Game Mechanics

Game Mechanics are tools, techniques, and widgets that are used as building blocks for gamifying a website or application. Utilizing them correctly can build a highly motivational user experience around existing website functionality or content.

This page is a compilation of Game Mechanics and Game Dynamics Theories and Examples. It is our goal to make this page the ultimate resource for Game Mechanics by collaboratively documenting their definitions, implementation examples, best practices, relevant metrics and strategies, etc. Each Game Mechanic is categorized by various attributes which you can also use to search for them by. See the Usage section for details.

The Gamification Process takes long term dedication, careful planning and the right tools and expertise. Keep in mind this page should be only a first step to understanding Gamification and should not be seen as a magic bullet to increase Engagement in and of itself.

Contents

Game Mechanics Shortcuts

Game Mechanics

Achievements

Achievements Achievements are a virtual or physical representation of having accomplished something. Achievements can be easy, difficult, surprising, funny, ... More info

Appointments

Appointments Appointment Dynamics are game dynamics in which at a predetermined times/place a user must log-in or participate in game, for positive effect... More info

Behavioral Momentum

Behavioral Momentum Behavioral Momentum is the tendency of players to keep doing what they have been doing.... More info

Blissful Productivity

Blissful Productivity Blissful Productivity is the idea that playing in a game makes you happier working hard, than you would be relaxing. Essentially, we're optimized as human beings by working... More info

Bonuses

Bonuses Bonuses are a reward after having completed a series of challenges or core functions. Can be from completing a Combo or ... More info

Cascading Information Theory

Cascading Information Theory The theory that information should be released in the minimum possible snippets to gain the appropriate level of understanding at each point during a ... More info

Combos

Combos Combos are used often in games to reward skill through doing a combination of things. This also can add excitement or incentivize doing another... More info

Community Collaboration

Community Collaboration The game dynamic wherein an entire community is rallied to work together to solve a riddle, a problem or a challenge. Immensely viral and very fun.... More info

Countdown

Countdown The dynamic in which players are only given a certain amount of time to do something. This will create an activity graph that causes increased initial... More info

Discovery

Discovery Also called Exploration, players love to discover something, to be surprised. This also can be seen in the Game Feature, Discovery. Discovery encour... More info

Epic Meaning

Epic Meaning Players will be highly motivated if they believe they are working to achieve something great, something awe-inspiring, something bigger than themselve... More info

Free Lunch

Free Lunch A dynamic in which a player feels that they are getting something for free due to someone else having done work. It's critical that work is perceived ... More info

Infinite Gameplay

Infinite Gameplay Games that do not have an explicit end. Most applicable to casual games that can refresh their content or games where a static (but positive) state is... More info

Levels

Levels Levels are a system, or "ramp", by which players are rewarded an increasing value for a cumulation of points. Often features or abilities are un... More info

Loss Aversion

Loss Aversion

“Influencing the player behavior not through reward, but by avoiding punishment, varying punishments through status, access, power, loss of resources or being downgraded.

... More info

Lottery

Lottery A game dynamic in which the winner is determined solely by chance. This creates a high level of anticipation. The fairness is often suspect, however w... More info

Ownership

Ownership Ownership is a powerful Game Dynamic that creates Loyalty.... More info

Points

Points Points are a running numerical value given for any single action or combination of actions.... More info

Progression

Progression A dynamic in which success is granularly displayed and measured through the process of completing itemized tasks.... More info

Quests

Quests Also known as Challenges. Challenges usually implies a time limit or competition whereas Quests are meant to be a journey of obstacles a player must o... More info

Reward Schedules

Reward Schedules The timeframe and delivery mechanisms through which rewards (points, prizes, level ups) are delivered. Three main parts exist in a reward schedule; co... More info

Status

Status Status is the rank or level of a player. Players are often motivated by trying to reach a higher level or status. Also relates to envy.

... More info

Urgent Optimism

Urgent Optimism Extreme self motivation. The desire to act immediately to tackle an obstacle combined with the belief that we have a reasonable hope of success.... More info

Virality

Virality A game element that requires multiple people to play (or that can be played better with multiple people)

... More info

Usage

Game Mechanic: 
Game Mechanics
Type Progression, Feedback, Behavioral
Boosts Engagement, Loyalty, Time Spent, Influence, Fun, SEO, UGC, Virality.
Personality Type(s) Gamification-Diamond.pngAchievers, Gamification-Spade.jpgExplorers,
Gamification-Heart.pngSocializers, Gamification-Club.gifKillers
See Also Points, Levels, Game Design

Each Game Mechanic is categorized by 3 Attributes:

  1. Game Mechanics Type
  2. Boosts(Benefits)
  3. Personality Types

There are three Game Mechanic Types: Progression, Feedback and Behavioral.
There are four Personality Types: Gamification-Spade.jpgExplorers, Gamification-Diamond.pngAchievers, Gamification-Heart.pngSocializers and Gamification-Club.gifKillers.
There are nine Boosts: Engagement, Loyalty, Time Spent, Influence, Fun, SEO, UGC and Virality.

See also

Read more

References

SCVNGR originated some of the following mechanics as part of a real life card deck http://techcrunch.com/2010/08/25/scvngr-game-mechanics/.