2 more actionable gamification techniques | Journey | Part 2

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2 more actionable gamification techniques | Journey | Part 2

This is the second part of the Journey series. Click here to read the first one to get full context.


I played Journey, Again.

After knowing the fact that a real-world player was playing with me, I just had to. This time, I observed a few more great things that made me go just "Wow. This is fucking amazing." I had to share this.

So turn off your notifications and relax your body and mind, because we are going on a journey, again.

Game Techniques

#4 Illusions of effort

Make people feel they have put some effort into doing a task which was actually easy to do in reality.

Every time I was climbing on a big hill, it felt I am making a lot of effort. Every time I am walking against the wind, it felt like I am making a lot of effort. Every time I am saving myself from monsters, it felt like I am making a lot of effort.

This walking on snow against unknown felt hardest, but it really wasn't.

The reality was, I could have my eyes closed and still I would have finished those tasks. It was that easy, just never felt like it. They achieved this with great in-game physics, sound and visuals. 

Most wouldn't even realise this as the game is immersive. But this sure increases the overall experience greatly.

Deep dive: Why it works?

If it didn't feel challenging, it wouldn't have left an impact. Players wouldn't feel they have accomplished anything. It would feel cheap and meaningless and extremely childish.

Nowadays, many games are trying to achieve this: That it feels challenging but it really isn't. Part of the reason is to make the game accessible to everyone and not just to hardcore gamers. And the devs at Journey succeeded.

Inducing such feelings, leads to sense of accompaniments. You feel like you have done something. See, if there is no sense of effort, there is no sense of winning. It is important in game design to make feelings of "winning" as real as possible.

Ideas: How can you do it?

1. “One of the hypotheses was that the cake mixes were so easy to make, customers didn’t feel they were actually baking, and therefore did not have a sense of accomplishment or competence. Based on this concept, instead of making the process easier by removing steps, General Mills decided to add additional steps to the process. They decided to remove the conveniently powdered eggs from their Betty Crocker cake mixes and required the bakers to add in their own fresh eggs before putting them into the oven.

To many’s surprises, the product immediately became a breakout success. By adding that extra step of throwing in an egg yourself, people felt that they were actually baking a delicious dessert to compliment a meal. This made them feel great about themselves and their contributions to the family.3. The philosophy of, “Games are unnecessary obstacles that we volunteer to tackle” can be seen clearly here, we're adding a few extra steps increased Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment within the experience”

Excerpt From: Yu-kai Chou. “Actionable Gamification: Beyond Points, Badges, and Leaderboards”.

2. I am going to do this on the landing page

Make it super easy to sign up on your landing page: This is the most common advice we get to hear. And the result? We make something highly function focused. And it works to a large extent. But with gamification, we can make the whole thing memorable and increase conversion rate. 

If you noticed, I too am making it bit harder to sign up on the home page, and it feels like you are making more efforts, but you really are not. The extra steps there are also meaningful. It's still not good enough as of now. A few iterations will definitely make it much much better though. 

#5 Infinite Power Sharing

Enable individuals or groups to share their power with others, and make the act of sharing non zero sum game.

So I started the game third time because I wanted to capture some specific screenshots. "I'll take just 10 minutes", I said to myself. And in 12 minutes I took the screenshots I needed and I was about to exit the game and focus on writing but that's when someone joined me. Let's call that someone "Angel". 

Angel had longer cloth on her by default. (Longer cloth meant she had extra powers. She could get countless bursts of flying). Interesting part? If I go near her, I also get those bursts. One time use only. For another one, I will have to go near her again. So we stuck together,.Angel happily kept sharing her power with me and we both kept moving forward at a faster pace. That was surreal experience to me.

But, wait. I was here to take just one screenshot but I am still playing it and enjoying it. Well played devs, well played 👏

Deep dive: Why it works?

We've largely survived through social bonding.

And bonding requires extra efforts to be made. Much more efforts if you are not blood-related. Genuinely helping someone is one of the key things you can do create a bond with that person. Helping continuously makes the bond stronger. This technique, just simulate that thing.

Ideas: How can you do it?

I'm unable to find anyone who has used this technique in non-gaming products. I'll add when I find something good to share. You can also connect with me and suggest if you know any product doing this.

PS: I am going to Combine this technique with stranger companion technique in my upcoming update. It'll be interesting to see how it goes. 

Final thoughts

There are amazing game techniques that can be used in the non gaming products and it will make huge difference. I'm just baffled amount of great things I can learn from such work of art.

Psyched to do more.


I'm writing new techniques everyday, If you have any kind of feedback or suggestion, please feel free to DM me on Twitter Api42_ . I read and reply to each DMs I get.

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