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Ninja Gamification and Motivational Design

As the use of Gamification in many different domains becomes each day more common, a number of different people become involved in its practice and a diversity of new solutions are created each day. However, we can observe that there seem to be as many successful implementations of gamification as those that were not so fortunate. Certainly the experience of the designers plays an important role to the success of each implementation, but as important is how knowledgeable they are. It is not enough to only know about game mechanics, motivations, and rewards, as there are many other factors involved in any gamified experience.

In his new book Even Ninja Monkeys Like to Play: Gamification, Game Thinking and Motivational Design, gamification leader Andrzej Marczewski puts together the essential information that any gamification designer needs. The book is a well-balanced blend of scientific information that embodies the background knowledge of gamification and motivational design, and knowledge acquired from years of practical experience that is translated into useful tips for the reader.

Marczewski does a great job of presenting essential theoretical background in a simple and understandable way. Besides mechanics, motivations, and rewards, the book covers essential topics such as the theory behind games and play themselves, goals and feedback, the user journey, activity loops and flow, cheating, loyalty, and neurotransmitters. I would like to highlight the chapter on User Types, as Marczewski’s unique framework is a very useful tool for the design of effective gamified solutions that are more able to accomplish their desired goals and that take into consideration all types of users. Along all the book, and especially in the last few chapters, the author presents a few useful design tips that can help new professionals engage into their first steps of modelling gamified systems, and experienced professionals can also find useful resources to improve their abilities.

This fruitful combination of theory and practice makes this book be a very helpful resource for anyone who wants to learn more about gamification and motivational design, and become a better designer. After reading this book, surely any designer will be more able to understand the mechanisms behind gamified experiences and how to take advantage of them to improve their own designs.

The book is strongly based on the content of the Gamified UK blog. However, even for those who have already read about some of these topics on the blog, I would say that the book is still worthy. It presents all topics in a meaningful and clear way and leads the reader into gradually assimilating the concepts involved and the practical abilities that need to be developed.


Even Ninja Monkeys Like to Play: Gamification, Game Thinking & Motivational Design
Andrzej Marczewski
Gamified UK, 222 pp., October 2015.
Paperback: $15.40. Kindle: $7.69.






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