Have you ever been to Disneyland?
80,000 people attend Disneyland on an average day and with that many people it is still known as “The Happiest Place on Earth.”
No one fights or litters.
That is because we enter into this place, we enter into a “Magic Circle” of rules that they have established by Disney. Even though the lines are long, they have built-in points of interest to keep us occupied so that we don’t even realize we just spent an hour waiting for Star Tours.
But, after all the sugar is worn off, what they are really after is an emotion: “The Happy Family Memory.”
How does this relate to Game Design?
If we layer the model of Game Design I learned from my friend Margarita, we can break this down a little further into the following:
Disneyland wants you to have an outcome: “Happy Family Memory.”
They then ask, what emotions do we want to support this? Curiosity comes to mind and they put points of interest everywhere you look.
Aesthetics are our senses: see, hear, touch, smell.
Dynamics are verbs. For example, what is someone doing while they are sensing and feeling.
Lastly, what tool (mechanics) are needed to elicit the behavior. Mechanics are also rules. In the case of Facebook and other social media platforms, mechanics are in the form of a trading currency (likes, comments, retweets).
Are you looking at what you do in terms of a game?