A few weeks ago I wrote an article on different ways gamification is used in business where it is easily seen and felt by your clients and team members. Today I want to take a closer look into game theory and how are the best games created.

What makes them the best and how does that apply to your business?

Story

We touched on this in the last article in the series, a great game has a great story, but we didn’t talk about what makes a great story. So let’s examine the parts that make a story great.

  1. A compelling character. Perhaps it is the underdog, the person least likely to win or lead finds their courage and does what no one else was willing to do, making them the leader or winner in the end. Perhaps you know who the leader is from the beginning the protagonist will get their way in the end but the story is in discovering their why. Why do they have these thoughts and feelings that make them a great warrior or leader? The last part of a character that makes them someone we cheer for is their development through a story. Do they grow as an individual? How do they change? These are interesting to us because as human beings we change, we learn, we grow, and because we are always going through our own character development it makes the story more compelling when the characters within it do also.
  2. Choices. Every good story buries the solution/answer to the challenge to force the character to make a series of choices that will eventually reveal the solution — but with various outcomes. Have you have read a “create your own ending” book? That is really what is happening here. The character makes a series of choices (that you agree or not with) that gets them to the climax of the story, and then the resolution or end. Is this not true of life? If we consider our own lives for a moment, do we know what is going to happen tomorrow? No. Do we know how it will all end? No. So we are the protagonist in our own game/story. We go through life making a series of choices, sometimes good others not so much, but by the end they culminate into your story.
  3. Believability. We as the player or viewer need to believe that the protagonist believes in their choices. Again whether they are good or bad is largely irrelevant at this point in time, are they standing their ground or do they seem unsure of their decisions. When the protagonist is sure in their decision we feel compelled to follow them and in some cases even cheer them on without knowing their reasons why. Sometimes those reasons make us change our mind about the protagonist, but the point is we believe they are resolute in their decision, making them enjoyable to follow and engage with.

Exploring how Choice plays a role in your marketing and business

Often as business owners we develop a natural choice a, you will work with me, choice b you won’t – dichotomy in our minds. But what if we played a game?

What if choice a lead to 2 more options? Which then lead to 2 more options and so on? This would be giving your character the freedom to choice their own ending, with out knowing what the ending is. The build your own adventure model is another way businesses can incorporate gamification into their companies. It is surely more complex, takes time (a great game can take 5 years to develop), but in the end creates a user experience where they are engaged with your brand from the very beginning to the very end. This develops customer loyalty and more service options.

Wouldn’t you want to play the game just to see how it ends? Your clients would too!

Keep it simple

…Yet complex because the human brain loves complexity. That is why we create complexity within our lives. We all know someone who says they hate drama yet seems to invite it… its because they love watching how it will play out.

Creating a multiple choice game for your customer and employee engagement is complex, which is what keeps them engaged, and simple because a confused mind doesn’t buy.

What are you thinking right now? Comment below or shoot me an email about your thoughts on this. I look forward to the conversation!