Proposal: Gamification

This might seem like a silly question, but take the time to understand what I'm asking.

Most games have objectives and some sort of grind involved. Let's say the primary objectives of the game are to level up your character and then go fight other players in an arena. During the process of leveling up your character, you're probably going to have to kill at least 37,000,000 goblins... (why is it always goblins, anyway?) to make things less boring, the developers start keeping track of your goblin kills. Suddenly you're getting badges for "killed 20 goblins in under a minute" and "25,000,000 total goblins killed".

So in this sense, the little achievements are the gamification of the game itself. Would these sorts of questions be appropriate on the gamificaiton site? And is -this- question more appropriate for gamification meta?

  • 2
    Please ignore the fact that my two examples would indicate 20,000 hours of grinding goblins. :-)
    – corsiKa
    Oct 10, 2013 at 19:36
  • This will certainly make for an interesting discussion once the site launches.
    – asheeshr
    Oct 11, 2013 at 15:44
  • What about answers / questions along the lines of: "We did it in this game, and it worked brilliantly" or "This technique works in this game, would it work in this non game context?"
    – Toni Leigh
    Oct 22, 2013 at 19:36

3 Answers 3


The definition of gamification that I go by is that it is: the application of game mechanics in non-game contexts.

Since adding game mechanics within a game, does not qualify as a non-game context, and comes squarely within the field of game design, IMO, such questions would be off-topic.

  • 1
    If the rewards for the "gamification" have no impact on the game itself, it's easy to argue that they actually aren't game mechanics. They're micro-rewards to encourage behavior that otherwise might not occur (just like SO badges),
    – corsiKa
    Oct 11, 2013 at 3:10
  • 1
    @corsiKa But you are ignoring the environment in which those micro-rewards are being offered.
    – asheeshr
    Oct 11, 2013 at 5:32
  • How is a badge for "100 edits" different than a badge for "100 ogres"?
    – corsiKa
    Oct 11, 2013 at 15:47
  • You are missing the point. Its about the environment in which that badge is offered, not the badge itself. If you want to discuss that example specifically, then an edit is being performed in a community/social context which helps other people, while killing an ogre or NPC is within a game context, and has no impact on anybody other than the player and its effect is restricted to the players personal score (and by extension the scoreboard). It is a game activity, not anything else.
    – asheeshr
    Oct 11, 2013 at 15:52
  • But it is something else. Let's turn this around in the light of Stack Overflow. If I'm trying to solve a problem in one context, like a webapp, and the same solution solves a problem in a desktop app, is someone going to say "Oh no, I can't use that solution, because it was made for a web app!!" I feel the same thing is true here. If someone posts a question about how to "gamify" their goblin-grinding process, the principles behind it may be of value to someone who wants to make their enterprise application better. The principles are the same and are helpful to both environments.
    – corsiKa
    Oct 11, 2013 at 17:27
  • The logic/design concept may be the same for both the mobile and web app but the implementation will be different. Similarly, even if the principles of game development and game design are overlapping, the actual nitty-gritties will not be the same. The badge will not look the same, the badge even though analogous, will not behave the same. The effects may be comparable but not equal because of the environment in which it is offered.
    – asheeshr
    Oct 12, 2013 at 17:33
  • A badge in a game may help increase status and bragging rights, but in the case of Stack Overflow, it is both a status symbol and a sign of a user's commitment to a community which is not the same as commitment towards a game.
    – asheeshr
    Oct 12, 2013 at 17:34
  • If we were to make a list of pros and cons to allowing game-gamification related questions, what would the cons be? Another way of phrasing it would be in what way would game-gamification be detrimental to the site?
    – corsiKa
    Oct 16, 2013 at 22:11
  • @corsiKa The biggest problem that I see is the unnecessary overlap of scope with Game Development which will, if, SO, Programmers, CS, CStheory, are anything to go by, be messy and hard to understand for new users to the network. This is possibly the biggest reason I am against having ambiguous areas forming the boundary of the site scope. Also, for me personally, it would reduce the value of the site, since it would be deviating from the true area of gamification impact which is the real (non-game) world ie busness, social and personal. This is just my opinion though.
    – asheeshr
    Oct 17, 2013 at 1:16
  • My site overlaps heavily with SO and Programmers, and it's never seemed to cause a problem with new users. There's been occasional questions that were too far out of scope, but I would say the overlap is a feature, not a bug. If anything, said material belongs on gamification more than it belongs on game dev. It only 'belongs' on game dev now because there's no better place for it. There are dozens of sites with blurred lines with other sites in terms of scope, and it's not a bad thing.
    – corsiKa
    Oct 17, 2013 at 16:14
  • As far as deviating from the true area of gamification, how can the original use case of gamification principles be a deviation?
    – corsiKa
    Oct 17, 2013 at 16:15

It's sort of a gray area, which is bound to polarize views, but its not gamification at all.

On the other hand, if you change your premises a bit, it does become gamification! What's more, the definition of gamification "applied in non-game contexts" is true even here.

Consider Steam or Xbox rewards. They do "tie-in" with games, and offer you achievements depending upon some in-game feats. That context, the xbox rewards, are not game contexts. They are social contexts. So, it is not wrong for it to be called gamification.

But strictly for the thing the question asks about, no. That is what games have been doing for ages now. That is not something new which gamification brings into the game.

  • And, there is no Gamification "META" right now :P
    – kumarharsh
    Oct 11, 2013 at 10:48
  • Regarding your last sentence, does it have to be new for it to be gamification?
    – corsiKa
    Oct 11, 2013 at 15:48
  • @corsiKa You are misreading it. He is just saying that games have been using badge like systems since before gamification came into existence and gamification inherits it from game design, not the other way round.
    – asheeshr
    Oct 11, 2013 at 15:53
  • 1
    @AsheeshR And I'm saying that you're wrong that "badge like systems" were around "before gamification". They ARE gamificaiton. They're the original gamificaiton. You're correct that it it inherits from game design, but that doesn't mean that achievements in a game-context are necessarily part of the game design. They are, in most cases, after-thoughts (and a natural byproduct of good auditing practices).
    – corsiKa
    Oct 11, 2013 at 17:33
  • 1
    @corsiKa: Yes, I am referring to the fact that badges are not new to games. There were badges long before computer games developed. There were games before "gamification-as-a-term" arose. It's all intertwined, and I don't want to nitpick.
    – kumarharsh
    Oct 11, 2013 at 18:00

To answer your direct question:

Tracking the # of Goblins killed is one mechanic (element) of Gamification: Observable Progress [toward a goal]. (per my answer in the Gamification Meta.

It is, IMHO, the most useful and misapplied element of Gamification. People think Gamification is PBL's (Points, Badges and Leader Boards). Those are the tools of Observable Progress but y*ou have to peg them to a desirable goal*. I.e., it's not just observable progress, but progress toward something the user already cares about.

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