In 2012, one of the must-see films of the year was The Hunger Games, which was also one of the first few films in the “dystopia” genre, which is still immensely popular even now (The Maze Runner, Divergent, Elysium, Ender’s Game, Snowpiercer… There is quite an extensive list.).
In The Hunger Games, the Games were created to punish the twelve districts, who’d previously rebelled against the powerful and rich Capitol. In simpler terms, it’s a control mechanism that balances fear and hope.
While The Hunger Games is a dark and often depressing story, there are many good lessons to learn from it. It’s not just about the game, or the killing, or who Katniss will end up with. It is a story that explores deeper issues such as corruption, society and class, the power of the media…
And, as its name implies, it also teaches us a lot about games.
Or, rather, gamification.
Gamification is the act of putting game elements into non-game contexts to increase engagement.
For example, game elements are placed into the murdering of innocent people in The Hunger Games! Let’s take a deeper look at the gamification within the Games.
Rewards, in the form of gifts, are heavily relied upon in the Games, and they motivate the tributes to do their best, before they even step foot into the arena.
While making public appearances prior to the Games (.gif above), the tributes show themselves off to television audiences to obtain ‘sponsors’, who will send gifts such as food, medicine, and tools to their favourite tributes during the Games
These gifts can be critical to survival and, thus, are highly sought after.
In gamification, achievements and rewards can come in the form of virtual badges to earn, or physical assets one can redeem with accumulated points. These achievements and rewards are meant to motivate players to play their best, the same way sponsors’ gifts motivate the tributes to leave a lasting impression in The Hunger Games.
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