games are made roughly by elaboration. you start with a simple concept, you hope it to shine, and in the play testing you notice something either nonintuitive, or which would add a new quirky expression. because of this projects snowball during the playtesting stage.
when ‘professors’ do games, they start with too finished a concept of what they are doing and it isn’t simple enough.
you need a game which has the capacity to be playable at a simple level. and then from the simple level you need to exaggerate. part of this you have to recognize is why people game. part of it is the thrill of stress. like that damn tertis peice rotating too much and screwing you up, mastery of the stress is a motivator. it is the edification of the ego. the continual improvement is visible as you conquer your prior limitations, cause not by character_trait fault, but inexperience; that is you were pretty much doomed to fail at first- nothing personal. but you try again- and you get further. eitehr through teired ‘levels’ or through greater mechanics understanding.
the problem social-scientists have isn’t that their thing is too ridgid, but that it is too complete. and what is complete isn’t compelling. you can say first person shooter in a complete sense, but you can’t use these experiments which are really minimalistic in the virtual game space. that is you might be able to make a card game version of one- like card matching- or even pen and paper.
but with videogames, because you have access to animation in a reliable way. there is an established precedent that beyond ‘pre-alpha’, there will be graphics; often that they will be animated; often that they will exploit the same psychological tricks of lotto machines where winning is celebrated with a hurrah and flashing lights.
now a medically oriented person might object to this use of doping a person to enjoy the content, and addict themselves to the stimulus. but if one isn’t willing to go that far why even try?
why try to label something which isn’t a game, as a game, and wonder why it fails.