Tag Archives: gamification

thoughts on gamification and agency to determine own goals (in life)

When I go to a cafe I want a cup of coffee. I already know how to order it. I already know the social convention of going to a counter and paying for it. I don’t necessarily think they should try to make that core experience into a game somehow.

Good games have interesting choices and compelling narratives. The gamification movement is focusing on the reward system, not the meat that makes good games good.

And, actually, when I go to a cafe, I’m already playing a game. Is it crowded? Maybe I should order a mocha instead of an americano so I don’t have to deal with the milk and sugar counter. What’s the most optimal way to get the best damn cup o joe I can?

I don’t want them to introduce underlying rules to what’s optimal. I don’t want them to dictate what gets rewarded, pushing me in a set direction. I want freedom to play the game the way I want to play.

When you realize that many parts of life… maybe all life… is a game, it’s very empowering. All you have to do is learn the rules. Then you can push and poke at those rules until you succeed. And by “success” I just mean you have agency in determining your own goals and getting what you want out of life. You have the power to create your own personal compelling narrative.

Games Learning Society brief recap

The Games Learning Society conference (June 13-15, 2012, Madison) was great. Last year after AERA and GLS, I was really concerned about in-game assessment and badgification. It seems I wasn’t the only one, as this year’s three keynotes (Colleen Macklin, Reed Stevens, and Sebastian Deterding) all made arguments for considering gameplay as occurring within a larger social space and that deeper level meaning can be derived in the local interactions of all the objects within that space, implicitly or explicitly stating that assessments need to extend beyond the game-player model and that gamification needs to recognize meaningful mechanics and relationships rather than just surface level features of games’ reward system.

Played a hella fun game of Sabine Harrer’s Kyoto. “We killed 75% of all the animals on the planet!” “Yeah, but it was the scary animals, so it’s okay.”

Moses Wolfenstein did an excellent Well Suffered session with Super Meat Boy.

A bunch of heavy hitters in games studies gave their positions on the magic circle (Eric Zimmerman, Jesper Juul, Thomas Malaby, Erica Halverson, Crystle Martin, David Simkins, and Kylie Peppler, moderated by Moses).

Scott Nicholson gave a great math summary of the problem of most gamification:

game = structure + goals + play

game – play = structure + goals = gamification

Also, I learned that I met Adam Ingram-Goble in 2005 when he visited a class taught by John Bransford at UW that I was a student in! Wow!

Finally, I should probably mention that the cover illustration I did for my new book was one of the pieces in the GLS art exhibit! 🙂

A few years ago, I used to blog summaries after each day, but more recently I’ve been satisfied with other people’s coverage and just participating in the twitter stream. But anyway, here’s some good resources:

Next year, I hear they’re going to have catering provide actual chocolate-covered broccoli! And each one will have a fluorescent dye in it that will help us assess how many we’ve eaten.