feedback (also in regard to other potential reader reactions). :)

    as for dating, I believe there is such a thing as 'over-thinking matters'. the moment you need a plan someone else thought out for you, you stop being you. and that hardly ever works for long-term relationships (for fast sex I'm sure, but then that's not the hard part now is it). there might be 'some' pros to a book, but for the most part they're cringe-worthy, pop-culture rubbish. but maybe that realization is the whole point in reading them? hehe...

    your retirement sure was true when my grandmother was young! alas, both me and my partner need to work the same and we're equally lazy gamers besides that, so sitting home ftw! I'll take my gameboy over play-boy anytime! ;)

  9. You don't stop being you if you learn to play basketball, and you don't stop being you if you improve your social skills, Syl.

    If you pretend to be somebody else, I can tell you that the female brain is exceptionally good at detecting it. The attempt will fail.

    You need to be yourself. You just must not talk about the wrong things at the wrong time. And you must know what your counterpart actually wants. And that's sadly, not what she says she wants (that would be too easy).

  10. "...And that's sadly, not what she says she wants"

    TBH I think you just need to meet different women (or read different books!). the best things in life aren't complicated.

    und mehr sage ich dazu nicht mehr ^^

  11. I don't even know why I am talking to you, Syl. You probably never dated women :)