Gamification is the process of taking a task that usually does not include play, and adding an element of play to it. Usually, this is done by making a task into a game. This can look a lot of different ways! It might mean making a bingo card of chores you need to get done, or playing a video game designed to help you keep up with a daily routine.
There are already games out there that can help you in your day-to-day life! Habitica is a gamified to-do list where you have a customizable avatar, a class, and pets as you battle monsters by getting habits, dailies, and to-dos checked off your list. Finch is a virtual pet app where you care for your pet and let them go on adventures by completing self-care activities such as exercising and drinking water. SuperBetter is a game to overcome challenges such as depression, TBI, or injury by adopting a secret identity, recruiting allies, finding power-ups, and completing challenges.
But what if there isn’t a game out there that you connect with? Or what if you need a game for a very specific task or event?
Well – then you can make your own!
In order to make your own game, we need to understand the basic components of games: goal, motivation, mechanics, challenge, and reward.
Let’s break these down!
Goal: What do you get accomplished by playing this game? What does the game set out to have you do? Collect 50 pinecones for the forest spirit? Or get your chores done?
Motivation: Why do the characters (or you!) want to accomplish this? Will the realm be thrown into chaos if you don’t? Or will the dishes be stinky?
Mechanics: How is the game played? On a computer? With friends or alone? With dice? A deck of cards?
Challenge: How and why is this game more engaging than just doing the task on its own? Enemies? Time limits?
Reward: What’s the benefit of playing this game? Gold? XP? Dopamine? Goodies? Or just the satisfaction of the task completed?
A lot of games have complicated rules, but a game doesn’t need to be complicated to be effective. Think of bingo: there’s only two elements, the number draw and the sheet, and yet the game has been being played for 100 years! Mechanics can be controlled or randomized, depending on what you need. A controlled mechanic might be something like a point system – doing tasks to earn points, building to a reward. But randomness can help if you’re stuck in a rut, such as rolling a die to select a task from a self-care list, pulling cards from a custom deck of dinner options, or spinning a dial on a chore circle.
If your game uses rewards, you should never have to ‘earn’ basic necessities like food, rest, or joy. You should never have to earn breaks or meals. Think of rewards as an ‘upgrade’. Is there something you wouldn’t treat yourself to normally that’s still within your means? That would make a good reward!
Games come in a lot of shapes and sizes, and the best game will be the one that works for you! Games don’t have to be complicated to be effective, so start small and only add additional factors if the game needs help to stand on its own. If you want help gamifying your tasks to make them more engaging and rewarding, our coaches can help you with that! Don’t hesitate to ask your coach or reach out to learn more about our services today!