There is a lot to say about the term “gamification”

There is a lot to say about the term “gamification”

…in my opinion, little to none of it good.  For the moment, I just want to point out this little gem from Worlds In Motions blog coverage of the “Is The Word ‘Gamification’ as Stupid as It Seems?” debate at GDC:

“[Jesse] Schell spoke at the Las Vegas DICE Summit in 2010, and during a compelling talk he envisioned a game-inspired world in which people earned transferrable points from companies or the government for doing anything from brushing their teeth to taking public transportation instead of personal transportation.”

…and that strikes no one as a nightmare of unbelievable proportions??  That might even surpass 1984-level dystopia.

  • zara
    Posted at 08:52h, 02 March

    There’s certainly a lot of room for abuse there, but in and of itself I don’t see that vision quite so much as dangerous as sad. I’m envisioning what it would be like to be at “play” at every mundane moment of my day and frankly I think it would suck. I also think it could easily be a compulsive thing that would be very hard to give up once it became habit and unlike other games, it would be impossible to exit the game-world.

    I’m not quite as staunchly against it as you seem to be, though. There are a lot of things that I can see “gamified” for good (metadata games, for example). I think the difference is that these things would require the player to opt in or enter a game-space in a more explicit way than climbing on a bus.

  • katie
    Posted at 10:57h, 02 March

    Really, you don’t see it as dangerous? The part where corporations and the government are apparently keeping tabs on your activities, down to and including brushing your teeth? In order for that kind of ‘gamification’ to occur, you have to tell the entities in question what you are doing. It sounds like a terrible, terrible movie to me.

    And I am not at all against the concept of real world tasks being built into applications that use the principles of game design to make them more fun and interesting/teach people something/accomplish the task in question in a superior fashion. I am largely against calling that particular achievement “gamification” because of the connotations – nearly all marketing-oriented – that sprung up around the word even as it was birthed.

  • Mary f
    Posted at 18:31h, 02 March

    Truly, gamification had not a cynic in the room at #GDC11. the social and long term questions were entirely absent from conversations. If attendees were worried about about a future in which games were nearly mandatory (or more), concerned that they were creating a postmodern version of Shelley Wollstonecraft’s Frankenstein, they certainly kept such ideas to themselves….

  • katie
    Posted at 20:39h, 02 March

    I am all for earnestness, but credulousness makes me crazy. And it seems to be omnipresent in spades around and within social games.

  • Brian 'Psychochild' Green
    Posted at 23:19h, 08 March

    The problem is that if you don’t buy into the latest fad, you become labeled as a “dinosaur” in the game industry. In a fast-moving industry, there’s few things worse than being labeled as out-of-touch.

    There has been dissent, but it gets shouted down pretty quickly. Some people try to angle it as, “You hate games made for a female audience.” or perhaps, “Look how much Zynga is worth!”

    So, yeah, dissent is out there. But, this is the latest fashion and developers don’t want to be left behind. And, some of the dissenters are just tired of arguing at this point. When the great wheel of fortune turns again, we’ll see some other fad take the place at the top.