Why you should hope for a gameful experience

Why you should hope for a gameful experience

Happy New Year everyone! May it be all that you have wished for and more. But most of all, may it be gameful.

Today we’re addressing the topic of gameful experiences and why this is the best seller when it comes to gamification or any other topic addressed here.

The term gameful experience was coined by Jane McGonigal. In her research, she’s discovered that gaming reveals several specific emotions and behaviors in people, more quickly and far more intense than any other way. Based on this research she encourages us all to provide gameful experiences to our target audiences, if we wish to offer them an unforgettable experience overall.

I sincerely agree with her point of view, especially since facts are on her side. Games do bring out certain emotions and behaviors. And we usually want more. They are intense, fun, challenging, and so much more. Therefore, it’s only natural to have a multi-billion industry revolving around them.

Since we play games all the time, particularly at home or with friends, why not nurture the positive effects and bring them into business as well? Or, in education.

A very nice example is what this “crazy” professor did for his students in Hong Kong.  He turned his medical course into a gameful experience. He engaged his students by offering challenges, not homework, by giving purpose to their tasks and by nurturing all those positive behaviors and emotions that a teacher would want in his classroom.

Another example is with the rise of educational escape rooms. As Nicholson states in a white paper quoted in this article, “the concept of meaningful gamification is not to provide external rewards, but rather to help participants find a deeper connection to the underlying topic”.  Yes! That’s exactly right! And that is why a gameful experience, such as an escape room, does the job and solves the problem. Because it empowers participants to act. To practice. To learn.

And, to offer a personal example as well, along-side the team at Edutainment, I created an educational escape room for the Armenian Street Festival in Bucharest. Participants would discover he story of the old Armenian school in Bucharest by solving puzzles and decrypting hidden messages. And I can tell you first hand, they were mesmerized by our approach. Why? Gameful experience of course.

You’ve probably noticed that all my examples are revolving around escape rooms. Achievement unlocked: you have an eye for details!

Although I consider escape rooms to be an easy and powerful way of generating that gameful experience, that doesn’t mean it’s the only way.

But rather than showing you or telling you, I’m challenging you: come up with at least one other way of offering that gameful experience and use it!

Leave your thoughts and answers in the comments. Who knows, maybe you’ll help someone with your idea. And someone else might help you! 🙂