Introduction to Gamification Part 9: Elements and Mechanics

Intro to Gamification Part 9 Introduction to Gamification Part 9 Elements and Mechanics

Game mechanics are covered in multiple places on this blog, but to continue with the introduction series, I thought I would have a brief revisit here, with less personal opinion than usual (ish)! There are many definitions of game mechanics, but rather than going into those, I will just present the one that I use.

“A distinct set of rules that dictate the outcome of interactions within the system. They have an input, a process and an output.”

Further to this, we can also state that dynamics are Read More ...

Defining Game Mechanics in a Gamification Context

Mechanics Defining Game Mechanics in a Gamification Context

Ok. I’ve approached game mechanics a few times, but the conversation still persists and the misuse of terms gets worse and worse! I wanted to put together a little glossary with contextual examples, based on my research – so feel free to disagree.

Mechanic: A distinct set of rules that dictate the outcome of specific interactions within the game.

  • Game Example: Digging blocks is the core mechanic. Crafting is another mechanic.
  • Gamification Example: The drag and drop mechanism in timeline sort challenge. The timer is also a mechanic as is the act of turning over cards in the memory match game.

Dynamic. The emergent outcomes of player and system interactions with game mechanics.

  • Game Example: Building a fortress in Minecraft with friends.
  • Gamification Example: Pooling knowledge in the social chat area to help each other complete the challenges.

Aesthetic/Immersion: The feelings and emotions the game evokes in the player. Read More ...

Emotions and Gamification

Emotions Emotions and Gamification

You may have noticed in my newest design framework that I mention emotions for the first time (I think) as a full consideration in my design process. I am by no means the first to think about it in a design framework. If you look at the MDA framework the authors describe the aesthetics as:

the desirable emotional responses evoked in the player, when she interacts with the game system.

Later a more gamification focused framework, the MDE framework 2, dropped aesthetics and replaced them directly with emotions. Read More ...

Strategy: A missing component in Gamification

Chess 1488370945 Strategy A missing component in Gamification

One of the more common questions I get about gamification is “what is the difference between games and gamification”. I have spent lots of time writing about that exact issue, the Game Thinking pieces are my most concrete thoughts about the topic. However, just recently I was playing North vs South on the iPhone and was struck by a blindingly obvious part of games that seems to be missing from most if not all gamification.


Gamification is, in general, becoming much better implemented. The use of narrative, onboarding, intrinsic motivation, well thought out rewards and more. That said strategy does seem to be missing. What do I mean by strategy? Well, the need to plan and consider your actions to create the most desired or best possible outcome. On the surface, it doesn’t seem that gamification offers much opportunity to plan or consider what the consequences of certain actions might be. You just do what the system asks of you and get rewarded! Read More ...

Emergence: Learning to Love the Unintentional

Kingslanding Emergence Learning to Love the Unintentional

Emergence in Games

Emergence is a well-known concept in game design. Emergent gameplay comes when players interact with the mechanics of the game creating situations that have not been deliberately designed.

This could be part of the game design or it could be unintentional. For instance, the game may offer several tools to solve a puzzle, but allow the player to use them in any way they see fit. If the puzzle requires you to reach an item that is high up, there could be an infinite number of ways to get it. Use a grapple hook, build a tower, make a jetpack and so on. Read More ...