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 […]

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 […]


Pokémon GO is not Gamification! (It’s a game!) 6

During the past week, considerable attention has been given in the media to Niantic‘s new game, Pokémon GO! Lots of people are talking about the game’s potential benefits and dangers. One of the many claims that have taken the media is that Pokémon GO is a great example of gamification. Let’s just make something clear: Pokémon GO is not gamification! It’s a game! I know the distinction might often seem not important. However, both approaches are related but not equal. […]

Pokémon Centre

Civilization V in High Schools: How To Motivate Different Students?

Civilization V screenshot (by Wikipedia) The Verge has recently reported that Civilization V is going to be used in North American high schools beginning next Fall. Publisher Take-Two Interactive announced that the modified version will be called CivilizationEDU and will “provide students with the opportunity to think critically and create historical events, consider and evaluate the geographical ramifications of their economic and technological decisions, and to engage in systems thinking and experiment with the causal / correlative relationships between military, technology, political, […]

Civilization V

Gameful Design Fundamentals: Challenge, Progression, Rewards

These slides are a summary of the post series focused on better understanding some of the most widely used gameful design elements. If you’re interested in reading more, also check the original blog posts: Part 1: Challenge Accepted! The role of challenge for gameful design Part 2: I’m in it for the prize! The role of rewards for gameful design Part 3: Level Up! The role of progression for gameful design  

Level Up! The role of progression for gameful design 1

Welcome to the final post in this series focused on better understanding some of the most widely used gameful design elements! This post will address progression, one of the basic design elements to help foster users’ intrinsic motivation from competence and mastery. If you have not done so yet, check the first two posts of the series out before you continue, the first one in particular, as it presents some important background on what is needed for a system to […]

I’m in it for the prize! The role of rewards for gameful design 2

In my previous post, I talked about the important role of challenge as an element for gameful design. Today I will talk about rewards, a game element that is present in many gameful applications. But before you continue, if you did not read part 1 yet, please take some time to review it because I will readdress the importance of challenge that I mentioned there. Part 1: Challenge Accepted! The role of challenge for gameful design Let’s then recall that […]

Challenge Accepted! The role of challenge for gameful design 6

There are dozens of different game elements that can be employed for gameful design, from the most well-known points, badges, and leaderboards, to levels and progression, social interaction, competition, rewards, and many others. But there is one important game element that is perhaps underestimated: challenge. Let’s take a look at the important role of challenges for games in general and for gameful design! What’s in a game? One of my favourites definitions of game playing comes from Bernard Suits’s book […]