When I saw a week on gamification coming up I honestly thought it was just Adam’s attempt to throw in a week in which he could talk about his favourite games. I wasn’t judging, I mean if I was a unit chair I would sneak in as many weeks as I could on fantasy novels, so I was cool with it and a little interested to hear what he had to say about games. What I didn’t realise is that gamification, whilst related to games, is actually a completely different thing.
Kim, B (2015) explains that “gamification is not quite creating a game but transferring some of the positive characteristics of a game to something that is not a game.”
This can include the incorporation of points, levels, characters, unlocking content, or a whole host of game structures. It doesn’t really matter how you incorporate elements of the ‘game’ as long as it makes whatever you are doing more fun. Once I realised what gamification was I started to think about all the times I have gamified something without even realising what I was doing.
A few years ago my partner and I, and three of our friends went to the coast for a weekend. We were thinking about what we wanted to do. There were all the obvious ones like go to the beach, eat ice-cream etc. But we decided to think out of the box and make it a bit more exciting. So we made a checklist. There were twenty things on the checklist, and they ranged from the bizarre (put a rubber ducky in an unusual spot) to fairly normal (eat some fudge.)
It totally transformed the day. Almost instantly we were in game mode, we had our back-packs on, cameras ready and check-list in hand, ready for the day of adventure. We stopped off in town and bought all the various items we needed and then set off to complete everything on the list. And we did, whilst having an immense amount of fun. For years after my partner and I would check if that rubber ducky was still wedged into the top of that cliff (it lasted a surprisingly long time.)
Gamification has boomed over the last few years, mostly due to the increase of the ‘mobile web’ and social media (Kim, B 2015). The use of smart phones has enabled people to constantly interact with the internet and allowed for ‘game layers’ (Kim, B 2015) to be added onto everyday lives as the internet is no longer restricted to stationery use.
Businesses have been quick to adopt gamification as a way to market products, increase engagement with their brand and to capture customer loyalty (Kim, B 2015). In a marketplace that is becoming increasingly competitive due to the ease with which customers can access and compare a global range of brands and products, gamification provides that extra special something to draw customers in.
Although gamification has mostly been adapted to the internet platform, it can still be incorporated into your everyday life without the use of the internet. Last night I was talking to my brother on the phone. He was hassling me that I need to exercise more and I was hassling him that he needs to call mum more. These are both things we should do and want to do, but lack motivation for. So I suggested we gamify it through a friendly competition of points scoring.
Why not gamify something boring or mundane, something you struggle to do, or even something that is fun but could become ten times more fun through the simple application of a few game principles.
So go on, get gamified!
Kim, B 2015, ‘The popularity of gamification in the mobile and social era’, Library Technology Reports, vol. 51, no. 2, pp. 5-9.