People play games typically for entertainment anytime, anywhere. You may find people playing Candy Crush in the subway or on the bus, Clash of Clans in the waiting room, or some Minion Rush before going to bed. Those might seem a bunch of short time in a sight. However if we pile it in total, there you have it, a tremendous amount of time in deciphering information. Therefore, games are naturally a powerful communication media. Then how does game can be utilized as a communication media in a way other media unable to do?
Game is an interactive media that appeals to all sensory at once
Generally, games can be utilized to improve the effectiveness of the communication process. Games have a unique nature unlike any other media that appear in the one-way flow where recipient passively decipher the information. As the sender, you can use games to deliver your messages to your target recipient while as the recipient, people can productively grasp your messages by playing the game. Here “active” is the keyword. Since game demands users’ active participation, this means it demands a full concentration, resulting in an effective communication which requires the recipients’ focus on receiving the message.
On the other hands, we do recognize that people are divided into certain categorization based on how they process the information: the visual, the auditory, and the kinesthetic. In a case study of customer service training, the conventional way will present the visual a demonstration video of an officer serving customers, have the auditory listen to a tutorial audiobook of a customer service scenario, and hold a role-play session for the kinesthetic. All of the categorization can be facilitated through games. As we know it, games are enhanced with attractive graphics and sound effect within, quests and tutorials to begin with, and an immersive role-playing. For this matter, simulation games are the perfect example. One of them is applied in game such as SimCity, where people can learn about how to build plumbing system in a city by virtually designing and building it. The use of games in this term proves it can improve the communication effectiveness reaching all sensory.
Immersive plumbing construction in the SimCity. Image via source
Games give people a freedom on processing with a direct result of the communication
Games have a peculiar mechanism in letting people continuously decipher information using level design and balancing. The level mechanism in which resulting to certain reward can be gained according to ones’ pace in playing the game. This pace depends on the speed of processing message which can also be different between each and every one.
The schemes are people with faster receiving process who likely to find the communication too slow will eventually get bored. On the other hand, people with the slower process to find the communication too fast, the chances are they will decide to just ignore it. Game accommodates this different need based on their own eager to get the reward and level up, giving them a subtle sense of attachment. In this case, we can take the example from Hay Day, a popular farming game. The game starts with a player provided only a set of soil to be used to grow crops. Later on, when the player reaches a certain level, some chickens will be given as a level up reward. The purpose is to let the player get used to the core mechanism of the game: getting money by selling resource they produced on the farm. Along the way, the player will explore more ways to produce various resources.
The level mechanism in Hay Day. Image via source
As the game mechanic is set to recognize the players’ achievement, you can expect to have a direct feedback from your recipient. You can find out whether the player understands the message you are trying to deliver—mostly in a form of quest—through the game right away. Let’s take the example from one of the popular time-management games, Diner Dash. The game only lets you finish some stages by doing chain reaction on the activities. This means people who haven’t understood about this chain reaction mechanics will not be able to proceed to the next stage. This mechanism allows you to track the message internalization and monitor if there is any occurring error based on the players’ tendency.
Games are fun, and people love having fun
We can’t debate that fun is the basic nature of games. Hence, people will tend to be more motivated going through the game-based communication process, compared to the conventional ones. Even though a motivated recipient is not a compulsory requirement, it is definitely a great boost to the effectiveness of a communication. Further added, this fun factor will attract people more likely to play games repeatedly in which will result in them to be exposed to the message more frequently.
BNI Experience Mini Games by Agate
Furthermore, there are some circumstances that make a game can be even more powerful. The information sender needs to first grasp the specified recipients you are targeting, the kind of message that you are trying to deliver, and so on that are in-lining with the game design. Nevertheless, not all things that are called as games will be definitely a powerful communication media. The key factor is, it has to be a well-designed and well-developed game, so that your target recipients can have fun while also recognizing your message.