There are many different reward systems that take place throughout the many games of our society. The majority of the games we play require us to collect things, complete levels, assists others, and defeat known bosses or bad guys to continue. Without these concepts of the game it would be quite boring to just walk along in the video game world. These type of gamifications are in play to motivate the player, keep them entertained, organized and making them want to play the game for hours and hours. I feel that games that have the most gamification aspects to them such as competition, different reward systems and levels to engage them are the most interesting.
The game that I chose to play this week was an educational spelling game on education.com. I found this game to be a good example of gamification due to its rewards system and its ease of use. The game is made primarily for elementary school kids and focuses on spelling. In order to continue through the game you must spell words to patch up the road so the bus can continue to its destination. The first level I came across was a road with the bridge missing, in order to continue my journey I needed to spell the word bridge and patch up the road to continue. My reward for spelling the word correctly was a certain amount of points, the bridge being placed on the road, the continuous of my road trip, and lastly an applause from the children on the bus. This game has many reward systems that would make a child want to continue to play.
According to pcworld.com gamification has four basic characteristics, recognizable cues for next action, instant feedback for actions taken, easily identifiable markers for ranking and performance, and accessible paths to further achievement. With this being said I feel that this spelling game was a good example for gamification in video games. The recognizable cue was a nice bell noise that rang when the player spelled a word correctly, letting the player know they have gained points and were on the road toward success. The instant feedback was the bus points being added to the overall total and the bus continuing on its journey. The ranking and performance was the point system that was given when words were spelled correctly as well as a ranking board at the end of each level. Lastly, the paths to further achievement is available when the player is asked to continue to the next level to achieve greater points and harder obstacles.
These type of basic characteristics are what make the game so interesting to play. A speaker at the third annual Gamification Summit said “Gamification is about stories and allowing people to understand what their role is within a story.” I find this quote to be important to the idea of gamification. Once a player understand their role in the game or in life they will continue their routine if they are receiving positive impacts from their actions. For example, the player of the spelling game mentioned above knows they are doing something right when they spell the word correctly and obtain points. If they spell the word they will not obtain any points or move forward in the game and from that impact they will understand their has been no reward and they will try again in order to have a positive impact the next time.
Engagement is also a mechanism that allows for gamification to work so effectively. If a player in not engaged they might as well not even play the game. In the spelling game mentioned above, education.com does a good job at keeping the player engaged with applauses, fun noises, and interesting characters. By keeping the player engaged it allows them to learn, organize their thoughts, and stay on top of tasks involved in the game. Technologyadvice.com states that engagement is one of the top tools to make business gamification tick. If customers are not thinking of your brand or shopping in your stores they aren’t a true loyal customer.
The main mechanic that I believe to be the most efficient in the gamification aspect is the performance and ranking concept. I love the thought of doing better than others at games. So, when I have a chance to gain a high score and put my name on the performance board for others to see I feel a sense of enjoyment and fulfillment. This type of reactions is exactly what gamification is trying to accomplish when putting in place reward systems.
In conclusion, I feel that the spelling game on education.com did a very good job and letting the player know their objective and helping them fulfill this objective joyfully and effectively. I feel that children that play this game do understand the cues, feedback, ranking and performance that is occurring as the gamification mechanics. The children do not understand that these concepts are in place to help them enjoy the game or get them to pay the game longer but they are. I feel that the interesting characters, fun noises, point system, performance board, and overall idea of the bus trip was a great way to set up the game so that it can have a positive impact on the player while allowing them to learn and organize their game play.