A PAC-MAN THEORY OF MOTIVATION (BOWMAN, 1982)
Ultimately, Bowman concludes that “Pac-Man‘s addictiveness would be explained as follows: It is an action system where skills and challenges are progressively balanced, goals are clear, feedback is immediate and unambiguous, and relevant stimuli can be
differentiated from irrelevant stimuli. Together, this combination contributes to the formation of a flow experience” (p. 15).
“…video gamesmanship represents conscious, deliberate mental and physical activity.
It promotes active learning by shifting players into the participant role. Each strategic movement generates a visible response. Moreover, the immediacy of reciprocal responses reduces the sense of distance between one’s efforts and one’s successes.
External stimuli are controlled to focus and define exploration and problem-solving. Challenges are matched to participants’ developmental levels to create a psychological sense of flow. Relatedly, one’s efforts count for something: status, self-determination,
and sustained enjoyment” (p. 16).