Gamification was a term that left a bad taste in my mouth. I’ve played video games for years and my Steam account is a great way to showcase how many days I’ve spent in some virtual world fighting dragons or trying to survive in a dystopian, post-apocalyptic wasteland collecting bottle caps. But using gaming as a way to enhance day to day activities? I just didn’t see the point of it. I was sold on the idea that if you’re going to play a video game, play an actual video game, with guns and… stuff.
But I’ve grown since then; it’s funny, I only ever played video games casually but I still had some weird sense of superiority over people who only just started playing video games.
So what is gamification? I’m going to conceptualise it like this:
Taking video game constructs and applying them to different aspects of life to augment the user’s experience.
I know what you’re thinking, “What kind of second-hand thesaurus did you pick up to come up with that sentence?” and it’s a good question, but just go with it. So in saying “video game constructs” we’re talking about concepts like experience points, levels, unlockable content, easter eggs, races, classes, role playing, teamwork, puzzle solving and sometimes, evening staying up until dawn to reach that achievement you’ve been after for a week.
So in asking myself what the best applications of Gamification are, I took to Twitter to Run a quick Survey:
— Ben Mahoney (@MarneyWasTaken) December 17, 2016
The Twitter Poll hasn’t timed out yet so I may come back and edit this later, but so far Health and Exercise is coming out on top. Imagine this: You’re at the gym and you finish your final set, you go to your phone and open your Workout-Quest application where you record your final set for the day – ding – you level up and unlock a new workout routine. How sweet! Not only that, you’re now the highest level at your local gym. Feels good right? Well, that’s just a taste of gamification in action. Earning experience to earn levels to earn prestige to earn – in essence, what all gamers go out to earn – bragging rights.
But just hold on, gamification isn’t just about being the best, though, it’s about exploration, about tracking progress and about making fun out of day-to-day activities, replicating what we love about games and bring what we love and applying it to real life. I’ve experimented with a couple of applications: Blackbox, Habitica, Smiling-mind and Luminosity. I’ve also just recently discovered Swarm, an app I knew connected to Instagram but always thought was some kind of environmental conservation app. Go figure, right? I highly recommend you check these applications out.
Gamification isn’t for everyone, I’ve tried working it into my task management but I still find it easier to cross lists off as I go with a pen; I’ve tried studying and growing a forest at the same time but always end up letting it die, and I haven’t started my Gym journey yet but I do think it’ll be the next thing I do.
So what will you do? If you could gamify something in your life what would I be?
I mean, we can already walk the streets catching Pokemon, it can’t get any better, can it?