The Game Mechanics Pattern
Making the user feel like they are in a game — or an experience that is rewarding, staged, and engaging — by using mechanics of game design, like staging tasks, giving rewards, having competition, forcing constraints, and other behaviors common in games.
Type of Design
Good for Contexts like
Engagement in the System
Understanding the System
Making a Strategy Decision
Problems & Contexts It Can Work For
Game mechanics can be useful whenever you want your user to engage with your system — meaning to spend more time, to pay more attention, and to be more invested in choice-making and following through on behavior.
You can use it in small bits — like putting a progress bar on top of a form, and then rewarding the user with a thank you if they complete it. Or you can set up point systems, metrics, or other hints of competition. There is also the option of creating an entire game system, in which the user either role-plays what it is like to go through the system (good for preparing them for navigating it strategically) or getting tasks done to navigate a path (good so that it feels less like homework, and more rewarding).
How to Make It
Consider what game elements you can create, like:
– progress bars
– feedback loops
There are also game-creation platforms that you can use if you want to craft a full-blown game. You can create quizzes on Quizlet or using forms on a WordPress site. You can use game engines like GameSalad or Scratch to do visual programming of games. You can use the text-based game editor ____.
Examples of the Game Mechanics Pattern