Whew, been a long while since you’ve seen one from me. That said, I wanted to make some comments about Ian Bogost’s article here , and a few others on the subject of Gamification. I have what amounts to serious issues with the whole notion of gamification. I see it somewhat along the same lines of the Tomacco episode of The Simpsons:
[Scroll to the comments to see the articles that I missed.] Following the release of Reality is Broken and the appearance of dedicated gamification conferences and books, it is fair to say that the gamification backlash is in full swing. (Such is the natural order of the world.) Chronologically, Long before anyone thought of the word gamification, Edward Deci published the paper “ Effects of externally mediated rewards on intrinsic motivation .”
I’m going to spend a little time today being that guy who is like, “the philosophers were right! Oh my god!” I don’t know if I can solve any of the problems I’m going to lay out today but I think that understanding the difference between gamification and what we can call is going to be an important step forward for folks trying to deal with the trend called gamification. This January, there was actually a conference in San Francisco about gamification. Anybody interested in advertising these days has probably heard the gamification rallying cry: if we make it fun, customers will keep coming back.
It’s time for a few stories that caught my attention last week: a critique on the logics of gamification, a highly successful student driven news site and an integration project using digital media to spark social change. A critical perspective on gamification “The gamification backlash is in full swing”, that’s how ludologist (video game researcher) Jesper Juul starts his article on why the idea of making games out of boring chores is a fallacy. Game mechanisms with external rewards have as far back as 1971 been proven to act as demotivators, not as motivators. We need to be careful and think critically of how the emerging “game layer” (which might be the buzzword of 2011) should be designed and implemented; not just thinking that any game mechanism will make your product a success. Read Juul’s short article Gamification Backlash Roundup and a transcript of games scholar Cayden Mak’s lecture The Schema of Game Culture .
Posted by larvalsubjects under Uncategorized  Comments The other day my friend Carl– a very talented rhetorician –drew my attention to an article on NPR describing “gamification” as a new social technology. As Gabe Zichermann, one of the pioneers of gamification describes this social technology, Gamification “is the process of using game thinking and game mechanics to engage users and solve problems” One of these techniques is currently being experimented with in Sweden with respect to speeding.
Does something in your life suck? Then turn it into a game! This is postmodernism’s infantile version of the consolatory techniques of stoic philosophy. Digital technology may now be used to project a virtual skin of motivation and delight over the real world. Through the phenomenon burdened with the unlovely term ‘gamification’ – in principle, the application of game mechanics to everyday life – gaming threatens to become not just ubiquitous but a conceivable way of living: a lifestyle. Such is the promise, for example, of , just announced at the time of writing: a game for London commuters that hooks into the journey data saved by their prepaid travelcards.