Interesting Decisions

Talk to any game designer, and they’ll probably be familiar with the Sid Meier quote,

A game is a series of interesting decisions.

Sid designed the canonical game Civilization among other hits, and “interesting decisions” is certainly a useful (if not the only) way to view games. In decision-based games, you get to make a prediction about a course of action, then do the action, then observe the results. It’s really very rewarding. It’s learning.

In habit-based apps, it’s tempting to think there aren’t any decisions to be made. You just show up and do the thing. You meditate. You go to the gym. You log your practice hours. Simple. It’s all execution, no decisions necessary.

But really, your meditator/weight-lifter/clinical intern is making the decision to use the app. That’s a real and meaningful decision in their life.

They’ve decided, “Hey, I am going to do the thing today! I’m not going to skip it!”

They’ve gone through the work of making the prediction of what would happen, then taken the action.

So can you make the payoff for that action real? Can you help them observe the results?

Can you serve them in making a better, more informed, well-supported decision next time?

I’d bet so.