[GUEST POST] Finding a greater meaning in animation through Gamification
When we were assigned the task to choose a topic for our individual games, my mind first shot to the idea of “popularity”. It would be easier to attract people by targeting what they like rather than igniting an interest in a new topic. My first decision to be made was who was the target audience for my game. I concluded that the target audience I understood and related to the best would be teenagers since I was one myself.
Some things that are fairly popular among the youth these days include social media platforms like Instagram and Tiktok, Anime, Food, Kpop, and Online Gaming. Through the process of elimination, I figured that the topic I would enjoy most to make would be something that was anime-related as I recently got into anime and it has piqued my interest greatly. Furthermore, many young adults are into anime which would make the game more enticing for them. After finalizing my main topic for the game, I did some research on anime and its popularity before finalizing on the anime of my choice for the game.
Through this game, my main goal was to make an enjoyable and engaging experience for the users while imparting some valuable lessons to them. Hence, by going through the journey of the main characters during their first major tournament as a team, I aimed to get the users to see the similarities between the lives of the anime characters and their very own. I wanted to show the connection between the anime world of Haikyuu and our world as I found myself to be very inspired by this anime as well.
What is Anime?
Anime (Japanese: アニメ) is hand-drawn and a computer animation originating from . In Japanese, anime, a term derived from the English wordanimation, describes all animated works, regardless of style or origin. Outside of Japan, anime refers specifically to animation produced in Japan, or to its common style. As a type of animation, anime is an art form that comprises many genres found in other mediums; it is sometimes mistakenly classified as a genre itself. One of the main reasons why anime has stood the test of time and grown in popularity across the world is due to its unique ability to grow with its viewers.
Overseas fans of anime claim that they enjoy the intensity of the storylines with the endings being difficult to predict as anime is often targeted at adult audiences. The creation of anime usually occurs once a certain manga has proven its worth popularity, the natural progression is for an animated TV series to be created, however, manga is not the only source of inspiration for anime. Another source can be videogames for example. These variety of outlets from where anime content is sourced from allows yet another connection of the anime world to our world as people sometimes come across real life things in the anime. Furthermore, most anime are drawn in the context of real places in Japan allowing the viewers to further see a blurring of lines between the worlds.
To the Real World
Positive effects of Anime
- The stories and experiences of characters in the anime could inspire and motivate people to become better people or see things differently.
- Anime manages to depict societal issues in an interesting manner which helps raise awareness while doing it in a non-offensive manner
- Anime creates characters with experiences that can be relatable to the audience allowing people to feel better connected and not alone
Negative effects of Anime
- It can create unrealistic standards in terms of physical appearances or based on personality due to the way some characters are portrayed
- Watching too much anime can cause a type of addiction which will lead to negative impacts on people’s lives as they might find themselves binging shows without realizing it
- Since anime appears to be targeted children due to the animation, there is a possibility that children may come across inappropriate content like violence which could desensitize them
- Some people may become obsessed with anime and turn delusional which could result in a form of escapism behaviour
After having decided on making the game based on anime, the next matter at hand was which anime to choose from. As mentioned before, anime has many different genres and caters to people with different interests. In the end, I chose to make the game based on one of my all time favorite anime series, Haikyuu!!. Haikyuu!! is based on Haruichi Furudate’s Manga about volleyball, and is one of the most popular sports anime right now. It not only gets your heart racing because you watch high intensity matches, but it also shows the compelling storylines of each character.
The anime came out in 2014, so it is relatively old. But, it has recently gained a lot of popularity as the fourth season came out this year. It was almost as if it became popular overnight. There have always been many fans, as the art style and diversity in the characters really sets it out from other anime. All the characters are shown to have their own internal struggles, and all have their own unique personality. Many people began noticing that they could relate to the characters they liked, which ultimately contributed to the anime’s increase in popularity.
Using the Gamification platform
The main name of my game, Reel VS Real, was inspired by the fact that the world of animation and fiction is not so different from our real world. I tried my best to portray my thought process of the similarity between the 2 worlds by incorporating a link in the game without it seeming out of place. After coming up with the title for my game, the next decision to be made was how to use the gamification platform, while using the anime, to create a game that would not only be fun for the audience but also teach them something valuable through the link. Hence, I chose to make the game based on 3 matches of the first major tournament that the main characters of Haikyuu!! participate in.
I tried to design the game flow such that users felt like they were a part of the main characters’ journey. At the start of the game, I made an introductory topic to give a basic overview of what’s in store for the users who are not familiar with Haikyuu!!. Following that, to make the game as engaging and interactive as possible, I tried to use as many challenges as possible. To further increase the engagement with the users, I included some videos from the anime for the users to better visualize the journey of the characters. Furthermore, at the end of every topic, I incorporated a small snippet to show how the hardships and lessons experienced by the main characters are very relatable and applicable to what most of us experience in our own lives in some way or another. I then went on to add achievements and rewards that were in line with the challenges within the game and the anime.
Lastly, I added in an extra topic with challenges purely regarding the main characters for users to try out for leisure.
Despite the saying that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, for a successful game, the choice, quality and consistency of the pictures would be a major criteria to get the attention of the users. A blurry or pixelated image would be an instant repellent to the users trying out the game as it would be an unappealing sight. Hence, I tried finding good quality images of the main characters and the matches that they participate in.
In this day and age, the animation world is rapidly changing as the animators are bringing in series and stories that are not purely meant for entertainment purposes but also to teach viewers some valuable learning points which they could use in their own life. Anime too aims to showcase new points of view, create a relatable scene and illuminate the viewers with beneficial ideals and values.
I feel that through this game experience users will be able to see the connections to an extent and hopefully enjoy the journey of the main characters. Ultimately this entire game process and experience was really enjoyable and hopefully the users will feel the same way too.