Understanding Gamification - How To Influence People’s Actions And Emotions?

Shipra Manchanda
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How cool would it be, to be able to convince a community of people to ‘play,’ which would in turn help to achieve a real change?

Yeah I know, it sounds ‘too-cool-to-be true,’ right?

Earlier in the Gamification series, we discussed the concept of ‘gamification’ and the mechanics behind it, while also checking out some Indian examples. Let’s check out some working examples of digital gamification which have served to motivate people to take positive actions in the real world!

The Concept Behind A cure for a disease! Well, let’s get people GAMING! fold it logo

fold it

How it Works Well, this might sound dubious, but the team behind FOLD.IT has brought hundreds of thousands of people together, to work on improving the lives of millions of AIDS patients in a not-so-boring fashion. Since it is essentially an online Video Puzzle, all one has to do is use his skills to figure out patterns for the proteins! A series of ‘hit and trial’ actions eventually result in the completely formed protein model that fit the criteria. Looking beyond, you will understand that FOLD.IT is ideally a social platform, allowing people to work and play together to figure out solutions. And the best part is, all these solutions are nothing but various structures of an AIDS related protein needed for medical research! Learning If packaged well, serious stuff can be gamified and made fun too. When it gets boring, get more people together!


The Concept Behind What if we get people racing each other to be on the ‘honor list’? How it Works Crowdrise is an e-commerce charitable organization, but unlike your typical fundraising website, Crowdrise makes the fundraisers race against each other for the spot of the “Top Fundraiser”. Well, the interesting thing about them is, Crowdrise gives back to the fundraisers! The fundraisers can redeem their points against several interesting rewards. Learning


Basic gamification features (leaderboard, badges and points) mean a lot when there is a race!


The Concept Behind Can people be inspired to do ‘green deeds’ and not find it boring? How it Works? RecycleBank lets people accumulate “points” for doing environment friendly deeds, like walking to work instead of driving! The participants can redeem such accumulated points to buy stuff like clothes, accessories, music DVDs or even a restaurant deal! The portal also organizes quizzes and contests to give you an opportunity to earn more points.

Recycle bank


The Concept Behind: If life is said to be a game, can it still be fun when you're sick? How it Works The inventor of this game, Jane McGonigal, went through quite lot of pain and depression when she was suffering from a traumatic brain injury. Instead of wallowing in it, she thought, “What if I can help fellow people in a cheerful way?” Voila, SuperBetter was born! The game is a superhero-themed multiplayer game, where YOU get to be the HERO bent on accomplishing several emotional, social, mental, and physical tasks. This can be a task as simple and ordinary as ordering a cake for a friend’s birthday (social) to serious tasks like meditation (mental).


Gaming elements like quests/challenges/power-ups are employed along with eye catching graphics which makes the site pleasing! Learning Gamification doesn't just stop at the physical; it manipulates the emotional aspects of life as well. So what we learn from this is, be it a digital product or an online marketing effort, well designed gamification mechanics with clear-cut goals can effectively impact the social behavior and the perceptions of people with respect to the context under consideration. Similarly, Live 58 did something really awesome so as to make us (the common people) understand how people who are living in extreme poverty survive on a meagre $1.25 a day. How it works One is given to play a character of ‘DIVYA PATEL,’ a 26 year old woman. She has to make the most difficult choices of life whilst living in an urban slum (or a rural area) keeping in mind the health and required amount of money for her family.

divya patel

Throughout the game the player is given two choices, Divya has to choose the best one keeping in mind her four children. The game (life) throws choices like the doctor’s fees for her son’s health or money for his education .

Vaccinate Your Child

The game gets over when the player runs out of money. The player is then given an option to donate to Live 58 (a NGO helping in ending poverty) Learning One is exposed to the several tough decisions people living in abject poverty have to make every day. People are educated about the way the poor live and are inspired. I think Indian companies and brands should be taking up more such initiatives, wherein people are getting inspired every day virtually! We will learn more about gamification in the coming articles. For now, we bid you Adieu . This is a follow-up on our series on Understanding Gamification. You can click here to read part 1part 2 and part 3

NGO gamification AIDS Superbetter RecycleBank online Video Puzzle best sleep aids