Sign up

GameON: Games. Games and their characteristics


GameON: Games. Games and their characteristics



This activity will help you learn about the basics of games and their charachteristics.

  • A game is a type of play where participants follow defined rules (Houghton et al., 2013).

In defining a game, we can say that the components of each game are the hardware and the rules are the software. Both can exist independently from each other and they define and create different kind of game with their specificities. The rules need to include a clear and defined goal, which must be something measurable.

Some key elements of any game are:
  1. Theme: the subject the game is built around, which would affect aesthetics of the game.
  2. Narrative: the game's story, including plot and characters, among others.
  3. Mechanics: rules that govern and guide the player's actions, as well as the game's response to them.
  4. Dynamics: patterns of how the game and the players will evolve over some timeand which leads to winning.
  5. Rules: statements and directions that must be followed in order for the game to be played correctly.
  6. Victory condition: how to win the game.
  7. Components: pieces and materials of the game.
  8. Point system: a system for distributing resources or for ranking players’ actions on the basis of points allocated or accumulated
  9. Levels / Missions: closed off section of the game in which players can explore while trying to complete a certain objective.
  10. Playing surface in which components and actions are played.

Flow channel

Games lead us to the flow channel and there we find a feeling of great absorption, engagement and fulfillment. The flow channel is a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter. To achieve a flow state, a balance must be struck between the challenge of the task and the skill of the performer. If the task is too easy or too difficult, flow cannot occur as both skill level and challenge level must be matched and high; if skill and challenge are low and matched, apathy results.

Csíkszentmihályi, author of the flow theory, identified nine component states of achieving flow, including "challenge-skill balance, merging of action and awareness, clarity of goals, immediate and unambiguous feedback, concentration on the task at hand, paradox of control, transformation of time, loss of self-consciousness, and autotelic experience".


The international partnership “GameOn” created this playlist to promote inclusion, participation and critical thinking through game design. Learn more about this partnership here.

Expert partners:

Co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union

Get activity badge

GameON: Games. Games and their characteristics Get this badge

Owners of this badge learned more about games charachteristics and reflected upon existing games and their own experience.

The evidence of completing this activity is included in the badge and was reviewed and verified by the organisers.

This activity is part of the wider educational effort of the international partnership “GameOn” to promote inclusion, participation and critical thinking through game design.
Task no.1
Evidence verified by: one activity organiser
Play a board game you have at your place (or a friend’s one). Observe on it the different charachteristics explained on this activity. Then, position yourself on the flow chart during the game.

Upload a picture of you and your collegues during the game to earn the activity badge.



#engage participants
Creativity and design
Added to playlist (1)


Nexes Interculturals

Used in playlists

GameOn: Game Design Steps for Inclusion
Nexes Interculturals
Badgecraft hosts this platform and develops it together with leading educational organisations. The European Union's programme Erasmus+ granted co-funding for building the first version of this platform. Contact support@badgecraft.eu.
Change to another language:
Co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union