Exploring the Link Between the Psychological Needs and the Elements of Game Design for Educational Games.


  • Tan Chin Ike UOW Malaysia KDU, Shah Alam, Selangor, MALAYSIA
  • Tan Wee Hoe Faculty of Art, Computing & Creative Industry, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, Tanjong Malim, Perak, MALAYSIA




Game Development, User Experience, Pre-production Model, Gamification, Serious Games


This paper explores the link between play, an evolutionary and biological trait found in human behaviour and the fundamental human psychological needs; and its complex relationship with the game design principles in order to answer the following - why do people play games and what motivates them to do so? Answering these two questions would enable educational game designers to better understand game design principles for developing engaging educational games. This research will delve into the psychological aspects of play and attempt to link those aspects to game design elements. Studying Prensky’s six elements of successful games, the Octalysis gamification framework and the fundamental psychological needs, the paper will then present the findings of an exploratory and confirmatory survey from practicing game designers all around South-East Asia. The results of these findings give an overall positive and current result that provides a useful point of reference in order to create a game design model that would offer a set of guiding principles for educational game designers to create engaging gameplay.


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Author Biographies

Tan Chin Ike, UOW Malaysia KDU, Shah Alam, Selangor, MALAYSIA

Tan Chin Ike is currently the Head of School of the School of Computing and Creative Media at UOW Malaysia KDU. He is also the Chairman of the Game Development Council of Malaysia under the Ministry of Higher Education.

Tan Wee Hoe, Faculty of Art, Computing & Creative Industry, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, Tanjong Malim, Perak, MALAYSIA

Wee Hoe Tan is a Malaysian gamification consultant and game-based learning practitioner currently working in Perak with the Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI). In addition to his consulting work, he supervises postgraduate researchers to conduct games studies. He is currently the vice chairperson, of the Game Development Council of Malaysia (GDCoM), the second vice president (education) of the Serious Games Association in Singapore, an associate editor of the International Journal of Game-Based Learning (IJGBL), and a columnist of Sinchew Daily. In 2017, he received a Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship award to explore how play affects children in Penn State College of Education and then how serious games could be used as prevention measures in Yale Center for Health and Learning Games. 


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How to Cite

Chin Ike, T., & Wee Hoe, T. (2020). Exploring the Link Between the Psychological Needs and the Elements of Game Design for Educational Games. Journal of ICT in Education, 7(2), 65–73. https://doi.org/10.37134/jictie.vol7.2.6.2020