I gamify, you gamify: Preamble and Definitions (II)

By April 18, 2013 No Comments

(we are continuing the series of articles by Oscar García Pañella whose first part can be read in the post Mission: I gamify, you gamify, she gamifies (I))

175 XP. Let’s start with Serious Games. I confess that I hate the term, but “coined it is”. And the thing is that they’re anything but serious, and that’s the issue. Serious games are applications based on the theory of game design created for an end purpose other than pure entertainment. Luckily, there are other terms such as Applied Games, which is the generic name, and Exergames (linked to exercise, recovery in physiotherapy and sport), Newsgames (linked to journalism, news and media), Games for Health (linked to medicine and health), Edugames (linked to education and training) Advergames (linked to advertising), ARG (or alternate reality games applicable to workshops, for example) and many others. So many names for one thing? It has to be relevant.

Those who are dedicated to gamification know that it is as rewarding as it is serious, and with a future. Some have turned their kiddy games into a profession.

As Marshall McLuhan said:

“Anyone who tries to make a distinction between education and entertainment doesn’t know the first thing about either.”

XP 225. And what about gamification? Well, we are facing what are almost two sister species. In the case of gamification, we apply the laws of Game Design and motivation to the design of engagement experiences or motivation. It’s about persuading the end users (we’re all players) of our product or service, building their loyalty completely and permanently, if done properly of course, in the positive sense. It is not about programming them like robots in front of a slot machine, but the total opposite. Offering them an interesting experience, full of interesting choices to make, which allows them to feed multiple pleasures by enjoying that “non-linear script” that is written by them. And the thing is we humans love the pleasures even though we sometimes forget about them, especially when we work. Too much “bad” stress sometimes, right?

300 XP. I hope health professionals will excuse what I am about to say, in case it sounds inaccurate. I hope it does sound educational though. When humans “play” we release a substance called dopamine, which seems to be closely related to learning and knowledge and, above all, with its fixation in the brain. And the good times are never forgotten. Come on, I don’t know one single human being who prefers the “miserable times” to the “memorable” ones. Mind you, there always has to be the utmost rigorousness. We aren’t talking about things that are especially easy to design. Nor things that are just for boys and girls. Far from it!

Read I gamify, you gamify: evolution (III)


This text forms part of the article Mission: I gamify, you gamify, she gamifies published by Dr. Oscar García Pañella, Senior Gamification Consultant at Cookie Box, for the journal  CatEconòmica nº515 .