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Top 3 Gamification Dynamics

Updated on February 26, 2013

These are the most high level conceptional elements in a game or gamified system. You can think about these as a grammar - the hidden structure. There are 3 typical dynamics available, you can think more, but I will talk about these:

  1. Constraints
  2. Emotions
  3. Narrative

1st Gamification Dynamic: Constraints

Every game has it's own rules, what players have to follow. The game or gamified system has it's own life, it's own rules and boundaries. This might look as bad thing, because of constraints people can not do anything they want, but on the other hand that is why game is interesting. A player has to follow the rules, like all other players and that makes the game more challenging and interesting. Games create meaningful choices and interesting problems by limiting people's freedom, that's why it is an important game dynamic about which the game designer have to think while creating a game or gamified system.

2nd Gamification Dynamic: Emotions

Games can produce any kind of emotion you can think of, from joy to sadness to everything in between. The emotional spectrum of gamification is more limited, because we are dealing with real world non-game contexts, were those are work or exercise, where getting someone upset are not thing that are going to be valued in that kind of situation. There are still a variety of emotional levels that can be pulled, that can make the experience more rich and enjoyable. The sense of accomplishment, the emotional reinforcement, that pushes people to play more is important in most examples of gamification.

3rd Gamification Dynamic: Narrative

As K. Werbach defines, narrative is the structure that pulls together the pieces of the game of gamified system into some coherent feeling hall. The narrative can be explicit to story line in the game, or can be implicit. The gamification does not necessarily have the richness of the aesthetic experiential aspects of games to put a work in creating a narrative. it has to rely upon things like consistent graphical experiences. Creating a sense of flow and allotting to certain kinds of practices or certain kinds of story ideas that may be in players heads using those again to tide together the individual pieces. If there is no sense of narrative, than there is a risk, that gamified system will be just a bunch of random stuff. You get these badges and points, but they are totally divorced from any sense of coherent and relation to the player's life and tends to limit the effect of gamification.

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