I swear i've referenced & linked a million times to the presentation below Amy Jo Kim from ShuffleBrain gave at Etech 2006, and i recently had the pleasure of catching up with her in SF for a game geek dinner, then in San Diego for Graphing Social Patterns West. It's one of my absolute favorite discussions on user engagement & how to think about app / web design & user engagement by using strategy from game mechanics. Amy's one of the noted experts in the field, along with Raph Koster (A Theory of Fun) & a few others. I highly recommend reading more by both of these folks.
After much begging & pleading, i was able to get Amy to upload her presentation to SlideShare.net for easier display & distribution, and she graciously obliged (thanks amy!). Hopefully using SlideShare makes it more accessible for her fans (both current & new). i also chose a very basic SEO-friendly headline for this post to make it more findable.
With no further ado, i bring you:
for more on this topic, i suggest checking out both blog & website for Amy & Raph (linked above). since i'm somewhat new to the field, i'm also interested in other references people are aware of -- please feel free to add more in the comments. i know Jeremy Liew, Susan Wu, and Andrew Chen have written on these topics from startup / vc perspective as well.