My Journey to Gamification! The Beginning!

Hello Heroes!

I hope you’re all doing well these times! My 2nd post will be about my journey to Gamification and thus also deeper into Behavioral Science and Motivation. So let’s go. Where did it all start? Further posts, will dive deeper into stuff you can learn and use on your own Hero’s journey! The following is the start of mine!

Games itself have accompanied me for many years of my life. In my youth, I spent probably years in played time with video games like Pokemon, World of Warcraft, Starcraft, Call of Duty, Tetris and more. During my studies and while working my time in games significantly decreased for a better. Nevertheless, did games bring me a lot of fun and good moments in my life. I suppose that is why I might be more receptive to Gamification 😀

And I’m not sure when this term Gamification came first up in my life, but it has surely been a few years back. From then on, time to time, I had several brief contact points with it, be it during searching the internet or youtube, on conferences or during conversations. One thing is for sure, it was not love at first sight.
At one point I stumbled across a TedX-Talk by Mark Rober.

Mark Rober

In this TedX-Talk Mark talks about the Super Mario Effect he could see in his life and through an experiment as well in others.

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The video game character Mario

The Super Mario Effect
Shifting the focus from falling into pits to saving the princess, to stick with a task and learn more.

Mark Rober in The Super Mario Effect – Tricking Your Brain into Learning More | Mark Rober | TEDxPenn

With hilarious examples from his own life and YouTube channel, Mark is showing what a simple (not easy) shift in focus can do for you. Doing failures, yes, but not focussing and getting discouraged by the failure but just see the failures as what they are, opportunities to learn.

You can find my extensive post about the Super Mario Effect here.

It comes again and again. First actions!

I watched this video somewhere in July 2020. After this video I knew, “Man, he’s right and up to something big” and I directly delved into it and from then on was focused, learning about it every day and become a master in two months and was able to have fun, earn a shitton of money and have free time as much as I want. The end! (!!!!I’M KIDDING!!!!)

Though my thought about that’s this is something worth spending time into, I was not kidding about that. But to be honest, after watching the video, I was hyped, but it did not really change something and I did not spend time with it. Every day live kicked in pretty quickly, as usual, I’m sure you understand that. That is why we aren’t heroes from the beginning, it is a journey. And we are all going it!

From October 2020 to February 2021 I was going through my coaching education. My coach and I talked during the training about Gamification as well, how to use it in business and in coaching. At this point, I would say it was mostly about the shallow Gamification using Points, Badges and Leaderboards. But what it did, was to bring me into the right direction. I made my first character sheet in PowerPoint to gamify my journey. See below, it’s german, the quests and rewards my seem a bit odd, but for a first draft, I was pretty proud of it.

My first character sheet.

A future post will talk about how I am implementing this now. But this draft visualizes perfectly how Gamification is viewed by most, I included at the beginning. “Oh, I’ll just call my To-Do’s quests and give me some points for stuff. And then I’m gonna reward myself! Wow, this is so going to work, muahahaha.” Well, it worked to an extent, but when not looking or working on it, did it motivate me? Unfortunately not.

I want more!

But there I knew, I really want to dive deeper into Gamification. I started to code a gamification website, without really thinking about motivation etc. it really was just an extent of my first PowerPoint draft.

At one point I came up with the brilliant idea to just use google and searched for books about Gamification. And then I got it into my hands. Actionable Gamification by Yu-Kai Chou.

Actionable Gamification

This book really changed the way I see Gamification and its possibilities. Yu-Kai Chou is a luminary in the field of Gamification, Behavioral design. With his platform Octalysis Prime, he is spreading his knowledge with others in an extent that is seldom found. But away from the praise of Yu-Kai Chou back to his book.

Actionable Gamification deals with the Octalysis Framework. It is a Gamification framework that is dividing motivation into eight core drives.

The Octalysis Framework by Yu-Kai Chou
  1. Epic Meaning and Calling: Motivation through appealing to something higher than the hero itself. Examples are values like peace or justice, religions or a greater good like making people aware of the power and possibilities of Gamification.
  2. Development and Accomplishment: Motivation through (visible/feelable) development of the hero or through accomplishing things. Examples are publishing a blog entry, learning a new language or getting a job.
  3. Empowerment of Creativity and Feedback: Motivation through the use of creativity and through feedback given to the act of creativity. Examples are strategy games like starcraft or chess, designing, drawing or writing.
  4. Ownership and Possession: Motivation through the (potential) ownership of things. Examples are cars, money, a virtual pet, points accumulated in a game or collections of any type.
  5. Social Influence and Relatedness: Motivation through the interaction with other people or through feeling related to a certain group. Examples are sharing a post, playing games together, actions through group pressure or calling a friend.
  6. Impatience and Scarcity: Motivation through impatience to wait for something or through the scarcity of a certain thing (may it be opportunities, actions, goods, offers). Examples are countdowns, limited editions or limited offers.
  7. Unpredictability and Curiosity: Motivation through being curious about something or through the unpredictable nature of something. Examples are gambling, mystery boxes where you don’t know what you get, rolling the dices, playing your music on shuffle.
  8. Loss and Avoidance: Motivation through the potential loss of something or to avoid certain conditions or outcomes. Examples are stepping into a cold shower because you don’t want to lose your 33-day streak (YES!), don’t break up with a person because you want to avoid feeling alone, sending someone a snap just to keep your flames in Snapchat, restrict yourself to speed limits to not get a ticket and lose money through this.

For the current moment, you can find a deeper explanation here.

Octalysis Prime

This book is filled with lots of direct actions the reader can undertake and good examples to better grasp the theory. The book itself is filled with some game design techniques to invoke motivation in the reader. For me it worked. I went through the book and had a lot of fun applying the learnt knowledge. And I was also lured into the spheres of Octalysis Prime, which I have already mentioned above. Following this path was a grandiose decision and I have the feeling turning point in my life. So let’s take a look at what Octalysis Prime is briefly.

Octalysis Prime simply put is a learning platform for Gamification which reflects the knowledge it contains through its own design. Made, advanced and maintained by a team around Yu-Kai Chou this platform contains not only far more information than the book but also gives the chance to get in contact with like-minded people. Engage yourself in the community and be a part of the development of the platform and Gamification itself. Design challenges give you the opportunity to test your skills and might be able to be part of the company of Yu-Kai Chou. Weekly office hours where you can directly speak to Yu-Kai and a Slack channel to communicate with others are rounding up the experience.
Wow, I think I am indeed a fanboy!
Every hero who wants to go onto the journey of Gamification, Octalysis Prime and the book Actionable Gamification are a splendid start!

Another opportunity through Octalysis Prime is given through the certificates that can be earned. Currently, there are two levels available. To earn the certificates one has to show that the hero is able to apply the Octalysis Framework and understands it. The level or the certificate reflects the depth and complexity of the skill that needs to be shown. I already submitted my Level 1-Certificate and are just awaiting the feedback for my submission!

The Journey continues!

As you already might have figured, this blog is a big sign for that besides the post so far, I’m not finished with my journey. Far from it, I’m just at the beginning and already have learned a lot! My hero’s journey to Gamification is already progress and I don’t plan on quitting it early. So what are my next steps?

  1. I want to make a living with Gamification.
  2. Many books are on my shelve awaiting me!
  3. Many videos are awaiting me on the internet and especially in Octalysis Prime.
  4. After earning the Level-1 certificate I naturally want to fulfil my Core Drive 2 Development and Accomplishment and earn the Level-2 certificate.
  5. Another big point on my agenda is to apply gamification to my life.

How can you start?

So what tips can I give you to start with your hero’s journey to Gamification?

  • If you want to start quick watch the Tedx-Talk of Mark Rober and/or the one of Yu-Kai Chou.
  • If you like to read, start with the book Actionable Gamification by Yu-Kai Chou. This gives a good overview of what Gamification is about and explains the Octalysis Framework, which itself has the power to change your life.
  • After this, I would highly encourage you to check out Octalysis Prime and see what the fuzz is about.
  • So this is my second post, but if you’re reading this later, of course, check out the other content on my page!

Engage your Core Drives 3 (Empowerment of Creativity and Feedback) and 5 (Social Influence and Relatedness) and write down below, how you will advance in your hero’s journey to Gamification!

Until then, I’m out my heroes.

Stay heroic!

Stay heroic!

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