The Most Inspiring Game Examples for Gamification Mechanics

Games have various claims to fame. One may have outstanding graphics, while another has compelling storyline. It is imperative to understand the characteristics of a first-rate game in order to apply Gamification to learning. What sets a game apart? Which aspects keep players engaged?


Here’s a list of games with excellent game mechanics. See what makes these games outshine others, and, how their mechanics can be applied to Gamified learning.

Lord of the Rings Online
When it comes to fantasy worlds, the Lord of the Rings Online creates an atmosphere of curiosity and freedom unlike any other. It features in-depth design and animation. Designing a world for a gamified system is important to improve the storyline and theme. In training, a serious game set in a fictional world can be a great tool to inspire learning. Curious learners are motivated to spend more time exploring the world, and in turn, gain more knowledge.

World of Warcraft
World of Warcraft first introduced the idea of using characters, profile photos and avatars to create customized heroes and villains. Players can choose from a wide range of skin colors, face shapes, hair styles, hair colors, and even piercings to create a truly unique avatar. They offer an in-game representation of the user, similar to the concept of virtual reality. The use of relatable avatars is a brilliant tool for first-person training experiences where the learner controls his or her own character.

The Sims
Modifying the avatars concept from the WOW Series, Sims offers more realistic virtual representation of ordinary, everyday individuals. The characters are more relatable and can be used to better understand human psyche and emotional connections. Similarly, the game also lets users create several personality traits for individual characters within the game. This is an important tool for emotion-based marketing or for training in emotive fields, such as therapy and counseling.

Dungeons and Dragons
Dungeons and Dragons offers creative choices for inventories and equipment, such as armor, weapons and potions. Users have thousands of possibilities and an opportunity to use limited resources to end the game. The game mechanic of equipment, earning new tools and gaining abilities from them, can be easily applied to corporate training. Learners work hard to earn their next piece of equipment, especially if it makes them more successful at a task within the serious game.

Super Mario Bros
As far back as the days of Atari and Nintendo, Super Mario Bros introduced the use of power-ups as a gamification technique. Power-ups allow the player to temporarily gain new abilities or powers. For example, picking a Fire Flower lets Mario throw fireballs, and catching a Super Star makes him momentarily invincible. Almost all games have adapted the exciting feature of power-ups. In Gamification of learning, a power-up could give the learner a hint to a question or extended time to complete a challenge.

The list of popular game mechanics is endless, and new gamification methods are constantly released to win the hearts and minds of individuals across the globe. Start compiling a list of your favorite game mechanics such as in-game currencies (in the case of Farmville), trading systems (Team Fortress 2) and quest method (Grand Theft Auto series). Then, think creatively on how to apply them to your Gamified learning and serious games!

Video Game Genres that Lend Themselves to Serious Games

A serious game involves a stimulation of real-life events or other processes which are designed for learning and problem-solving purposes. Although some serious games can be entertaining, their main objective is to educate and train the player. Such games can also be used for marketing, advertising and other purposes.

Pac Man Map

A video game genre, on the other hand, is a terminology used to classify games based on their interaction during game play. When it comes to designing serious games, there are several video game genres that can be used; as such games have themes, graphics and interactions that can help categorize them into a variety of video game genres easily. Examples of video game genres that lend themselves to serious games include, but are not limited to:

This genre combines two of the most popular video game genres; action and adventure. Serious games with the action-adventure category typically involve long-term objectives that must be achieved using tools or items, and short-term targets that are achievable through puzzle-solving and combat. The genre is further subdivided into two categories; stealth games and survival horror. Action-adventure serious games are particularly important when training the armed forces through virtual simulation. Popular serious games in this genre include CyberCIEGE and Close Combat: Marines.

Adventure Games
In terms of video game genres, adventure games are the oldest. In such games, the player plays the role of a protagonist in an interactive story mode that involves exploring the game world and puzzle solving. In contrast to action-adventure, most adventure games have single player options and require critical thinking and thorough observation. A serious game designed for staff training or edutainment can employ the adventure genre, such as Democracy.

Role-Playing Video Games
This popular genre brings the pen-and-paper or board game tactics into the digital world. If you remember the Dungeons & Dragons board game, then Role Playing Game (RPG) is the same thing, only on a computer. The player controls the protagonist of the game in a well-defined and detailed world. The advent of Japanese RPGs has further increased the demand for such games and increased its usage in serious games.

Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs)
Emerging in the 1990s, MMORPGs take RPGs to a multiplayer level. This means that the objectives of completing all the game quests and objectives involve interaction with other players. World of Warcraft is one of the leading MMORPG, globally. MMORPG can be fused with any other game genre. An example of a sci-fi MMORPG is Phantasy Star Online.

Life Simulation Games
Simulation games have always been popular. The use of virtual resources to create parks, cities and even countries has always fascinated people. Even today, Farmville remains one of the most popular online simulation games. Life Simulation Game is a subgenre of simulation that involves creating and controlling one or multiple artificial lives. This can include designing individual characteristics, defining the character’s relationships with others or even simulating a virtual ecosystem. They are also known as “god games” and do not generally have any set goals to determine a winner. Serious games offering pet-raising training or social interaction can be considered as life simulation games.

Vehicle Simulation Games
A vehicle simulation game provides the player with a realistic representation of operating a particular vehicle. For example, X-Plane is a serious game for Linux/Mac/Windows operating system that provides a comprehensive civil aviation and control stimulator, and enables a cost-efficient flight training exercise for the user. Similarly, Ship Simulator teaches how to maneuver a ship through the perils of the sea.

Strategy Video Games
As the name suggests, a strategy video game involves the use of skillful and careful thinking and critical planning to emerge victorious in a world full of innovative tactics. The players can only advance to the next levels if they are familiar with resource planning. This category is further divided into several subgenres, such as the 4X, Real Time Strategy, MMORTS, Artillery Game, Tower Defense and
Real-time Tactics.

Turn-based Strategy (TBS) Games
A subgenre of strategy-based games, TBS allows the player a period of thinking and analysis before taking any action in the game. Some TBS also allow a number of actions that can take place in a sequence or a turn.

There are several other genres and subgenres that apply to serious games. Multiple genres can be used to create an interactive, 3D learning environment for all serious game players. You can easily use any game genre and design innovative serious games for all your staff training and learning needs.