Serious Games and Gamification: How effective are they?

Serious games are games that are designed for a purpose other than entertainment. These games are mostly useful for younger children. Some examples of serious games are advergames, educational games, or health games.

The game that I chose to play for this blog post is an advergame for Froot Loops. We played two of these games in class but I chose one of the games we didn’t play called “Loop the Bloopers”. It was simple to play, only having to use the mouse to play. This game is an advertisement for Froot Loops Bloopers, which is basically the same thing as regular Froot Loops but just shaped in ball form. Below is a commercial for Froot Loop Bloopers that aired on TV.

Basically the point of this game is to use the mouse to draw a circle around the flying Froot Loops and see how many you could catch in one minute. There was a Froot Loop with a face on it that would fly across the screen every once in a while and if you drew the circle around him, you would lose points. The more Froot Loops that were in your circle, the more points you would receive. There was no way to look at your score during game play, but after the minute was up, you were able to see your score.

I think that the purpose of this game is to attract young kids and to have them purchase their cereal. When I was younger I used to play some of these games that cereals had on their website, but I would get bored of them very quickly.  I don’t think that this game is very effective because there is not really a purpose in playing.  It might have been better to add a scoreboard during gameplay, or to keep track of your high score so you could try to beat it every time you played. In my opinion, there are better advergames and serious games out there that are more effective, because just like when I was younger, I got bored very quickly after playing this game, which probably happened to other players.

Although this game may have not been very successful, there are serious games that end up being very successful. For example, when I was younger we used to play games in 5th and 6th grade that taught us how to properly type using all of our fingers. This is not the game that we would play, but it has the same objective. I found this game on games.sense-lang.org. It’s called “Typing Alien”. There are multiple levels that you can unlock after you beat the level that you are on. The objective of this game was to type a word which you would then receive ammo for to shoot the aliens. As you got to higher levels, the words would get longer and a little more difficult to type.  Below is a screenshot of what the game looks like after you have typed a word correctly.

Screen Shot 2017-11-16 at 5.51.44 PM

The letters next to the left and right arrows are the keys that you press to move left and right. I think the point that the creators of this game were trying to accomplish with using keys to move left and right was to have the person playing this game press those keys without looking. If you took the time to look for the keys, you would lose the game and have to restart.

I think this game is an effective educational game. The main purpose of this game was to have the people playing this game practice typing without looking at the keyboard. The combination of typing and shooting the aliens is beneficial to the kids that are playing this game because they are going to want to keep playing to see how many aliens they can shoot or maybe even how big of a word they can type without messing up.

 

GAMIFICATION IN RETAIL STORES

Gamification principles are also used a lot in retail stores. Retail stores are commonly known for having some type of rewards system to encourage their shoppers to keep shopping with them. Some of the most common rewards systems that retail stores offer their shoppers are credit cards and reward programs.

I’m sure we have all been checking out at a store at some point in your life and the cashier suggests that you should sign up for their store credit card to receive 10-15% off of your purchase. One of the stores that does this is Banana Republic. My mom shops there a lot and has her own little Banana Republic credit card. Banana Republic is a sister store with Gap and Old Navy, so you are allowed to use the credit card at those stores as well.

Every time you use this card when you purchase clothing at these stores you receive rewards. According to Investopedia, every time you spend $200 or more at Banana, Gap, or Old Navy, you receive $10 rewards. When you sign up for the card, you earn 2,000 free points and 15% off your purchase the day you sign up. If you spend $800 in a year you have the option to upgrade to Banana Republic’s Luxe card, which gives you 5% one day/ week on your purchases. Below is a link to Banana Republic’s website with a little more information on the card.

https://secure-bananarepublic.gap.com/profile/info.do?cid=7864&mlink=5001,9222156,quickStoreLocator&clink=9222156

I think for people that are really into shopping and if Banana Republic is one of their favorite stores then this credit card is very effective. But at the same time, I think that this isn’t very effective. To be honest, I think spending $200 is a little excessive if you’re just going to get a $10 reward. But my mom really loves the card and does use it at Gap and Old Navy as well, so it seems to be very effective for her.

Overall, I think that serious games and gamification are very effective and can be fun and entertaining for many people, even if that isn’t the main goal.

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