Game is a Powerful Communication Media

People playing games typically for having fun anytime, anywhere. Playing Candy Crush in the subway or in the bus, playing Clash of Clans in the waiting room, or playing some Minion Rush before going to bed. But sometime you might feel guilty to spend those tremendous amount of time “only” for fun.

Don’t get me wrong, me myself is a huge fan of video games and also make my living by making games, so of course I’m not trying to say that playing games only for fun is a bad thing. We live to be happy, right? I just believe that this playing games activity can be more productive, because anyway we have other responsibility other than having fun. I also believe that we can play even more games, to actually get many things done and get benefits other than the fun we experienced. It’s of course without sacrificing the basic nature of game that is being fun. Why it is possible in the first place?

It is because game is naturally a powerful communication media.

Communication is the activity of exchanging information between two or more participants. Communication requires a sender, a message, a medium, and a recipient. A communication process is complete or can be said as an effective one when the recipient understands the sender’s message. Many things can be categorized as a communication: an advertising message in a billboard, a TV commercial, a training session, a discussion in a learning group, or simply a story-telling session. Generally game can be used as a communication media to improve the effectiveness of those communication. So as a sender, you can use game to deliver your messages to your target recipient. And as a recipient, people can productively understand your messages by playing the game. So why game is a powerful communication media?

Clash of Clans can definitely know whether the player have understood the concept of troops training, by waiting for player to actually train troops before continue playing.
Picture taken from here.

Game is a two-way-interaction media
In a game-based communication process, unlike other media where people only become the recipient which usually closely related to passively receiving the information, people are strictly demanded to actively involve in the process to make the process going in the first place. Here “active” is the keyword. Because game demands people’s active participation, this means it demands their concentration, and guess what, an effective communication definitely requires a recipient that concentrates on receiving the message.

The needs of having fun that makes BNI Flood Runner was a successful on-ground campaign for BNI.

Games are fun, and people love having fun
So this means people will tend to be more motivated going through the game-based communication process, compared to other conventional ones. And even though a motivated recipient is not a compulsory requirement, it’s definitely a great boost to the effectiveness of a communication. Also, people will be more likely to play games repeatedly, this makes they will be exposed by the message more frequently, and then will internalize the message deeper.

Hay Day. Picture taken from here.

Games give people freedom to process the message with their own pace
People have different speed on processing message. Some people with faster receiving process (than your sending process), will find the communication too slow, so it gets them bored. In the other hand, some people with slower one will find the communication too fast, and then chances are they will decide to not bother with it. This is facilitated by game using a mechanism called level design and balancing.
For example, in Hay Day, a popular farming game, when player start playing he just be given a set of soil he can use to grow crops, and he don’t have any chickens. Later on, when he reach certain level, he will be given some chickens as a level up reward. The purpose is to let the player get used to the core mechanism of the game first: getting money by selling resource they produced in the farm. Along the way, the player will explore more and more ways to produce various resource.

SimCity’s Plumbing System. Picture taken from here.

Games are interactive multimedia, that appeal Visual People, Auditory People, and Kinesthetic People at once
As you know, there are 3 types of people according to how they process information. Visual People are great at understanding things when they can actually see them, Auditory People can understand things if you let them listen to or about them, and Kinesthetic People will understand things if they can actually do that things themselves. Let’s say if you want to teach a group of people about customer service techniques. While you can show Visual People a demonstration video of a great customer service officer serving customers, have Auditory People listen to a tutorial audio book of a customer service scenario, and hold a role-play session for the Kinesthetic People; by having a game to teach about this, you can accommodate the needs of these 3 different types of people at once. This means games are also a more efficient communication media.
For this, simulation game is the perfect example, like in SimCity, people can learn about how to build plumbing system in a city by actually designing and building the plumbing system.

Games can let you know the effectivity of the communication process right away
Because in games you can expect to have a direct feedback from your recipient, you can know whether they understand the message you’re trying to deliver through the game right away. For example, in a popular time-management game, Diner Dash, you can only 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.

After I explain why game is a powerful communication media, let me clarify that not all things that is 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 can understand your message. And also, there are some circumstances that makes a game can be even more powerful, such as who are the recipients you’re targeting, what kind of message that you’re trying to deliver, etc. In the next posts, I’ll share many things about how it is to use game as a communication media. Do you think you have any other explanation why game is a powerful communication media? Please share below!

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