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Why You Need Storytelling for Your Gamified Activity

Mengapa Storytelling untuk Aktivitas Gamifikasi Penting

You’re here probably thinking, “Why would I need a story for my gamified activity? Isn’t changing my activity into a game enough? I mean, won’t it actually take a long time instead of improving it?” Well, the answer is no. Changing your activity into a game is not enough to make it engaging, fun, and effective. You also need to add a story to your gamified activity. Why? Because stories are powerful tools that can actually enhance the player experience and overall improve the fun factor of the gamified features. 

In a Harvard Business Review article by Paul J. Zak, a professor of economics, psychology, and management and the CEO of Immersion Neuroscience, stories can change the activity of people’s brains, making them more engaged, empathetic, and generous. Dr. Zak and his neuro-technology company’s breakthrough (which is actually called Immersion) is that immersive storytelling is what triggers the release of the empathy-related chemical, oxytocin, in our brain. 

How does this happen? Zak explains that stories can trigger the said release, which is associated with social bonding, trust, and empathy. Oxytocin can also motivate people to cooperate and help others. Zak says;  

“By enhancing empathy, oxytocin helps us connect with others. We are more likely to help those who are close to us or those who seem to care about us.” 

Over the past two decades, researchers such as Dr. Paul Zak have been investigating the activities that can trigger a state of complete immersion in an experience. In general, scientists have observed that when more of our brains are active in particular ways, we pay attention and encode more into memory. And good stories tend to check all the boxes. 

This means that if you want your gamified activity to be more effective, you need to create a story that makes your players feel something. You need to make tbhem care about the characters, the situation, and the outcome. You need to make them feel like they are part of the story and that their actions matter. Hence, it’s important to focus on the game mechanic itself and convert it into a game format, as much as it is equally important to consider how your gamification would play out. 

But we’re guessing that you might still wonder how you can you tell a good story that can hold your audience’s attention. Here are some tips based on science: 

  • Grab The Audience Attention
    You can do this by creating tension in the story, breaking expectations, or surprising the audience. For example, you can start with a provocative question or a personal anecdote  
  • Start with Something New yet Familiar 
    Aim for a balance of novelty and familiarity. Begin with an element that captivates attention by being fresh, perhaps breaking expectations or presenting something unexpected. This could be a surprising twist, a unique perspective, or an unusual setting. At the same time, anchor your audience by incorporating familiar elements that they can relate to. This could involve introducing characters with relatable qualities, familiar settings, or situations that resonate with the audience. Striking this balance creates intrigue while providing a sense of connection. 
  • Sustain the Attention 
    Next, you need to sustain the attention by creating a narrative arc, having a clear beginning, middle, and end, and a resolution that is satisfying and meaningful. You can do this by using the structure of exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and denouement.  
  • Make the Audience Care 
    Finally, you need to make the audience (or in this case, players) care by creating relatable characters, showing their emotions and motivations, and making them face challenges and overcome obstacles. Using dialogue, description, and action to show the character’s personality, goals, and struggles to name a few. 

This is why streaming platforms such as Netflix can get us to binge-watch an entire season of a show in one sitting or why we can get lost in a good book for hours. It’s also why storytelling can be a powerful tool for business communication, whether you’re marketing a product, pitching an idea, or inspiring a team. Let’s see how storytelling can benefit your gamified activity in more detail. 

Emotional connections

Our thoughts shape the world we live in, but it’s our emotions that give it color. From an early age, we are taught to regulate our emotions. But they are a crucial aspect of our humanity. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to comprehend what it means to feel anything. Stories can arouse emotions in playerscuriosity, excitement, empathy, or suspense. Emotions are an important element to trigger motivation, learning, and memory. They can also increase the sense of immersion and presence in the gamified activity, making it more realistic and meaningful. For example, a gamified activity that tells a story about a historical event can make the players feel like they are part of that event, and thus increase their interest and understanding of the topic. 

Player experience

Stories can enhance the player experience by providing a context, a background, and a role for the players, making them more invested and involved in the gamified activity. For example, a gamified activity that tells a story about a fictional character can make the players feel like they are that character and thus increase their engagement and enjoyment of the activity. 

Longevity and fun factor

If you add variety, complexity, and unpredictability, stories can improve the longevity and fun factor of the gamified activity. It can create different scenarios, outcomes, and pathways for the players, making the gamified activity more dynamic and interactive. Stories can also create surprises, twists, and conflicts, making the gamified activity more challenging and exciting. 


As you can see, storytelling is a powerful technique that can enhance your gamified activity in many ways. It can make your gamified activity more emotional, more enjoyable, and more memorable. So, don’t hesitate to add a story to your gamified activity. It will make a big difference. 


If you wish to start creating a gamified experience with great storytelling, consider consulting with Level Up powered by Agate. They have a wealth of experience in creating engaging, effective, and fun gamified experiences. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to take your learning strategy to the next level. Contact Level Up today and start your journey towards effective and engaging learning.  

If you are interested in learning more about gamification and how it can benefit you or your organization  

Check out our gamification services page and contact us today. We are ready to help you create a gamification experience that aligns with your needs and preferences.  

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