80's Gameshows - A Gamification Case Study

Updated: Oct 10

Growing up I had a small television that would be proper up in my room on days I was sick and had to stay home from school. I can remember lying in bed watching Mr. Rogers in the morning. Having little else to do and much less motivation to do anything else I would continue watching until my stomach motivated me to get up and raid the fridge. At about 10 am several gameshows would begin airing. Among my favorite was The Price is Right and the whammy show known more formally as Press your Luck.


Project Name: Dealer Squares

Client: GM Financial

Developer Tools: Vyond.com, Captivate

Additional Info: Work Experience


These shows present a special opportunity for instructional designers as we seek more and more to entertain and motivate our learner audience. In working for GM Financial I was looking to give a new spin on an otherwise boring assessment at the end of a training module. Many of the questions were true or false and fit quite well with one game show in particular; Hollywood Squares.


Though I didn't have a Hollywood cast for the game I did have a small budget for voice actor recordings. I knew the pull of a show like that was the characters that occupied each square. The course was focused on teaching the fundamentals of lease sales in the auto finance industry. The title easily morphed into Dealer Squares with common salesperson caricatures occupying each square. The stage was set; now came the scriptwriting. I quickly took to each character as I wrote in their personality with each assessment question. The character would pose a statement about leasing that could be true or false and the learner had to decide for its accuracy or truthfulness.


The characters were brought to life with Vyond animation as I crafted each character down to their apparel and hairstyle. Animations were added and each character would then turn into 3 different videos clips that presented the question to the learner and a feedback reaction for both correct and incorrect answers. This particular project used Adobe Captivate to organize the interaction and a simple javascript code was used to help randomize the questions available. That way each time they played the game it would feel like a new game.


There are ideas like this laying in plain sight or in our own personal experiences. It is the job of an Instructional Designer to find those connections to motivations and sometimes even nostalgia to engage the learner during training. Television is full of examples of game shows just waiting to be spun back up into our lives. I wonder what sort of entertaining activities were thought up before television and just how I might be able to bring those ideas back to life in a new and creative learning experience.

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