Gaming is all around us, and often we don’t even recognize a game while participating in it. Open your wallet and count the loyalty and bonus cards you are carrying and you realize that you are participating in multiple collecting games. Coupons, offers and discounts are games designed to drive people into stores. The most powerful location based game might just be Happy Hour that every day drives millions of people to the closest bar to socialize over half priced drinks.

Our life from education, work to hobbies is driven by tasks, achievements and rewards – the most basic game design dynamics. Seth Priebatsch talks about building a game layer on top of real world by using four different game dynamics that impact on our everyday lives:

  1. appointment dynamic: return to a specific place on set time to receive a reward (Happy Hour, coupons, Farmville)
  2. influence and status dynamic: work hard to earn better status or higher level (school grades, loyalty programs, World of Warcraft)
  3. progression dynamic:  finish a hard project in simple steps and visually follow progression (Linkedin progress bar, burn tasks in SCRUM development)
  4. communal discovery dynamic: collective problem solving (DIGG surfaces the  most liked news, Wikipedia empowers people to contribute)

Seth Priebatsch: Building the game layer on top of the world

Jane McGonigal takes the thinking even further by proposing that we are not as good in real world as in the games worlds. Real life is complex and lags opportunity to EPIC WINS and concrete rewards. In games there is always an EPIC story and something to do while real life is messy and we often have no idea what to do. Jane also proposes that gaming could help us to find a resolution for large global problems from hunger to poverty.

Jane McGonigal: Gaming can make a better world

This post is just scratching the surface of a much larger topic, but I’ll definitely get back to this when I have some new ideas and concrete examples.

Photo borrowed from Jane McGonigal’s TED talk video.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *