2.iv Defining Gamification and Other Game-Design Models

Bogost, Ian. 2011. “Persuasive Games: Exploitationware” [blog post]. Gamasutra. https://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/134735/persuasive_games_exploitationware.php.

Bogost asserts that the power of gamifilies in the term’s rhetorical effect, which diminishes how difficult games actually are and simplifi the field of gaming to make it applicable in multiple contexts. He states that gamification, as it currently appears in corporate and marketing platforms, should be replaced with the term “exploitationware,” since it substitutes real incentives with fictional ones, thus creating exploitative relationships between company and consumer. In his pursuit to rid the industry of exploitative gamifi , Bogost invokes the term “games-as-systems” to supersede gamification with alternatives that do “real, meaningful things with games” (n.p.).

Deterding, Sebastian, Dan Dixon, Rilla Khalad, and Lennart E. Nacke. 2011. “From Game Design Elements to Gamefulness: Defining ‘Gamification.’” In Proceedings of the 15th International Academic MindTrek Conference: Envisioning Future Media Environments (MindTrek ’11), 9–15. New York: ACM. doi:10.1145/2181037.2181040.

Deterding, Dixon, Khalad, and Nacke investigate gamification methods in order to define gamification and contrast it to other concepts such as pervasive games, alternate reality games, and serious games. The authors outline the industry origins and precursors of gamification to indicate how contentious the term is. They define gamification as “the use of game design elements in non-game contexts” (9), because this definition focuses on games, not play; indicates that it consists of elements of games, rather than being structured as full games, as serious games would be; constricts gamification to gamedesign elements, rather than game-based technologies or practices; and contextualizes gamification outside of games for pure entertainment. They suggest that “gameful design” may be a better term to use in place of “gamification” within academic discourses.

Douma, Michael. 2011. “What is Gamification?” [blog post]. Idea. http://www.idea.org/blog/2011/10/20/what-is-gamification/.

Douma defi es gamifi as “adapting game mechanics into a non-game setting — such as building online communities, education and outreach, marketing, or building educational apps” (n.p.). While differentiating between gamification, serious games, and playful interaction, Douma does allow for some leeway as to what defi es gamifi . He outlines numerous ideas and approaches for gamifi , such as levels, cascading information theory, community collaboration, loss aversion, quests/challenges, and infi ite gameplay. Badges, trophies, and points are discussed in the most detail. He notes that badges offer psychological functions such as setting goals, instruction, reputation, status and affirmation, and group identifi but that in addition to serving as external motivators, badges also need to be a part of a narrative and offer personalized, goal-oriented engagement.

Graham, Adam. 2012. “Gamification: Where’s the Fun in That?” [blog post]. Campaign 43: 47. cle/1156994/gamification-wheres-fun-that.

Graham defines gamifi as “the use of game thinking and game mechanics to enhance non-game contexts” (n.p.). For Graham, the skillful use of game elements makes it possible to increase engagement across varied applications. While he notes that it is possible to gamify anything, the majority of gamifi examples simply follow a formulaic pattern set by the Foursquare model, which uses points, badges, leaderboards, and prizes as incentives for participation. Instead of following this process, Graham urges practitioners to consider the extensive array of game-design approaches available, and to determine which ones would be the most successful in inciting player flow based on the target audience’s triggers and motivators.

Groh, Fabian. 2012. “Gamification: State of the Art Definition and Utilization.” In Proceedings of the 4th Seminar on Research Trends in Media Informatics (RTMI ’12), edited by Naim Asaj, et al. Ulm, Germany: Institute of Media Informatics, Ulm University, 39–46. http://hubscher.org/roland/courses/hf765/readings/Groh_2012.pdf.

Groh reviews the defiition of gamifi developed by Deterding et al. (2011) and analyzes the opportunities and problems gamifi offers in the context of self-determination theory. He points out the differences between game (ludus) and play (paidia), differentiates gamififrom serious games (that is, full-fledged games for non-entertainment purposes rather than game elements), and notes how such game-design elements can be used to enhance other applications. Groh presents the ways in which the values of relatedness, competence, and autonomy inherent in self-determination theory are also key components for gamifi to be effective.

Jagoda, Patrick. 2013. “Gamification and Other Forms of Play.” Boundary 2 40 (2): 113–44. doi:10.1215/01903659–2151821.

Jagoda discusses the ubiquity of games in different digital contexts, and explores gamifi in particular. Defining gamifi as “the use of game mechanics in traditionally nongame activities” (114), Jagoda sees gamifi tion as an approach that uses game mechanics and objectives to function as an interface between work, leisure, thought patterns, effects, and social relations common in the current overdeveloped world and “the real.” This gamifi world, Jagoda argues, differs from a society oriented around the production of what Guy Debord called “spectacles.” Rather than relying on unidirectional representations, the gamified world is structured in a bidirectional, many-to-many format that encourages engagement through customization and user-generated content. While Jagoda acknowledges that gamifi may perpetuate a capitalist hierarchy, he also notes that game-based approaches can function to resist those socioeconomic structures. He analyses three games that problematize gamification: SPENT (2011), Third World Farmer (2006), and Thresholdland (2010). These games, rather than perpetuating a false sense of triumph and winning, draw attention to the failure that the majority of people experience in contemporary capitalism, thus functioning as critiques not only of the capitalist system but also of gamification. Jagoda demonstrates that although games and gamifi often perpetuate dominant socioeconomic hierarchies and exploitation, game-based approaches can also function as forms of resistance.

Ritterfeld, Ute, Michael Cody, and Peter Vorderer, eds. 2009. Serious Games: Mechanisms and Effects. New York and London: Routledge.

Ritterfeld, Cody, and Vorderer explore how games can encourage learning in the real world. The editors define serious games as “any form of interactive computer-based game software for one or multiple players to be used on any platform and that has been developed with the intention to be more than entertainment” (6). Organized into four sections, the book’s chapters explore the psychological mechanisms of serious games and how they facilitate learning, development, and change in a variety of areas, including health care, human rights, education, research, and immigration.

Rose, Frank. 2011. The Art of Immersion: How the Digital Generation is Remaking Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and the Way We Tell Stories. New York: W.W. Norton.

Rose explores how the Internet changes storytelling. He argues that while stories in other media also appear in patterns that we make meaning out of, the Internet communicates narratives in a unique way, changing how we communicate, create, consume, and engage with content. Rather than communicating stories as sequential narratives, the Internet allows for stories to be communicated in a nonlinear, participatory, game-like, and immersive way. This allows for deeper engagement with stories, especially when distinctions between author and audience, story and game, entertainment and marketing, and fiction and reality become increasingly blurred.

Werbach, Kevin. 2014. “(Re)Defining Gamification: A Process Approach.” In Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Persuasive Technology (PERSUASIVE 2014), Lecture Notes in Computer Science 8462: 266–72.   doi:10.1007/978-3-319-07127-5_23.

Werbach defines gamification as a process of making activities game-like, focusing on the components of a game and the experience of gamefulness. He stresses that gamification is a process, so as to avoid the need of pointing to where the designed system crosses into becoming gamification. He calls upon the literature on persuasive design, since gamification influences behaviour. Werbach concludes that how one defines gamification will affect its coherence and shape a debate of legitimacy, suggesting that his definition captures the essential aspects of the practice, while providing direction for its future.

Zichermann, Gabe, and  Christopher  Cunningham.  2011.  Gamification By Design: Implementing Game Mechanics in Web and Mobile Apps. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly Media.

Zichermann and Cunningham’s work targets marketers, application designers, and corporate brand and product managers. The authors demonstrate the ways in which gamification can be utilized in digital applications in order to acquire and engage consumers and users, shifting from traditional loyalty programs to engagement platforms. They define gamification as “the process of game-thinking and game mechanics to engage users and solve problems” (xiv). Zichermann and Cunningham outline areas of game fundamentals that focus on player motivation, game mechanics, design practices, and integration of social interactions. The book contains case studies of companies that apply gamification, as well as tutorials to develop game mechanics.