A Study on the Story of Gamification to Prevent Equalization of Personal Satisfaction and Self-esteem



Haein Kim, Sojung Lee, Hyeyoung Ko


Department of Contents Design, Seoul Women’s University

621, Hwarang-ro, Nowon-gu, Seoul, 01797, Korea

Seoul, Republic of Korea







This study suggests a story of SIIMI, which is mobile Gamification content to prevent identification of self-esteem that is created by the satisfaction of appearance by combining the theory of Gamification with factors of psychotherapy game


Keyword: self-esteem, gamification, serious Game, and lookism


"This research was supported by the MISP(Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning), Korea, under the National Program for Excellence in SW (2016-0-00022) supervised by the IITP(Institute for Information & communications Technology Promotion)"(2016-0-00022)


1. Introduction


The concept of self-esteem has received lots of attention in this society. According to the point of psychology, this concept has affected behaviors of human and adaptation. Therefore the importance of self-esteem has been emphasized. Self-esteem is the concept of judgment regarding their values and the meaning of estimation[1]. Especially, Freud insisted that the ego of the human body is the critical factor of character formation, and also the relation between appearance and self-esteem affects a character[2]. On the other hand, in Korean society, there is a strong tendency that the appearance satisfaction is becoming self-satisfaction. Like this, when someone builds self-esteem by judging appearance beauty for the standard of value, it can be very unstable and controlled by others easily[3]. This thesis suggests the story composition of Gamification which can help improve this social phenomenon and build the right self-self-esteem of individuals.


2. Theoretical background


2.1. self-esteem


Crocker (2003) suggests that self-esteem is associated with specific areas and that success and failure in self-esteemed areas determine self-worth[4]. Based on these theories, Cocker and Park (2003) defined that an environment is needed to satisfy these two conditions for high self-esteem. It must be accompanied by a sense of self-esteem in a particular area and must be placed in an environment where we can experience success in that area[5].

If we apply the lookism problem of present society to the theory associated with self-esteem, It can be said that a significant number of Koreans involve self-esteem in the appearance area. In practice, the result of research in the effect of appearance satisfaction on the female college student's satisfaction shows that two factors are highly correlated[6]. Self - esteem in the appearance area is unstable in that the factor that can experience success in the area is limited and the judgment of others is influential.


2.2. Gamification


Gamification is that applying mechanism of a game in non-game things so that it can induce fun to various actions and help to convey effectively what you meant. Gartner, a market research company, has presented four factors in a way that enables users to immerse themselves by using Gamification. These are a plausible story, a definite goal and the rules of a game, moderately difficult tasks, quick feedback cycles[7].


2.3. Serious Game for Therapy


The area of Gamification presented above is gradually spreading into the field of education and marketing, and is becoming a core theory. In this project, we would like to suggest a theoretical study of therapeutic Gamification. Sunjung Yoon has applied psychotherapy to the games and selected necessary factors for therapy serious games. These factors have required the consistency with character, the stability of the game material, realistic factuality, self-determinism of whole game and interaction with reality[8].


3. Body


3.1. Story based on elements of a Serious game


For the story elements which can lead to improving self-esteem, we have deduced the elements of therapy serious game and applied them to the story.


Table 1. Story based on Elements of a Serious game


Elements of Serous Game

The characteristics of a story


Consistency with character


Selection of the main character as the one who is pressured by the aesthetic standards of society in the lookism society.

Being an outcast because of the mistreatment of decoration as a real tree, unlike other Mii tribespeople who decorate like a real tree.


Stability of game material


For healing, atmosphere to be stable, use the soft tone of colors for the central background desert and characters, maintain a relaxed mood with calm music.


Realistic factuality

The appearance of a character who denies itself due to low self-esteem and  realistic characters that judge and bully others due to their high self-esteem of appearance.

Deliver the topic clearly with the main character’s actions of deviating from social, aesthetic standards.


Self-determinism of the whole game


Overall the whole game, users move their main characters to solve the problem.


Interaction with reality

There is no link between therapy and counseling concerning the story in the game.


3.2. The characteristic of Gamification


Table 2. Story based on Elements of Gamification


Conditions of Gamification

The characteristics of a story


A plausible story


Increase immersion with the story in an imaginary world that liken to reality


A definite goal and the rules of a game


Present one's obsession with appearance beauty in the form of visible 'leaf', and take all the leaves off that were attached to the main character’s body.


Moderately difficult tasks


In the form of drag & drop puzzles, find clues for deducing the story and take the leaves off with unexpected ways.


Quick feedback cycles

Consistent feedback on game elements


Finally, the users have a chance to think about areas that involved self-esteem for themselves while playing the content. Ultimately, we can look forward to relieving this phenomenon.



4. Conclusion


The appearance beauty has become one of the important factors of success as living in modern society. As demonstrated in previous studies, the connection of one’s appearance, ego and self-esteem is a natural process, but increasing this phenomenon can be a social problem. It would be difficult for an individual to establish a sense of self-esteem that is independent of appearance in this society that is continually emphasizing beautiful female images and easy to find plastic surgery advertisements in anywhere like in the subway. For relieving this phenomenon and prevent to establish so-called, ‘Fake self-esteem’ which is based on variable and instability, we suggest a scenario of Gamification content which applied with psychotherapy techniques. In the future, it is necessary to verify whether the application will affect the actual game.




[1]   K. Hong, M. Kim, J. Lee, and Y. Han, "Exploration of the structure of Self - Esteem among Korean Adults" Korean Journal of Woman Psychology Vol.8, No 2, 2003, pp. 33-52

[2]   S Freud. "The ego and the ID", New York, W.W NortanCompany: 1961

[3]   T. H. Kim "A society that encourages false self-esteem", Seoul: Galmaenamu, 2006

[4]   J, Crocker, R. K Luhtanen, M. L. Cooper, and A. Bouvrette, "Contingencies of self-worth in college students: theory and measurement". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol.85, No 5, 2003, pp. 894-908.

[5]   J.Crocker, and L. Park, "Seeking self-esteem: construction, maintenance, and protection of self-worth. In M. R Leary, J.P.Tangney, Handbook of self and Identity. New York: The Guilford Press, pp. 291-313, 2003

[6]   M.J. Kim, K.J. Lee, S. K. Yune, S.J. Kim, A. Chung, J. Hwang, Y. H. Sung, and I. K. Lyoo, "The effect of other’s evaluation for subject’s appearance and appearance satisfaction on Self-Esteem in female undergraduates", The Korean Society for Psychopathology and Psychiatric Classification, Vol 13, No 1,2,  pp.37-36, 2004

[7]   J. Lee, Game Dictionary Organ / Term, 2013

[8]   S. Yoon, M. Ryu, "Psycho-therapeutic Elements in Serious Game for Therapy", Korea Game Society, Vol.12, No. 2, 2012