Game as a Powerful Communication Media
People play games typically for entertainment 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. However, one thing about game that is sometimes missed by a lot of people that game is naturally a powerful communication media.
Generally, game can be used as a communication media to improve the effectiveness communication process. 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. Then how does a game work to be a powerful communication media?
Caption: Clash of Clans can definitely know whether the player has 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 closely related to passively receiving the information, people are strictly demanded to actively involved in the process of going in the first place. Here “active” is the keyword. Since game demands people’s active participation, this means it demands their concentration, resulting an effective communication which requires the recipients’ focus on receiving the message.
Caption: 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
The basic nature of game is fun. Hence, people will tend to be more motivated going through the game-based communication process, compared to other conventional ones. Even though a motivated recipient is not a compulsory requirement, it is definitely a great boost to the effectiveness of a communication. Also, people will be more likely to play games repeatedly. This will make them to be exposed by the message more frequently, and slowly will internalise the message deeper.
Caption: Hay Day. Picture taken from here.
Games give people a 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, then it will eventually get them bored. In the other hand, some people with slower ones to find the communication too fast, the chances are they will decide just ignore it. This such a case can be facilitated by game using a mechanism called level design and balancing.
Taking 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 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 in the farm. Along the way, the player will explore more ways to produce various resources.
Caption: SimCity’s Plumbing System. Picture taken from here.
Games are interactive multimedia, that appeals to each Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic People at once
There are three 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, and Kinesthetic People will understand things if they can actually do the certain things by 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 three different types of people at once. This means games are also a more efficient communication media. For this matter, simulation games are the perfect example, applied in game such as SimCity, where 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
Since game let you expect to have a direct feedback from your recipient, you can find out whether they understand the message you are trying to deliver through the game right away. Taking the example from one of the popular time-management games, Diner Dash where 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.
Nevertheless 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 recognise your message. Furthermore, there are some circumstances that makes a game can be even more powerful, such as who are the recipients you are targeting, what kind of message that you are trying to deliver, and so on.