Gamification is the use of game mechanics and game design techniques in non-game contexts in order to engage users and solve problems. Gamification techniques leverage people’s natural desires for competition, achievement, status, self-expression, altruism, and closure.

Below are some examples:

The Blood Typing Game


The Blood Typing Game

Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world


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Jane McGonigal

Jane McGonigal, PhD is a world-renowned designer of alternate reality games — or, games that are designed to improve real lives and solve real problems.

She believes game designers are on a humanitarian mission — and her #1 goal in life is to see a game developer win a Nobel Peace Prize.





Examples of games that make a difference:

Free Rice – Over 98 billion grains donated to date.


Fold It – Video-game players have solved a molecular puzzle that stumped scientists for years, and those scientists say the accomplishment could point the way to crowd sourced cures for AIDS and other diseases.


Phylo – Helping researchers identify sections of DNA that are similar across species and
contribute to traits such as blue eyes — or medical conditions such as heart disease.


Games For Change – Catalyzing Social Impact Through Digital Games.


Zooniverse – The Zooniverse is home to the internet’s largest, most popular and
most successful citizen science projects.


Military use of gaming for training

Gaming has long been an important tool used by militaries to assist in training, analysis and mission readiness. What began 5,000 years ago as warfare models using colored stones and grid systems on a board has evolved into state-of-the-art computer-simulation systems that allow users to customize their virtual experience based on real-life events. American drone pilots are trained using a variety of simulation exercises.

The United States Army has developed an advanced simulation game called America’s Army to “provide the public a virtual Soldier experience that was engaging, informative and entertaining.”

The army has developed additional games that are used for recruitment.

Not to be outdone, the United States Air Force has released Airman Challenge as a recruiting tool.

Here is an article on the history of military gaming

Games to play

The single best way to understand games and gamification is to play games. Play them not for entertainment, but as research. Here are some places to start:

Social games – Facebook – Some 260 million users per month play Facebook games.

Simulation/virtual worlds – Second LifePrince William Sound Community College has a virtual wet lab that won 1st prize in the 2012 Federal Virtual World Challenge. An exemplary use of virtual worlds for education. See more on virtual worlds here

MMOGs – Massive Multiplayer Online Game – These are games like World of Warcraft and Halo. Steam is a good resource to connect to MMOGs

Other games can be found for mobile devices in the Apple App store and the Google play store.

Game building resources

If you’re interested in studying game mechanics and perhaps begin designing games, here’s some resources to get you started:

Gamestar Mechanic – Gamestar Mechanic uses fun, game-based quests and courses to help you learn game design and make your own video games!

GameMaker Studio – Caters to entry-level novices and seasoned game development professionals equally, allowing them to create casual and social games.

Scratch – With Scratch, you can program your own interactive stories, games, and animations — and share your creations with others in the online community.

Alice – Alice is an innovative 3D programming environment that makes it easy to create an animation for telling a story or playing an interactive game.

Kodu – Kodu can be used to teach creativity, problem solving, storytelling, as well as programming. Anyone can use Kodu to make a game, young children as well as adults with no design or programming skills.

GameSprout – Gamesprout is a game development community and platform: a system where people can work together to turn their game ideas into playable, published games.

ARIS – ARIS is a user-friendly, open-source platform for creating and playing mobile games,
tours and interactive stories.

Gamestar Mechanic Trailer