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Noticeable feedback loops based on clicking as input which are meant to be enjoyable in themselves.

Practically all computer or video games are played by clicking on things to one extent or another. This clicking can be enjoyable in itself when it is part of small and strong feedback loops, and even more so when it can be done so repeatedly to create some form of rhythm in gameplay actions. Game design components that intentionally try to provide this are trying to give parts of the game Clickability.

The concept of Clickability was first described by Aki Järvinen, and his original definition[1] for Clickability was "the routine yet enjoyable behavior of executing a set of game actions, with the mouse, and intuitively responding to the UI feedback, during a single social (Facebook) game session."


Social Media games such as CityVille or Zombie Lane have clicking as both the basic way to interact parts of the game environments such as buildings, fields, bandits, and zombies and the way to more quickly collect the rewards given for completing actions.

Many games with first-person views have switches, controls, and other parts of the environment that can be activated by clicking on them. For example, the Portal series have pedestals with red buttons that invite players to press them to activate various effects in the game environment. Doors in the Doom and Quake series are other examples of game environments that have high Clickability.

Clickability does not always have to depend on clicking on things in an game environment. Fighting Games such as the Mortal Kombat and Tekken series can provide high degrees of Clickability toward pressing the buttons on the physical controls used to play the games.

Selecting individual units is a basic interface action in Real-Time Strategy Games, but the Starcraft and Warcraft series provide Clickability for these actions by having the units give humorous responses when clicked repeatedly.

Using the pattern

Clickability exists at some level as soon as there are clickable things in the game environment that have a noticeable effects, and even when there are no gameplay effect inherent in an action Clickability can be provided through Extra-Game Consequences similar to the responses Units provide in the Warcraft series. Game Items that have high levels of Clickability as soon as players are aware of them include Switches, and given that they exist in groups, Pick-Ups, and Reward Widgets.

Clickability does not have to depend on having objects in the game environment; Combos created by using Timing in Real-Time Games, as found for example in the Mortal Kombat and Tekken series, creates Clickability based on the feedback loops of pressing physical buttons and movements performed by the players' Avatars.

Diegetic Aspects

See next section.

Interface Aspects

Unless the Clickability is intended to be achieved in relation to physical buttons on the game interface, a Focus Loci needs to do the actual clicking in the game environment. Any Focus Loci can work, but God Fingers are probably the most suitable since these can allow clicking on any part of the Game Worlds or game interfaces.

The Clickability of Game Items or parts of game environments can easily be strengthened by using Diegetically Outstanding Features but this most probably breaks Diegetic Consistency.


Clickability not only motivates players to click on objects while gaming, it can let them discover and try to maintain Rhythm-Based Actions and thereby achieve Sensory-Motoric Engrossment. Although not enough to make Pottering a viable activity in games on its own, providing Clickability can be one way of supporting the activity since it works against gamers feeling that they are Grinding. Having Clickability on the important parts of game environments can make exploratory actions[2] easy or trivial to achieve, and thereby remove one learning requirement that may otherwise be need to achieve Gameplay Mastery.

When Clickability is achieved through encouraging gamers to use their Focus Loci this changes how they relate to these. In contrast, Button Bashing can emerge as an effect of providing Clickability by creating strong feedback loops between presses on physical buttons and events in the game.


Can Instantiate

Button Bashing, Rhythm-Based Actions, Sensory-Motoric Engrossment

Can Modulate

Focus Loci, Game Items, Gameplay Mastery, God Fingers, Pottering

Can Be Instantiated By

Diegetically Outstanding Features, Extra-Game Consequences, Pick-Ups, Switches, Reward Widgets

Combos created by using Timing in Real-Time Games

Can Be Modulated By


Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With



New pattern created in this wiki.


  1. Järvinen, A. (2010) Clickability: A Design Concept for Social Games. Blog entry reposted at Gamasutra 07/05/10.
  2. Linderoth, J. (2010). Why gamers donʼt learn more - An ecological approach to games as learning environment, in Nordic DiGRA 2010.


Aki Järvinen