Collection Interfaces for Digital Game Objects

Originally published by the HCI Games Group. The HCI Games Group collaborated with a research project that also involved the Play & Interactive Experiences for Learning Lab at the New Mexico State University and the University of California at Irvine to investigate player behaviour regarding the collection of digital objects in games. The study aimed to understand what kinds of objects players collect and why. It was firstly presented at the CHI PLAY 2016 Conference, where it received an Honorary […]

Gamification vs Gameful Design: why does it matter? 4

There have been so many discussions about the terms gamification and gameful design that I was avoiding posting about them until now. But now I felt like giving my contribution and trying to help differentiate both terms and discuss why the difference matters. Despite everything that has already been said about these two definitions, I feel we still not have an agreed upon differentiation between the two. Yet, a well-conceptualized differentiation was already suggested by Deterding and colleagues back in […]

Gamification Highlights of 2016

A collection of some of the most relevant publications and news of 2016 related to Gamification — from the point of view of an HCI researcher. Note: all the slides have links to the publications; if they are not working on SlideShare, please download the PDF file.

Lessons learned from a gamified course experience

Yesterday I published a review of a paper on gamified university-level education. Today, I am going to present some lessons learned from my own experience gamifying a university course. Last Spring I had the opportunity to teach a course on Business Systems Analysis at the University of Waterloo and I took the opportunity to gamify part of the course. Since I was only a sessional instructor for one term, I did not want to change the course structure too much, […]

How do students differ in gamified education? 1

Originally published in the ACM XRDS blog. Gamification of University-level courses is becoming a common practice, as many professors decide to try offering their students a more engaging learning environment. Nevertheless, we still do not have a clear idea on how individual students engage differently with a gamified course. But now a detailed, long-term study from the University of Lisbon has presented some insightful observations on this topic. During the course of their study, the researchers observed three editions of […]

12 Findings for Gamification from CHI PLAY 2016

CHI PLAY 2016, the ACM Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play, happened last week and made available a lot of interesting research in games, play, and gamification. I have made a compilation of 12 of the relevant findings for future Gamification design and research. Check them out! Design Applications can be designed to support different user types of be personalized to specific target users. In The Gamification User Types Hexad Scale, researchers showed which game design elements users of each one […]

The peak-end rule influences enjoyment of games

The peak-end rule is a psychological heuristic that explains how people judge an experience largely based on its peak (i.e., its most intense point) and its end, rather on the whole experience. A research from the Universities of Saskatchewan and Canterbury and Autodesk sought to verify if this effect would influence player’s enjoyment of (casual) games. They manipulated the difficulty or balance of three simple games to vary the peak and end experiences, keeping the playing experience otherwise unchanged, and […]

Understanding How the Context Supports Autonomy

Self-determination theory posits autonomy as a basic need that fuels intrinsic motivation. Thus, we consider it an important characteristic of intrinsically enjoyable tasks, including games. We often say that game playing is a voluntary activity. However, when we think about serious games or gamification, there is a risk that the seriousness of the context and the obligation to interact with the system may thwart the user’s autonomy. Several gamification scholars and designers have pointed out that good gamification must be […]

Defining Clear Goals in Gameful Applications

I have previously talked about the prominent role of challenges in games and gameful applications. Challenging oneself to overcome unnecessary obstacles just for the fun of it is at the heart of a gameful experience. Moreover, good challenges only work together with clear goals and clear paths, i.e., the player must know what she wants to achieve and how to do it. Games and gameful applications must always support the player in defining goals and immediate objectives. This can be […]


The Gamification User Types Hexad Scale 2

Several studies have indicated the need for personalising gamified systems to users’ personalities. However, mapping user personality onto design elements is difficult. To address this problem, Marczewski developed the Gamification User Types Hexad framework, based on research on human motivation, player types, and practical design experience. He also suggested different game design elements that may support different user types. However, until now we were still lacking a standard assessment tool for user’s preferences based on the Hexad framework. There was […]