The Play-Along Factor: Why Games Work

The Play-Along Factor: Why Games Work

by Tracy Johnson

As human beings, we love to play along. And, contrary to the impression you get from meeting them at live broadcasts, many of your listeners are indeed human.

Even more importantly, we love to feel good about ourselves, and one way we satisfy that craving is by playing games. We fill out Sudoku puzzles, play trivia games, watch game shows and compete with each other for Pictionary bragging rights. Why?

Simple: They appeal to the emotion of Greed. That’s  not just to win cash or prizes, though those incentives are also a powerful attraction. This type of greed appeals to our sense of superiority.

TV game shows figured this out a long time ago. Producers for successful shows like Wheel of Fortune and The Price is Right screen contestants that:

  1. Enthusiastically add energy and fun to the show,
  2. Are attractive or interesting-looking, but not beautiful, and
  3. Will likely not solve the puzzle before the viewer at home.

That third point is key. Their goal is to cause you, the viewer, to think you should be a contestant because I’m a lot smarter than those people who made it on the show. Making the viewer feel good is far more valuable than making the contestant feel great. After all, there are more of them! The show isn’t for the contestant, but for the viewer!

It’s the same on the radio. Play-along should be part of every show. There are a lot of ways to do it. That’s why games work on the air.

In Content Superhero Chapter 2, What Causes Tune In, we show you the power of playing a game that moves quickly. Watch the EKG of an example of a game, the Thousand Dollar Minute,  at one of our client stations:

 

This game starts fast, a quick hook, a strong explanation of how to play, and right into the game. The play-along factor is contagious. And they keep it moving quickly to the end. That’s a strong break!

More Resources:

Get more information about why game shows work here. Includes a list of types of games you can play.

They won’t play if they don’t know how, so be sure to make it easy to play. Many shows just make it too difficult to play along.