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Gaming OR Studies – Motivations of an Achiever

Gaming OR Studies - Motivations of an Achiever

It is commonly believed that people get addicted due to the exhilarating nature of games. While video games are certainly arousing, my personal experiences seem to point at the cause of something deeper. Take it from me; after all, I used to be described as a ‘game addict’ by my own parents.

My Gaming World

You see, my growing up life was characterized by excessive amounts of gaming. I often gamed throughout the day and into the wee hours of the night, only catching up on sleep the very next day – in class. Skipping school was a routine tradition, as I often alternated between taking MCs, forging parents’ letters, or straight up without reason.

You may wonder: why doesn’t my parents do anything? Do they not care? The thing is, they were both busy working to make ends meet and had little time to supervise me. The situation further expounded when my father was sent overseas to work, leaving the entire burden on my mother to manage both her career, housework, and myself. She did make some effort, conducting nightly spot checks and implementing security locks – measures that were easy to navigate through with time. In the worst case scenario, I could simply head over to a friend’s house, or a nearby LAN shop to play. Gaming meant everything to me.

My motivation toward games was simple: it was a drive toward achievements. I naturally gravitated toward popular, multiplayer games which were competitive in nature, giving me ample opportunities to triumph over others and prove myself (Modern examples included: Mobile Legends, Overwatch). To me, what solely mattered was the recognition and admiration from my peers that followed these achievements.

To be honest, there simply weren’t many opportunities for me to excel outside of games. I was barely coping with my studies and constantly met disappointment from both my teachers and parents. As a result, gaming was the only outlet. As I started to get better at a certain game, I would tunnel vision toward improving at it, sacrificing my studies and any other commitments in the process.

A Comeback Moment

Things began to change during my Secondary school. Somehow, I was scoring well in my English and Humanities subjects, likely due to a good foundation in English and a natural interest toward History. It started as a series of small wins, in the form of occasional awards, and praises from both my teachers and peers. For instance, I vividly remembered my English teacher reading out my compositions to the class as a form of recognition. Even though these little moments were limited solely toward my class, it ignited a desire to do well in those subjects and compete for top place with my fellow ‘rivals’. 

A critical moment happened during Secondary 4. As we belonged to the Normal Academic stream, we had to complete our ‘N’ levels in order to proceed toward Secondary 5. Back then, the ‘N’ level was assessed based on our best 3 subjects. These 3 subject system meant that I needed to only focus on one subject, as I was already proficient in my best two. ‘N’ levels came and went in a flash, although the results were certainly unexpected: I had scored first place for overall score in my cohort. 

The thing is, I wasn’t considered as the forerunner prior to the examinations, although that has certainly changed since then. The entire experience fuelled a desire to repeat the success for ‘O’ levels, which led me to take drastic measures: unplugging the computer, purchasing assessment books, and even seeking my own tutors. My parents were visibly proud for the first time, and wholly supportive in my decisions. I felt unstoppable. Long story short, I managed to achieve first place again among my Normal Academic cohort, and landed in the polytechnic course of my dreams. It was truly befitting of a comeback. 

Not Your Fairytale Ending

This is usually the part where I end with a ‘happily ever after’. The truth is, my Polytechnic years were a dark period, as I struggled to cope with my studies amidst being surrounded by hardworking and capable classmates. On the other hand, I was constantly being known among my peers for being good at games, thanks to the previous years of grinding. My motivation toward studies gradually dipped as I went back into my old ways of gaming.

Looking back at my life, I realized the existence of a swinging pattern – alternating between the extremes of gaming or studies – which continued to manifest itself over the years. The large swings seemed to depend on whichever I was capable of excelling and being recognized for, at that point of time. At least for myself, my game dependency certainly didn’t occur solely due to the thrilling nature of games. 

As I continued pursuing my education in Psychology, I became acutely aware of the motivational tendencies of different individuals. You see, current psychological research on player personalities have indicated the existence of different player motivations – mine predominantly being the ‘Achiever’. This has been widely observed in a competitive striving toward achievements and higher status among my peers, in both gaming and studies, which was facilitated by an ‘all-in’ mentality toward either.

Although gaming still remains an integral part of my life, I find myself capable of managing my priorities and channeling my drive toward long-term commitments (work, relationships), much with the awareness of my own psychological motivation and supportive role models. Could the change have happened earlier? Perhaps, although I take comfort in my story that it is never too late. All these have led me to be fully invested in the COMEBACK program, as my past experiences and Psychology background has equipped me with the critical lens toward understanding the gamers’ underlying motivations, along with the innate desire and ability to connect.

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Board Games for the Family

Boardgames for the family

With the rise of online video games, many forget how fun it is to spend time with loved ones offline.   In this article, we will be introducing board games that the family can have fun and bond together while developing soft skills.

1. Sushi Go Party

Board Games for the Family

Genre: Party Card Game
Play Time: 20 minutes
Players: Up to 8 players

Sushi Go Party is a fun, sushi-themed card game that engages everyone, from the young to the mature.  The goal is to earn as many points as possible with the combination of cards, based on the “menu”. These “menus” can be customized and represent the cards which will be played. The game ends after three rounds and points will be calculated.

Despite its cute appearance, rounds of Sushi Go Party can reinforce strategic thinking and visual discrimination. It also introduces the idea of investing as “dessert” cards will only take effect at the end of the game. We suggest that parents find out how your child values each card and take this opportunity to discuss planning after each game.

Watch how to play Sushi Go Party:

2. Codenames


Board Games for FamiliesGenre: Social Deduction/ Word Game
Play Time: 10 to 15 minutes
Players: Up to 8 players

Codenames is a party game based on communication. Players are separated into two teams, representing the blue and red agents. Teams nominate a “spymaster”, who will try to give a word that will provide a hint on where the spies are. Players attempt to guess where their agents are while avoiding the opposing agents, bystanders and assassins. The game ends when a team identifies all their agents or when one team identifies an assassin.

Players get to improve in their language skills and concept identification as they are required to group similar words together. They also experience the impact of clear communication without assumptions. Throughout the game, parents can get to understand their children better.

For smaller families with two or three players who want to try Codenames, you can play “spymaster” instead.

Watch how to play Codenames:

3. Cluedo

Board Games for Families

Genre: Murder-Mystery Board Game
Play Time: 10 to 60 minutes
Players: 3 to 6 players

When it comes to murder-mystery board games, Cluedo is a classic detective game that never fails to bring hours of suspense. The goal is to determine three key information: the murderer, the murder weapon and the place where the murder took place. Each player plays as a suspect and guess the right answer, while moving (or moving others) around the board.

With its slow pace, families can have small talks over the board game while encouraging children to think through what they need to consider in order to solve the mystery. Take this opportunity to start a conversation with your children by sharing the games from your childhood days.

Watch how to play Cluedo:

4. Dixit

Board Games for Families

Genre: Storytelling Card Game
Play Time: 30 minutes
Players: 3 to 6 players

Let your creativity flow in Dixit, a storytelling card game. In Dixit, the goal is to be the first to reach 30 points or most points when the card runs out. In order to gain points, players have to guess the right cards chosen or describe the cards if they are the storytellers. Players then vote on which card they think is the storyteller’s and are awarded accordingly. Points are only awarded to the storyteller only if some players guessed the right card, so it is important to describe subtly and not make it obvious.

Playing Dixit is a good way to express and get to know each other through the cards. Find opportunities to connect with your child by finding out why they have described the card in an interesting way.

Watch how to play Dixit:

5. Spot It!

Board Games for Families

Genre: Pattern Recognition Card Game
Play Time: 5 to 10 minutes
Players: Up to 8 players

As the name suggest, Spot it! is a simple game of finding the common image shown in two cards. Whenever the player identifies the common image, the card is collected and the next card is revealed. These images usually differ in size, making it challenging to spot. The game ends when the card runs out and the winner is determined by the player who has the most cards.

Despite its simple rules and gameplay, Spot it! is fun and exciting for all ages. There are also different ways to play the game: Playing time can also be adapted to your schedule, for example, the first player who reaches 10 cards wins.

Watch how to play Spot it!:


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How to Engage your Child in Their Games

How to Engage your Child in Their Games

It is a never-ending struggle to get children out of the game they play, so why not get into their world and understand what they are doing?

Intimidating as it sounds, it is not too difficult to connect with your gaming children. Here are three tips to help you get started:

1. Read up on your own about the games your child is playing

Before asking your child about the game, try finding out more information about the game that they are playing on Google first. Gamers appreciate the efforts parents take to understand the games they like, although they might not show it.  

For a start, you can try finding out:

  • Introduction of the game in the form of YouTube videos. Game developers usually upload short videos to explain simply what the game is about.
  • The goal of the game.
  • Top teams/ famous streamer for that game title.

2. Talk to your child about what you learnt about the games they are playing

Find an opportunity to start a conversation with your child by talking about what you learnt about their games. Your care for them is shown through your interest in finding out more about the games that are important to them. As they start to open up, they might end up sharing a lot about the game and what they do in it. Don’t worry if you can’t keep up with the new gaming information, gamers don’t expect you to know everything. To have someone who is willing listen to them share about the games they love is important to them. 

Warning: Avoid having this conversation while they are playing their games. They are too focused in the game to spare you any attention as you are a distraction to the game. This is similar to a child asking you questions to start a conversation about your favourite movie while you are watching it.

3. Ask your child to teach you how to play their game

Another way to engage your child effectively is to ask them to teach you how to play their game. Persist when they try to talk you out of it. Don’t worry about getting it wrong or not being good at it. The key is to have fun with your child!

Try them out!

We hope these three simple suggestions can help improve relationship between parent and child. Instead of allowing games to create a gap or topic of tension, use games to close up the gap to have interesting conversations and even fun. 

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#PlayApartTogether Family Gaming Fun During COVID-19

PlayApartTogether Family Gaming Fun During COVID-19

WHO recommends video games as an effective way of stop the spread of COVID-19 and working with the gaming industry to launch the #PlayApartTogether campaign. Below are a few links to the news releases:

In response to this campaign, our Esports Coach Ruth Lim picked a few games that can provide great family fun when we need to #stayhome. The list of games is of course extensive, but if you are unsure where to start, here are four games to kickstart your #PlayApartTogether at home. 

Game 1: Ring Fit Adventure

Ring Fit Adventure from The Verge

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Genre: Exercising Action-RPG
Players: One
YouTube Review:
About the Game:
Too much gaming can transform your children into couch potatoes, but not with Ring Fit Adventure. 

This single-player Role-Playing Game (RPG) packs both both fun and fitness. In order to move and battle, the player is required to perform exercises which will translate to movement in the game. Imagine your children jogging on the spot to move their character and doing reps of exercises to inflict damage to their enemies. 

Recommended Family Play:
A fun way to play Ring Fit Adventure as a family is to rotate the players every 15 minutes and have everyone watch the progress of the game together. 

Another suggestion is to have 2 players per turn, one controlling the resistance ring while the other control with the leg strap. Coordinating the movements could bring lots of fun and laughter.

Game 2: Overcooked! 2

Platform: Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC
Genre: Cooperative Cooking Simulation
Players: Up to Four Players
YouTube Gameplay: 
About the Game:
In Overcooked 2, the goal is to prepare and serve as many orders as possible. The challenge comes when the players have to coordinate the preparation without bumping into each other. Imagine Hell’s Kitchen, but more fun and without Gordan Ramsay’s signature shouting.

Controls are simple with just moving, picking up and throwing so parents who are new to games can pick it up easily. Players can choose to play co-op (playing as a team) or play against each other in the versus mode.


Recommended Family Play:
What is a fun way to get your children opening up to you? Try playing a game of Overcooked 2 together!

We suggest the family to play the co-op mode and have fun trying to reach the 3-star achievement together. For children who like competition, parents can try pairing with a child and play the versus mode together.

Game 3: Drawful 2

Drawful 2 from Steam

Note: Available free on Epic Games client till 9 April 2020, 11pm
: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Genre: Party
Players: Up to 8 players
YouTube Gameplay: 
About the Game:
Looking for a creative and engaging game for the family? Try Drawful 2, where the goal of the game is to guess the original phrase based on a drawing.

Players are all presented a silly phrase which they have to draw out. At every round, players will be shown a drawing and they can suggest alternate phrases that looks like the right answer. At the end of the turn, points awarded to players who guess the original phrase, and to players whose suggestions were selected by other players.

Recommended Family Play:
It is a great party game to play in family gatherings, where the young and old can bond over hilarious drawings and phrases. Not to worry about the controllers as the game only require one person to own and launch the game. Players can join the game with their mobile phones via the website with a room code.

Game 4: King of Opera

Platform: Mobile Phone (iOS/ Android)
Genre: Party
Players: Up to 4 players
YouTube Gameplay:
About the Game:
King of Opera is a party game where all players share controls on the same device. Each player controls a tenor and the goal is to have as much solo stage time as possible. Imagine bumper cars, but a button instead of a pedal to move forward.

The controls are kept simple with only one button, which is to get the tenor moving. The player will not be able to control the direction, so timing the direction while the tenor is spinning and trying to bump another off the stage and be challenging yet fun.

Recommended Family Play:
As most of the players’ fingers might end up blocking the screen, it is suggested to be played on an iPad/tablet. There are up to 6 game modes and each round last for 90 seconds. With the short gameplay time, the family can try many rounds together without spending too much time.