Designing fun experiences: Learnings from Game Design

Experiential marketing is a way for organisations to enable consumers to experience a brand in a fun, tangible and offline manner. But what is fun? To explain it, it needs to be distinguished from the concept of pleasure.

The brain experiences pleasure when neurotransmitters releases certain chemicals that transmit signals around the brain that result is specific pleasurable moments:

  • Dopamine is released to provide motivation and assists with associative learning.
  • Serotonin flows when you feel significant or important
  • Oxytocin is released as a result of positive social interactions, and when we’re engaged in a strong narrative.
  • Endorphins give you that high feeling after physical exercise where you feel that you’ve achieved something of significance.

Pleasure lasts a moment, which could be instant or a prolonged but limited sensation. Its a positive aspirational state, but it’s not necessarily fun. Fun is more so a novelty. It’s non-routine, spontaneous and can be enhanced if shared or if there is a build up to it. I see fun being a series of pleasurable moments where physical and mental effort is required to take risks in order to achieve a goal. A fun experience is more memorable as it requires a person to learn and practice new skills.

One medium that consumers have fun with is game-play, which is defined as an interactive experience which has a set of rules, goals, pretense (an artificial world), game mechanics (e.g. scoreboards, levels, combos, countdowns, statuses) and meaning. Different player choices lead to different outcomes. Elements of novelty, luck, participation, risk and reward add to the desirability. A game is desirable if the player receives constant feedback on progress, the goals are clear and it keeps the player in the right zone between opportunity and capacity where the game is neither too hard or too easy.Incorporating game play into brand experiences is one novel way where brands can distinguish themselves from their competitors and build closer connections with their consumer base. Advergames combine both interactive and social components to educate consumers, raise brand awareness and leave a lasting positive impression on consumers.

Immersive Authority offers a number of below-the-line Advergaming experiences which can enable you to promote your brand a number of ways in a fun, interactive and memorable setting. To learn more click here or contact us.


4 essential neurotransmitters in gamification by Andrzej Marczewski

The difference between fun and pleasure by Kath Thompson

Fun and uncertainty by 

Game Design the Miyamoto Way: Flow and Difficulty

Engineering Fun in Game Design

The Theory of Fun in Game Design by Hadziq Fabroyir