Gamification is a process of applying game mechanics to non-game contexts.

Reverse gamification is a process of using non-game context or non-game mechanics in games.

For example:

Gamification - you can learn traffic code with leaderboards, badges, etc.

Reverse gamification - you can create a game (something like gta) to teach traffic code inside it.

Is there any better term for that?

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    \$\begingroup\$ It sounds like, either way, your describing the same thing. The only distinction is the order in which you apply your process. In turn, I feel this question is quite unclear. \$\endgroup\$ – Gnemlock Apr 21 '17 at 7:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah it sounds exactly the same thing to me. A game that has a non-game context or non-game mechanics is the same thing as a non-game context or non-game mechanic that is made into a game. \$\endgroup\$ – John Hamilton Apr 21 '17 at 7:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ How a site with traffic code and some badges is the same thing as gta game that teaches traffic code? I think they are different approaches because users will get completely different experience from them. \$\endgroup\$ – ais Apr 21 '17 at 7:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ What you describe as "Reverse gamification" in your example is actually gamification... you use a game to learn an IRL concept, so you gamify the learning experience. \$\endgroup\$ – Polygnome Apr 21 '17 at 13:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ Maybe "edutainment"? \$\endgroup\$ – jlmt Apr 21 '17 at 23:37

Extra Credits made an episode about De-Gamification a while ago. But I am not sure if that's what you mean. They are talking about removing incentives and obstacles to allow the player to interact with the game world more on their own whims and not be too focused on success.

You could also be talking about the axis of Gameism vs. Simulationism. Gameism is when you design your game mechanics to be as fun to play as possible, even if that means to take gross breaks from reality and plausibility. Simulationism, on the other hand, focuses on making your game as realistic as possible without regard for the game experience. An example for this would be how to handle player injuries in a first-person shooter. Let's say the player gets hit in the leg. A simulationist game designer would have the player limp for the rest of the game. A gameist game designer would not impair them at all and have them regenerate their health after a few seconds. Neither extreme is usually desirable. A too realistic game will have poor game balance and be boring to play. A too gameist game will lack immersion and become unintuitive to play. Experienced game designers try to aim for the middle ground.

Or you could be talking about using games primarily as teaching tools. In that case you are developing educational games. These games are necessarily simulationist when it comes to teaching the skills they want to teach. But otherwise they use gameism in order to get the player to practice the skill properly. When you skip a red light in a game for teaching car driving, the game tells you immediately and you are teleported back so you can repeat the situation. You don't get a ticket in your mail a week later. They also can and should use gamification to reward the learning progress, so they aren't de-gamificated either.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think the final product could be called educational game with education as non-game context. But gamification is a name of the process that is used to add game elements to non-game context. So I am looking for a name of a process that is used to add non-game elements to a game. But I guess such term doesn't exist. \$\endgroup\$ – ais Apr 21 '17 at 12:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ais - Do you have an example of what you mean by a "non-game element" in a game? You might get better answers with an example, and if you can't think of one it might be because the concept doesn't exist. It could be like water: Whether you pour water onto a piece of paper or put the paper into standing water, you still end up with wet paper. So any "non game element" added to a game is now automatically a "game element". \$\endgroup\$ – Bobson Apr 23 '17 at 2:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Bobson One example is a game where learning something is a main goal. Yes, everything in a game is "game element". But some elements are artificial. They aren't used to improve game experience but they use the game for their own goals. Another example could be MMO where you could order something in amazon shop to deliver stuff in real life. \$\endgroup\$ – ais Apr 23 '17 at 5:39

I'm not entirely sure if I understand your question correctly.

I think you're asking about games that draw inspiration from real live situations/mechanics/physics, without the explicit purpose of teaching the player about these concepts.

Since this is extremely common in games, there's no specific word for it. A somewhat related word is "Simulation" (see Farming Simulator, Flight Simulator, Goat Simulator, and Simulated City), but that also includes a wide range of soft- and hardware applications designed specifically to teach. Also partially related is "Realism". Even less related is "Immersion".

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    \$\begingroup\$ "Since this is extremely common in games, there's no specific word for it." Pretty much. Or, "Game Design". \$\endgroup\$ – Engineer Apr 21 '17 at 13:30

Gamification is a spectrum. Adding "game-like" incentives to real-world activities is on the shallow end of the spectrum. Creating an actual game to train those activities is on the deeper end. Essentially, they're the same process.


"Reverse gamification" = "Game design" - a term which includes taking inspiration from the real world and applying such mechanics in games - regardless of what the mechanic is.

Sounds like you're trying to reverse an already-reversed term - it's a bit like referring to a power-of-2 texture as non-NPOT i.e. non-non-power-of-2. Use the original term - "game design".

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    \$\begingroup\$ Not saying you are right or wrong - i take no standpoint (since i seem to have just got a headache). Just have to share the phrase that of some reason came to my mind when reading. It originates from Lotus 123 in the late 80's: "Macro is nesting to deep" :-). :-) \$\endgroup\$ – Stormwind Apr 21 '17 at 13:30

The term is "serious game". The term covers any game not made primarily for entertainment so any educational game or training game falls in that category.



  • \$\begingroup\$ "Serious game" appears to cover the actual game, itself; Where gamification, the term being asked about in the question, specifically pertains to a process involved in making said game. \$\endgroup\$ – Gnemlock Apr 23 '17 at 0:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Gnemlock Instead of "serious game" use "developing a serious game" or "serious game development" and you have the process opposite to gamification. \$\endgroup\$ – Bakuriu Apr 23 '17 at 8:34

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