The ludic loop mechanic is in some games to make you feel like you are in control but in reality you are in less control than you think you are.
An example of this would be flappy birds. The game revolves around you controlling a bird which you can only control by taps in order to get through gaps of the pipes. By tapping on the screen which takes you a few milliseconds you lose control of the bird for just less than a second which means that you have to wait and see if your reaction or in a way chance (because it happened so fast) paid off. This coupled with getting through the gaps and earning a point creates an addicting sensation of just a one more match mentality. The playing losing control makes the player want more control and by playing they get the feeling that there actions are doing more than what they are actually doing. This coupled with infinite gameplay and a one hit and you die mechanic and you’ve got yourself a simple game that is very addicting.
Another game that comes to mind is Boom beach which is on mobile. The general gist of the game consist of you building a base in order to produce an army in order to take out other bases on different islands. But to build the base you have to gather resources which you can get by mining structures or invading other bases. The first aspect of this means you have to wait until you have mined enough resources in order to build more structures, but you could be waiting over an hour or more depending on your rank(The higher the rank the longer it takes). The other option is to invade other bases which gives you resources, but over time you will start to lose your army due to losing them in battles meaning that in the end you will end up waiting until you can buy more. Also when you build structures for your base you have to wait depending on what level the building is. The wait is also in real time so if a base takes an hour to build you will have to wait an hour. So the player goes off the game and then the player comes back an hour later to then build something else, which makes them come back another time which could be hours after that. To make that work and not have the player get bored it means that the game has to have other things going on, which it does like building your defences so other players cannot steal your resources. Invading other bases like I said before and interesting structures that do different things such as mine different resources, means you can build bigger and better things. It creates a habit of coming back to check on things and creates a recurring rhythm until the player does eventually lose interest. But it is because of that lack of control caused by the ludic loop mechanic which makes the player come back because of the fact that it spreads the time out for hours which makes the player come for weeks or even months.
Author – Paul Starkey
Posted – November 10, 2014