Bret Wardle

Understanding the contextual use of game mechanics, and applying them to the experiences we use daily.

Based in Salt Lake City, Utah, Bret is a seasoned Game/Software professional with over 15 years of experience in crafting immersive games, innovative software, and user-friendly apps. His passion lies in bridging the realms of design psychology in both gaming and software landscapes. He's dedicated to uncovering the intriguing parallels between professional e-sport players and software power users, as well as exploring the social dynamics ignited by elements like "hi-scores" in learning and development platforms. Bret delights in translating these insights into tangible enhancements, creating products and experiences that resonate deeply with users. Don't miss his enlightening 2022 TEDx Talk, Can a 90s video game be a standard for experience design?, available online HERE for a captivating dive into his perspective on the fusion of gaming and design.


The Bytes We're Built On: History of Games and Why It Matters

As educators, we consistently use the phrase “learn from history” in conversation and in our teachings. But as gamified designers, using these mechanics to improve the experience of what we teach, can we say that we know the history of the game mechanics we use in our design? For example: When was the first high score used? What was the first use of branching dialog trees? What game contained the first Easter Egg?

Games have been played by humanity for over 4000 years, and video games got their start within 15 years of the very first computer being made. Learning about the companies, franchises, and mechanics that propelled games to the $200B industry they are now can help shape your view on their effectiveness as learning and development tools. By understanding this journey you will:

  • Gain insight into the effectiveness of various mechanics within specific scenarios
  • Uncover the societal reasoning behind many of the game mechanics we now use daily
  • Discover list of games to play (or replay) that shaped the world we now live in
  • Open a portal into the minds of those that play games by examining the rise and fall of genres, companies, technologies, and more!

Let's dive into games and their roots, to better understand the psychological appeal, the societal context of their growth, and predict where things might be headed.

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