Game Thinking

Innovate Smarter & Drive Deep Engagement with Design Techniques from Hit Games
Narrated by: Amy Jo Kim
Length: 4 hrs and 11 mins
4.2 out of 5 stars (46 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

How are market-leading products born?

Successful innovations may end up reaching a mainstream audience, but they never start off that way. That’s the paradox of innovation most entrepreneurs fail to embrace - the typical people in your market are not the ones you need to woo when bringing your idea to life.

Instead, find the “superfans” hidden in your audience: those willing to take risk and put up with a messy or incomplete prototype in order to start solving the problem your product will eliminate. Show your idea to these people. What do they love about it? Where does it seem to go in the wrong direction? Allowing these early fans to “play” with your idea gives you fast, accurate answers to your most pressing questions long before your product is built.

Game thinking supercharges your progress.

That’s where Game Thinking comes in. In this groundbreaking audiobook, Amy Jo Kim lays out a step-by-step system for crafting products that people love...and keep loving. The secret? Develop “impossible to put down” products by using techniques that the fast-moving games industry employs when making games that glue millions of players to their screens.

During her time working on genre-defining games like The Sims, Rock Band, and Ultima Online, Amy Jo learned that customers stick with products that help them get better at something they care about, like playing an instrument or leading a team. Amy Jo has used her insights from gaming to help hundreds of companies like Netflix, Disney, The New York Times, Ubisoft, and Happify innovate faster and smarter and drive long-term engagement.

Build successful products like a (game) master.

Building on the principles of Lean/Agile design and design thinking, Game Thinking covers five powerful strategies you can use to create your next hit product:

  • Accelerate innovation by testing your highest risk assumptions first
  • Use insights from superfans to build a product that fits how people really behave
  • Keep customers engaged with a coherent and compelling customer journey
  • Improve your product concept by rapidly testing and tuning the core experience
  • Plot your development path with the game thinking road map

Get your hands on Game Thinking and start innovating smarter today.

©2018 Amy Jo Kim (P)2019 Amy Jo Kim

What listeners say about Game Thinking

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Common Sense Reminders

As someone that is strongly familiar with a SDLC I unfortunately did not get more than a few notes out of this book. maybe it does not translate well without the figures but most of this information is more common sense reminders than a different way of thinking.

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Good

The spotlight features in the book were good. Some interesting sections with game psychology... but not enough for me if I'm honest. Without offending the author, I found the narration very distracting at times. The enthusiasm was good though. This is a good book for entry level entrepreneurs, which I think is the point.

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Amalgamation of past and future processes

Amy offers a compelling amalgamation of past and future thinking processes. She presents ideas that have bits of agile, scrum, design thinking, systems thinking, jobs to be done theory and a whole lot more. She does not drag things out but provides a quick tool kit to use and implement immediately.

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Pretty good insights, a bit too rebranded

This is a pretty good book that goes over topics like iterative design development, design thinking, lean start up, and other agile type methods that allow entrepreneurs to fail fasting right quickly. These topics are also true for game development. The author does a good job of pulling these together into a cohesive message, but she uses some re-branding to meet her own brand that I don’t think is necessary. Still if you can get past that, this book has some good introductory information on design thinking, iterative development, etc. my favorite theme in the book is the focus on the end-user. There’s also a great interview with a design thinker who discusses product market fit. He says that companies should not be satisfied with one product market fit, but instead be thinking of their product pipeline also focusing on the second product’s fit so that they have a series of product fitness. That was pretty insightful. Her narration is good, but she gets a bit preachy at times. Still the overall audio experience was good.

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Games design, not games as design

I didn't realize this book emphasizes product development strategies, not games. However, it looks at what makes games compiling not as a product, but as a design. For example, Amy makes a case that operant conditioning, a popular tool in the mobile space, will always lead to subpar results because it is inherently unattractive to the user: it shows short gains but fails to grip. As someone more interested in game design than product design this is an interesting insight. It makes no consideration for art, only for user value. Walt Williams wrote that game designers worship at the altar of the player, and that's pretty much what Game Thinking is suggesting you do: products are more successful and have longer lasting appeal when they seek to give the user something they want and need, rather than try to convince them they do. Unsurprisingly, I kind of didn't like this book because I'm more interested in game design, but in the end I still ended up thinking about games. So if you are like me and product design makes you want to vomit, this has a much gentler curve towards applying product-based thinking to creative pursuits in the goal of producing the best version possible. Might be worth a listen if you want some advice on how to give your game a broader appeal without violating your creative values, but it does often dance around some pretty big topics to do so.

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Industry Norms

I picked this up to better understand Game Design; and how I could work in that field. Migrating from a similar but unrelated place. What I learned is the lessons I use within my Corporate Professional life give a 1:1 relationship to these practices. Also it reenforces and strengthens my beliefs which differ from management. A great general coverage of how to approach any product; and established methods of capturing measurements to iteratively determine a good product or a developmental dead end. Thumbs up.

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A wonderful compliment to The Lean Startup

After reading the lean startup I wanted something to expand on that. This book was what I was looking for. I found particular value in approaches that differed from traditional design thinking taught in colleges such as replacing “user stories” with job stories. Also, I thought the book was a perfect length.

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Wrap your mind around this

A new way of thinking about your products success with the customer as your guide.

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Great!

A great book that will change the way you think about human systems and learning.