Gamification is a buzzword. I see and hear it all the time nowadays when talking about the game industry’s impact on other areas of society. I hate buzzwords. Now watch me contradict myself and call more attention to a buzzword. This one gets special privileges though, because I like the idea.
Gamification involves adding game elements to a non-game scenario in order to gain positive results. This can mean higher test scores, increased work productivity, or in some cases, just fun in an otherwise boring situation. Thinking about this concept led me to a new idea. I was looking at some upcoming MMORPGs, and I noticed something interesting. People hate to grind. Ok, that’s not really interesting. What was interesting was the consistency this had with life. For example, people hate to exercise. Because of this, we try to make shortcuts for exercise. This happens in games, as some even have built-in botting or free xp for being logged on.
So back to Gamification. It’s essentially using games as a shortcut for productivity. We seek to make the life grind fun by turning it into a game. Well, what about the other way around? Instead of a game adding richness to life, what if life had something to contribute to the game you’re playing? This isn’t as much a new idea as it is a separate way of looking at Gamification. For example, instead of adding game elements to an educational curriculum, create a game that exists separately. The catch is that in order to progress in the game, progress must be made in school. Think about it. What if WoW experience points were tied to grades? Instead of turning academics into a game (which is hard), make a game, one that is already fun, dependent on success in school (or work, or anything else).