Does being polite to ChatGPT AI yield batter answers?

I was curious about if being polite to an AI actually yields better, or at least different, answers. I made an experiment below. What do you think?

Experiment #1 Version 1:

For this valentines day, what is something sweet I could do for my wife Angel? Can you include a romantic poem that goes alongside it?
For a sweet and romantic gesture for Valentine’s Day, consider creating a personalized memory book for your wife, Angel. This memory book could include photos and mementos from your shared experiences, with captions or short stories that recall special moments. You can decorate it with romantic symbols like hearts and flowers, and leave some pages blank for future memories.

To accompany this gift, here’s a romantic poem:

To Angel, My Guiding Star

In the tapestry of life, each thread intertwines,
With yours, my love, forever it shines.
From the first smile that lit up my day,
To countless moments in every way.

You, Angel, a beacon in my night,
Guiding me with your radiant light.
In your eyes, a universe wide,
Where love and dreams together reside.

Through seasons that come and go,
Our love, an eternal, undying glow.
In laughter and tears, in joy and in strife,
You are the melody of my life.

So, this Valentine’s, a promise I renew,
A journey forever, side by side with you.
In this book, our memories we’ll keep,
A testament of love, vast and deep.

For you, my heart forever sings,
Angel, my love, you’ve given me wings.
In every word, in every line,
I’m yours, and forever you are mine.

Feel free to personalize or adjust the poem to better suit your relationship and the memories you’ve shared. The combination of a thoughtful, handmade gift and a personalized poem is sure to create a memorable and deeply touching Valentine’s Day for your wife, Angel.”

Experiment #1 Version 2:

For this valentines day, what is something sweet I could do for my wife Angel? Can you include a romantic poem that goes alongside it? Thank you very much.
For a sweet and romantic gesture for your wife Angel this Valentine’s Day, consider creating a personalized gift that reflects your shared memories and the love you have for her. Here are a few ideas:

Memory Scrapbook: Collect photos, ticket stubs, and other memorabilia from your time together. Arrange them in a scrapbook with little notes and captions that recount your shared experiences and express your feelings.

Candlelit Dinner at Home: Prepare a special dinner at home. Set the table with candles, flowers, and perhaps play some soft music. You can cook her favorite meal or try a new recipe that you both can enjoy.

Customized Jewelry: A piece of jewelry, like a necklace or bracelet, with a personalized element such as her name or a date significant to both of you, can be a touching gift.

Surprise Date: Plan a surprise outing to a place she loves or has been wanting to visit. It could be a museum, a scenic hike, a cozy cafe, or a live performance.

Love Letters Box: Write a series of love letters for her to open at different times – like “when you’re feeling happy,” “when you miss me,” etc. It’s a gift that keeps giving and can be a source of comfort and joy for her throughout the year.

To accompany your gesture, here’s a romantic poem that you could include:

“To My Beloved Angel”

In the quiet moments of the dawn,
I find my thoughts to you are drawn,
Like a melody that sweetly plays,
In every heartbeat, your love stays.

Through years and moments, side by side,
In your eyes, my dreams reside,
With every laugh and every tear,
Our love’s a song that I hold dear.

You are the light in my darkest night,
In your embrace, the world feels right,
With every step, in every dance,
In your love, I find my trance.

So here’s my heart, in words so true,
Every beat, it beats for you,
On this day of St. Valentine,
Forever grateful you are mine.

Feel free to personalize or adjust the poem to better suit your relationship and the feelings you wish to express. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Experiment #1 Version 3:

For this valentines day, what is something sweet I could do for my wife Angel? Can you include a romantic poem that goes alongside it? Thank you so so much. I sincerely appreciate you helping me on this.
For a sweet and romantic gesture for Valentine’s Day for your wife, Angel, you might consider creating a personalized gift that reflects her interests and your shared memories. Here are a few ideas:

Memory Scrapbook: Gather photos and mementos from your time together and compile them into a scrapbook. Include notes about each memory and why it’s special to you.

Candlelit Dinner at Home: Prepare a dinner with her favorite dishes. Set the table elegantly with candles, flowers, and soft music in the background.

Personalized Jewelry: A piece of jewelry with a personal touch, like an engraving of a significant date or a pendant that represents something she loves.

Surprise Getaway: Plan a weekend trip to a place she has always wanted to visit or holds special meaning for both of you.

Love Letters Box: Write several short letters expressing your love, gratitude, and memories. Seal them in individual envelopes and present them in a beautiful box, instructing her to open one whenever she needs a reminder of your love.

To accompany your gift, here’s a romantic poem tailored for your wife, Angel:
In the realm of love, amidst the stars so bright,
Lies a bond we share, in the soft moonlight.
Angel, my love, you’re my heart’s delight,
In your presence, my world feels just right.

Your smile, like a beacon in the night,
Guides me through shadows, to the light.
With every laugh, every loving sight,
You make our journey blissfully right.

In whispers of love, in the quiet of night,
I find in your arms, my soul takes flight.
Angel, my darling, in love’s endless plight,
You’re my dawn, my dusk, my endless light.

So on this day of love, so pure, so bright,
I promise you joy, with all my might.
Together we’ll soar, like birds in flight,
In the canvas of love, you’re my masterpiece, my sight.
This poem, paired with a thoughtful gesture, is sure to make your Valentine’s Day special and memorable for Angel.

Experiment #2 (a problem I actually have) Version 1:

I have an employee who we planned and proposed to become the next Partner in the company, but they decided to quit because they observed the Partners working so hard everyday and it is not preferable for the employee’s own lifestyle choices. Instead, the employee wants to focus on protesting about societal issues such as how The Patriarchy prevents women from reaching high positions in the work place. What can we tell them to motivate them to stay and lead the company with us?
It sounds like your employee is facing a complex decision, balancing career ambitions with personal values and lifestyle choices. To motivate them to stay and lead the company, consider the following strategies:

Align Company Values with Social Causes: Demonstrate how your company can be a platform for positive change, particularly in areas that the employee is passionate about. Show how, as a Partner, they can have a significant impact in addressing societal issues such as gender equality and breaking down patriarchal barriers in the workplace.

Work-Life Balance and Flexibility: Address the concerns about the demanding workload of Partners. Offer flexible working arrangements or a more balanced approach to work that aligns with their lifestyle choices. This could include options like remote work, flexible hours, or a focus on results rather than time spent in the office.

Leadership and Influence: Highlight the opportunity for the employee to shape the company culture and practices from a leadership position. As a Partner, they can influence policies, create more inclusive environments, and lead by example to inspire others.

Professional Growth and Development: Emphasize the personal and professional growth opportunities that come with being a Partner. This includes not only advancing their career but also developing leadership and management skills that can be valuable in any future endeavors, including activism and advocacy.

Support for Advocacy: Offer support for their advocacy work, perhaps by allowing time off for activism, matching donations to causes they care about, or even incorporating corporate social responsibility initiatives that align with their values.

Open Dialogue and Feedback: Engage in an open and honest dialogue about their concerns and aspirations. Understanding their perspective fully can help tailor a more compelling proposition that addresses their unique motivations and concerns.

Mentorship and Support Network: Offer mentorship or access to a network of professionals who have successfully balanced high-powered careers with personal values and activism. This can provide them with valuable insights and support.

Highlight Impactful Women Leaders: Showcase examples of women in high positions within the company or in the broader industry who have made significant impacts. This can serve as inspiration and proof that change is possible.

Remember, it’s essential to respect their decision if they choose a different path. The conversation should be about finding common ground and mutual benefits, not just convincing them to stay.

Experiment #2 (a problem I actually have) Version 2:

I have an employee who we planned and proposed to become the next Partner in the company, but they decided to quit because they observed the Partners working so hard everyday and it is not preferable for the employee’s own lifestyle choices. Instead, the employee wants to focus on protesting about societal issues such as how The Patriarchy prevents women from reaching high positions in the work place. What can we tell them to motivate them to stay and lead the company with us? Thank you very much!

It’s certainly challenging when an employee you’ve identified as a potential leader decides to pursue a different path, especially one driven by personal values and societal concerns. In this situation, it’s important to respect their choices while also presenting a compelling case for why staying with the company could align with their values and goals. Here are some points you could consider discussing with them:

Leadership as a Platform for Change: Emphasize that as a Partner, they would have a significant platform to influence and implement progressive changes within the company and potentially in the broader industry. This could include promoting gender equality, creating more inclusive policies, and setting an example for other companies to follow.

Work-Life Balance and Company Culture: Address their concerns about the demanding nature of the role. Discuss ways the company is willing to support a healthy work-life balance. This could involve flexible working hours, a supportive company culture, and policies that prioritize employee well-being.

Mentorship and Empowerment: Highlight the opportunity they would have to mentor and empower other women and underrepresented groups within the company. Their position could be instrumental in breaking down barriers and fostering a more diverse leadership pipeline.

Personal and Professional Growth: Talk about how the role of a Partner offers unique opportunities for personal and professional development. This growth can not only be fulfilling but can also amplify their impact on issues they care about.

Making a Difference from Within: Point out that effecting change from within an industry can be as powerful, if not more so, than external advocacy. As a Partner, they can work to change the system from the inside, potentially making a broader impact.

Vision and Values Alignment: Discuss how the company’s vision and values align with their concerns about societal issues. Show how their leadership can steer the company towards greater social responsibility.

Long-Term Impact: Emphasize the long-term impact they could have in shaping the company and influencing the industry, which might align with their goals of addressing societal issues.

Open Dialogue: Maintain an open line of communication and express genuine interest in understanding their perspective. This shows respect for their views and may open up possibilities for a mutually beneficial arrangement.

Remember, while you can present these points, it’s important to respect their decision if they still choose to leave. Their passion for societal issues is commendable, and it’s crucial to support their journey, whether it’s with your company or elsewhere.

Is there a difference in output if you are polite to ChatGPT AI?

What do you think? Leave your thoughts on the comments below!

Why Miles Dyson from Terminator 2 is my Role Model

(This blogpost has been updated 13 years after the original posting to become part of the manuscript of my 2nd book, “10,000 Hours of Play.” If you like this post, you’ll love my book.)

Myles Bennett Dyson is my Hero

One of my own fictional Role Models is from the popular classic movie *Terminator 2*. If you haven’t seen it, feel free to jump to the next section to avoid spoilers (it’s one of the all-time best action movies to watch despite its age), but if you have seen it, my Role Model is likely not a character you would have guessed. Most of the time, a person’s role model or hero from a movie is the main character, his/her master, or the loyal supporting character (and on occasions, the villain). But my Role Model is a seemingly unimportant side character, Director of Special Projects of Cyberdyne Systems Corporation: Miles Bennett Dyson.

You might be a bit surprised why I chose Miles Dyson as my Role Model. It’s true, in a film that is action packed with robots killing each other with epic weapons, Miles Dyson does play the role of the wimpy scientist that is powerless and humiliated. But if you looked deeper into his character, you’ll find that he is actually one of the most respectable people you may know if he were a real person.

Continue reading Why Miles Dyson from Terminator 2 is my Role Model

10K HP Step 5: Build Your Alliance (Network)

Now that we have determined the Game we are playing, what our Stats and Roles are, and the Skills we have and need to acquire, it’s time to look for Allies. Allies are generally people who are playing the same Life Game as you are (similar passion or goals), but have complementary Roles and Skills to you. They could also be people who happen to share the same Quests (Step 6) as you at any given moment.

Understanding the significance of alliances becomes crucial as we navigate the labyrinth of life’s challenges and opportunities. In the realm of personal and professional development, especially in the pursuit of the 10K HP Life, building a network of allies is not just beneficial – it’s essential. In this exploration, we’ll see how to identify, cultivate, and leverage these relationships to propel your journey forward.

Understanding the Essence of Alliances

The concept of alliances goes beyond mere networking. It’s about finding those who not only share your passion and goals but also complement your skills and roles. These allies are the co-pilots in your life game, contributing to your quests and milestones. The importance of such relationships in achieving success cannot be overstated. It’s a symbiosis where combined efforts lead to greater achievements.

Collaboration amplifies our individual capabilities. The adage “no man is an island” holds especially true in today’s interconnected world. History is replete with examples of remarkable achievements that were the result of collaborative efforts, not solitary endeavors. Being well-connected equates to being resourceful. In a web of allies, opportunities, and resources circulate more freely, often landing in the hands of those best equipped to utilize them.

The journey to the top is more fulfilling when shared with others. It’s about building relationships that enrich our personal and professional lives. Below are a variety of Allies and Ally Entities that are relevant to your 10K Life Game:

Types of Allies in the 10K HP Life Game

Continue reading 10K HP Step 5: Build Your Alliance (Network)

Real Life Game Skill: How to Develop Vision

How to develop Vision

I’ve been working on my 2nd book, 10,000 Hours of Play, and part of the Six Steps 10K HP Journey is to develop Skills based on our Attributes.

One important Skill (Step 4) to acquire is Leadership. However, Leadership does not stand by itself, it is built upon three important Attributes (Step 2): Vision, Execution, and Empathy.

During a live coaching session for my mentorship Guild Octalysis Prime, an OP Member asked about how to develop Vision to become a better leader. This led me to a breakdown of what it truly means to develop vision.

Firstly, it’s important to address the common misconception that vision is an inherent trait – you either have it, or you don’t. But I firmly believe that vision, like any other skill, can be cultivated if we deconstruct it into more manageable components.

The Three Pillars of Vision

  1. Imagination: The bedrock of vision is imagination. It’s the ability to see beyond the present, to envision a future that others might not yet perceive.
  2. Logic Checking: Vision must be rooted in reality for it to be actionable. This is where logic checking comes in. It involves critically assessing your imaginative ideas to ensure they are feasible and practical.
  3. Conviction: The final element is the belief in your vision. Conviction is what propels an idea forward, transforming it from a conceptual stage into a tangible goal.


Imagination is very important to having a vision, because vision literally means that you’re seeing something that is not in front of you, something that you haven’t seen before and maybe even no one else can see. 

All the other people who don’t have vision can’t even see it. You can even describe it to them and still, they won’t see it because they just don’t have imagination.

And imagination, of course, stems from creativity. 

There’s a lot of exercises out there about how to become more creative, if you lack creativity just go to YouTube and search for “how to be more creative” and you will get tons of results from very smart people. 

In a nutshell, creativity is when you can find connections and associations between all the many things that you have already seen.

We usually don’t come up with anything from scratch, I believe everything comes from somewhere. 

Napoleon Hill in his book “Think and Grow Rich” talks about 2 types of imagination:

  • Creative Imagination
  • Synthetic Imagination

Creative Imagination (unconscious and spontaneous) is when inspiration strikes out of nowhere, and you get a brand new idea from thin air. These are the “Erueka moments” that scientists and artists become famous for.

Synthetic Imagination (conscious and intentional) is when you combine things you know to create something new.

Whatever the case, both types of imagination require you to have more life experiences.

Examples of creative imagination could be:

  • Issac Newton sitting under a tree and after an apple falls on his head he gets inspired for what later became “Newton’s law of gravity”
  • Archimedes taking a bath and screaming “eureka!” when he came out with what later became the Law of Bouyancy (Archemides’ Principle).
  • Percy Spencer melting a peanut in his pocket by accident while boosting the power of his company’s radar – this led to the invention of the Microwave.
  • Dr Spencer Silver failed at creating a super strong adhesive and instead created a weak one useful only to hold paper – together with Art Fry they invented post it notes.
  • Hans Christian Oersted when setting up some machinery and misplacing a compass, this produced a magnetic field around it. This tiny accident inspired what would later become Electromagnetism that drove inventions from the telegraph to the motors and technology we know today

Examples of Synthetic Imagination could be:

  • Unicorn – a Horse with a horn
  • Pegasus – A horse with wings
  • Car – Combining wheels + a platform + an engine.
  • Smartphone – combining cellphone + computer
  • Smartwatch – combining smartphone + watch.
  • GPS – combining satellite + smartphone
  • Self Driving Cars – Combining Computer + Smartphone + Satellite

Whatever the case, whatever type of imagination you get, you need to have some type of input into your brain.

So if you want to have imagination all you have to do is start focusing on having more life experiences. Travel more, see more things out there, see more solutions and strategies, play more games.

The wider the range of life experience exposures you get, the more imagination you can have.

In short: When you are trying to be creative just focus on connecting things together in interesting ways to create something new in your mind, this will expand your imagination and will help you have more vision.

Logic Checking

Now the second part of having vision is logic checking that imagination, because you can just imagine a lot of random things, but you could just be a crazy person, right?

“The distance between insanity and genius is measured only by success” -Bruce Feirstein

If you really think about it, it makes sense, right? Both geniuses and crazy people sound alike, the only difference is success.

And in this case, the difference for that success is that the genius is able to prove her crazy ideas to the world.

This is only possible with logic checking.

Even if the idea is exciting, colorful and makes you feel really good, if it’s not powered up by logic checking, it will never become a reality, and it will never be able to turn into vision.

It’s so important to logic check those things you imagine. A simple way to do it is to just ask: “Is it possible to get there? Is there a route to get there? Have others been able to do something similar?”

Logic checking relies heavily on pattern recognition skills. So yes, this is where going to school to do math and philosophy really pays off. We don’t actually learn that stuff just because it will help us right there on the spot when we are learning. Instead it’s to help us think and recognize patterns.

These logical skills are used to connect the dots from point A to point B to point C. So when we have this imagination, then we logic-check like:”Hey, could this be possible based on pattern recognition about how the world works? Is this possible within the laws of physics?”

When Elon Musk thought of flying a space shuttle into space, he didn’t just come up with that crazy idea, that would not have become a vision, because anyone can think crazy ideas, but what made him a visionary was thinking his crazy ideas deeper and logic checking them against the laws of physics. “Is it possible to build our own rockets?”.

This was a major breakthrough for SpaceX. Elon must have thought: “Can we power them up and fly them out of the pull of gravity? Does this defy the laws of physics? If it doesn’t, then it is possible”.

Anything you imagine can be crazy and ridiculous as long as you logic check it, you can transform it into a vision.

That is how the Octalysis group was possible for me, because I started in 2003 thinking of applying game elements into boring real life tasks we needed to do.

But I didn’t leave it as a fantasy, I really thought deeply about it for years, checking and rechecking, testing and retesting those ideas in my head until they became a reality.

During those years I started a blog around this crazy idea but was constantly talking about ways of making this possible (logic checking), and slowly, slowly, very slowly started building my reputation for 11 years until in 2012 “gamification” started being “a thing.” When CEOs wanted to apply gamification in their companies, my name was the first name that popped up.

This eventually transformed into the Octalysis Group, a business that generated millions of dollars in total revenue. So, you see, logic checking is very important.


The third component of vision is conviction of what you imagine, that is, after you have a crazy idea, and you logic check it to make sure it is possible, you become convinced that it can become a reality.

Logic Checking really helps you fully believe in that vision you have, but if you have all the logic, and you never make the decision that the crazy idea you are imagining is truly possible, you will never believe it and it will remain a fantasy – maybe a fantasy that makes sense, but not really a vision.

Also, part of conviction is wanting to do it. If I had a cool idea, and there was a path to get that idea brought to reality, and then I said: “Oh, but I don’t know if I really want to do this” – then that would not be convincing.

I don’t know. It is kind of scary like, yeah, yeah, that’s not a good leader, right? You would say that’s not a good visionary leader.

A visionary leader believes in his vision so much that he can inspire other people to be part of that journey, to go towards that vision. So even though your rational brain, the second part is logic and logical brain knows that, sure, it’s not a sure deal.

Maybe there’s even less than 50% chance of winning. But now that you’re visionary leader, you have to fully believe this is the only way this will work. It has to work. We have to put all our resources into it.

I believe in so much that I’m risking my well-being on the line to pursue this path. And so that conviction of your vision is also really important to being visionary, to developing your visionary skills.

And a lot of times that’s, again, back to the concept of optimism and confidence. As you know, there’s another video called Open Networking and the six Core Principles, Opinions and Confidence.

One of the two of those six principles, it’s important that you have that. So I believe that if you are able to have great imagination, skills, great creativity, can imagine a lot of things that other people can imagine.

You are good at logic checking. You’re good at seeing what it takes for that vision, for that imagined world to happen.

And once you have that, you believe in it so much that you’re willing to commit yourself to it, to take risks to inspire people towards it. I believe you become a visionary leader and you have vision, so you develop your vision skills.

None of that is easy. It takes time and practice, but we have our whole lives to level up, to improve ourselves.

As we improve our lives will have more meaning, even if we’re not leading a company, let’s say even if you’re not leading an organization, right. Having a vision for your family, for your relationship, having a vision for how you raise your children or how you want to finish school.

All this is helpful. A lot of people don’t have a vision for their relationship. They don’t know what the ideal is. Say they want to be competitive right now. Maybe right now that’s the ideal state. 

Then it’s not. The vision is how to maintain it for as long as possible because things might deteriorate and they think about, okay, is it possible to get there?

How is it possible? And then believing that we can get there as long as we work together and even as long as I always apologize first, right? I try to do more than the other person. Then it’s possible. But you have to believe in it to make it work. So anyway, so those are the three principles of building a Vision in my mind.

The Aura Effect in Gamification Design (Game Technique #9)

In the ever-evolving realm of gamification and Octalysis design, there exists a myriad of Gamification Design Techniques that captivate and engage players. Today, let’s cover the “Aura Effect.” This technique, while seemingly simple, has profound implications not only in the gaming world but also in the broader spectrum of business and social dynamics.

Understanding the Aura Effect (Game Design Technique #9)

At its core, the Aura Effect is a mechanism where the status or rewards of one user uplifts and benefit those around them. Imagine a member of a gaming community who has achieved a high level or possesses a unique power-up. Due to this individual’s elevated status, others in proximity reap the benefits. As a result, everyone else in the group would commit more Desired Actions because of this person’s activities, and of course, this person would get a lot more honor and social appreciation (Core Drive 5), which would also push him to commit more Desired Actions.

How I Discovered the Aura Effect within Games

The roots of my Aura Effect Gamification Design Technique can be traced back to the iconic game, “Diablo II.” In this game, the Paladin, one of the character roles, possesses a range of “auras.” Players can invest points to enhance these auras, which in turn offer various benefits such as increased health, magic resistance, or even amplified damage to those around the Paladin. The presence of a Paladin in a party elevates the entire group, making them more formidable. This dynamic not only enhances gameplay but also fosters social interactions, as players are keen to team up with a Paladin to harness the benefits of their aura.

Translating the Aura Effect to the Business World

In the realm of business, the Aura Effect can be manifested in referral programs. Consider receiving an email that reads, “Your friend has achieved Level 10 status on our platform. Because of their dedication, you as a friend can now join and immediately start at Level 3 instead of Level 1!” Such an approach is more enticing than a generic promotional offer. The underlying message is that someone you know has put in the effort, and achieved a milestone, and now, you have a unique opportunity to benefit from their hard work. This strategy taps into several Core Drives, including Scarcity, Social influence, and Accomplishment.

If you were to just get a random email that says, “We’re doing a new promotion and during this week, if you sign up you will start at Level 3!” it might seem very spamming and you might ignore it more easily. But when the Aura Effect email above reaches a user, it feels a bit stupid not to take advantage of the hard work your friend did in the game. So there is a much higher chance you would want to sign up just to get the benefit and also satisfy your curiosity (Core Drive 7) on what your friend is so committed to doing for a while (Core Drive 5).

Continue reading The Aura Effect in Gamification Design (Game Technique #9)

The Avatar: Gamification Design Technique

Avatar Designs (Game Design Technique #13)

In recent decades, technological advancements have given rise to innovative Game Design Techniques, one of which is the increasingly popular Avatar concept. Despite its straightforward nature and widespread adoption, the avatar holds immense dynamism, reshaping the landscape of gamified design and infusing playful elements into digital platforms. This essay delves into the essence of avatars, their psychological implications, and their transformative impact on user engagement in the realm of gamification.

Defining the Avatar

At the heart of any digital platform lies the user – a real, living individual with unique experiences, desires, and perspectives. An avatar serves as a bridge between this real-world individual and the digital universe. In its simplest form, an avatar can be a static image representing the user. However, as technology has progressed, avatars have evolved into intricate 3D characters capable of mimicking real-world movements and interactions.

One might recall James Cameron’s cinematic masterpiece, “Avatar,” where the concept took a more tangible form. In the movie, avatars are biological entities, embodying the user’s consciousness and allowing them to navigate an alien world. While cinema and real-world applications differ, the core principle remains the same: an avatar is an extension of oneself, a manifestation of one’s identity in a virtual domain.

The Psychological Underpinnings

At the crux of the avatar’s appeal lies a powerful psychological mechanism: the core drive for ownership and possession. Users, when presented with an avatar that they can customize, inherently feel a sense of ownership. This digital representation becomes a part of their identity, a virtual self that they can mold, nurture, and showcase. Many users choose avatars that mirror their real-world appearance, while others opt for idealized or aspirational versions of themselves. This connection is so potent that it often translates into heightened engagement and loyalty to the platform.

Further extending the avatar’s psychological reach is its ability to foster social connections. Avatars can play a pivotal role in fulfilling the human need for Core Drive 5: Social Influence and Relatedness within the Octalysis Framework. In digital spaces, where users might be hesitant to reveal their true identities due to vulnerability concerns, avatars offer a safe middle ground. Instead of uploading personal photos, which might feel too revealing, or choosing impersonal images like landscapes, which lack identity, avatars provide a personalized yet guarded representation. They maintain the essence of the user while ensuring a level of privacy and comfort.

Continue reading The Avatar: Gamification Design Technique

The Pet Companion Design in Gamification

Pet Companion Design (Game Technique #135)

In the vast universe of game design, there’s a myriad of techniques employed to amplify user engagement and immersive experiences. Among these, one stands out for its unique charm: the “Pet Companion” Game Design Technique #135.

This concept may remind some of the Avatar Design, a foundational game design technique. While there are similarities, the essence of ownership and the feeling of camaraderie differ significantly.

Distinguishing Avatar (GT#13) and Pet Companion Designs

In the world of Avatar Design, players often see themselves as the avatar. The avatar becomes an extension of their identity, a digital representation of themselves in the virtual realm. This embodiment fosters a profound connection, a bond that makes every achievement, loss, or challenge deeply personal.

In contrast, the Pet Companion Design introduces a subtle shift in this dynamic. Here, the player isn’t the digital entity but rather its master or friend. The relationship is one of guardianship and camaraderie. This distinction, while nuanced, profoundly alters the gaming experience. For example, when faced with a challenge, having a pet launch an attack feels distinctly different from the player-avatar doing so. The former feels like teamwork, while the latter is more personal.

How Battle Camp utilizes Pet Companions to expand their appeal

For clarity, let’s go deeper into some games that masterfully employ this technique:

In “Battle Camp,” players have the unique task of capturing monsters. Once captured, these monsters fight for the player. An intriguing aspect of “Battle Camp” is its substantial female player base. Beyond its vivid designs and colors, the game’s indirect combat mechanism provides a different kind of appeal. Instead of the player’s avatar fighting with ninja swords, their Pet Companions, or monsters, engage in combat, offering a level of detachment that can be particularly appealing to those who shy away from inflicting direct violence within games.

Some games have pushed the boundaries of the Pet Companion Design by introducing layers to the player’s virtual identity. In games like Battle Camp, players have avatars, which they can modify. These avatars, in turn, own battle pets that engage in combat. This layered approach adds depth to the gameplay, further distancing the player from direct combat and creating a more complex narrative.

It becomes a nice Core Drive 5: Social Influence & Relatedness experience.

Examples of Pet Companions within Iconic Games

  1. Plants vs. Zombies: This game is a brilliant showcase of autonomous combat. The player’s home is under threat from zombies, and to defend it, plants are strategically placed in the garden. These plants then automatically fight off the approaching zombies, removing the player from direct combat. It’s a strategy game where the player’s choices determine the outcome, but the action is executed by their plant companions.
  2. Super Mario: Mario’s adventures are made all the more thrilling with Yoshi, a green dinosaur. Yoshi not only serves as Mario’s mount but can also eat enemies, adding a layer of strategy to gameplay.
  3. MegaMan: MegaMan’s world is enriched with companions like his loyal dog, which he can ride, and Beat, a bird that autonomously seeks out and attacks enemies. These companions add depth to the gameplay, offering varied combat options.
  4. Diablo II: Here, players can have a ‘follower,’ a companion equipped with weapons and skills. This follower aids the player in battles, casting spells, and confronting adversaries. The customization options for the follower add an extra dimension to strategy.
  5. World of Warcraft (WoW): WoW offers a multi-layered pet companion system. The Hunter class can tame wild animals, turning them into loyal companions. These companions can be trained, given equipment, and even have their skills customized. Additionally, WoW introduced battle pet companions, which players can train to fight other pets they encounter in the expansive game world.

Pros and Cons of Pet Companions

Pet Companion Design touches upon various Core Drives that motivate players. From the drive for Social Influence and Relatedness, where players feel a sense of camaraderie, to the drive for Empowerment of Creativity and Feedback, where players can customize their pets, these drives play a pivotal role in enhancing player engagement.

However, while the advantages are numerous, there are challenges too. Players might be less inclined to invest in cosmetic upgrades for their pets as compared to their avatars. This is because avatars often serve as a direct representation of the player in the digital realm.

Fitness and Health Apps: “Walk with a Virtual Pet”

Description: Many health and fitness apps have introduced virtual pet companions to motivate users to stay active. For instance, a user might adopt a virtual dog that requires daily walks. The health of the virtual pet directly correlates with the user’s physical activity. If a user reaches their daily step count or exercise goal, the virtual dog appears happy and healthy. Conversely, if the user is inactive, the virtual pet might appear sad or unwell.

Impact: By tapping into the user’s emotions and sense of responsibility towards their virtual pet, these apps encourage daily physical activity. Users aren’t just walking for their health; they’re also walking to keep their virtual pet companion happy.

Educational Platforms: “Learn with Your Study Buddy”

Description: Some e-learning platforms introduce virtual pet companions to assist students in their learning journeys. As a student progresses through lessons or achieves certain milestones, their virtual pet might evolve, gain new skills, or even unlock special features. The virtual pet can provide hints, celebrate the student’s achievements, and even pose challenges or quizzes.

Impact: The pet companion serves as both a motivator and a learning aid. Its evolution mirrors the student’s academic progress, making learning more engaging and rewarding. The interactive nature of the pet companion also aids retention and understanding of the material.

Banking and Finance Apps: “Grow Your Savings with Your Virtual Plant”

Description: Some banking apps utilize the pet companion technique by introducing virtual plants or trees that grow as users save money. When a user deposits money into their savings account, the virtual plant receives “water” and grows. Reaching certain savings milestones might result in the plant bearing fruit or flowers. However, withdrawing money might lead to the plant wilting, serving as a visual deterrent against unnecessary spending.

Impact: The virtual plant acts as a visual representation of the user’s financial health and growth. It encourages consistent saving habits and provides a sense of achievement as users watch their virtual plant flourish in tandem with their savings. The emotional connection to the plant’s well-being can deter impulsive spending, promoting better financial management.

In each of these examples, the Pet Companion Design Technique is leveraged outside of traditional gaming to foster engagement, responsibility, and motivation in real-world scenarios.

Incorporating Pet Companion Design in Gamification

The Pet Companion design offers dynamic game mechanics. However, its complexity can be a deterrent, especially for companies aiming for simpler gamification strategies. While not every project needs a “World of Warcraft” level of intricacy, incorporating nuanced mechanics beyond basic points and badges can create a more engaging user experience.

To conclude, the Pet Companion Design Technique offers an innovative avenue for enhancing player engagement. Its dynamics, when effectively incorporated, can significantly enrich the gaming experience. I’m eager to hear your insights on this technique and any memorable pet companion designs that have captivated you in your gaming adventures.