Storylines that work for business gamification

In gamification design, the narrative or storyline is often what makes a campaign or intervention stick together. Most great games, movies and books similarly have story arcs and plots that make them engaging. In my upcoming book ‘winning at the infinite game of learning gamification,’ I am dedicating a whole chapter to story arcs that work for learning. And as it is International Storytelling day today, here are 3 top storylines that I think can work in business gamification from marketing to learning etc.

1. The quest

A character goes in search of a person, a place or a thing and in their search they overcome obstacles in order to find what they are looking for. Each action taken has a cause and effect, in other words, a reason to exist. The decision points and their consequences are what makes the quest and interesting storyline for many business uses.

2. The adventure

An adventure plot is much more about exploring. Adventure stories take you into the world, an ever-expanding bigger, wider world with new and strange places, and strange events, things that you have never done before. The hero goes in search of fortune, it’s never found in their back garden. You, you have to travel in order to find it. And your hero should be motivated by someone or something to begin the adventure.

3. Rivalry

Who doesn’t like an interesting bit of competition or rivalry? In a rivalry plot, the source of your conflict should come as a result of an irresistible force meeting causing a struggle for power between a protagonist and antagonist. The two adversaries should be equally matched. Although their strength need not match exactly, they should have compensating strengths or powerful companions, which can balance out the fight.

General rules for picking storylines in gamification

Here are the questions I recommend asking before you start your story-driven design:

  • Does it suit my topic?
  • Will my target audience benefit from it? If so, how?
  • Is it on brand? is it portraying values we want to portray?
  • Will the story arch enhance the gamified experience?
  • What game type matches your storyline?

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