‘Serious games’ and
There are blogs, books, articles and summits being held discussing these new game-concepts. Inspirational people come together to hold inspirational talks while the world is listening. The sliding grip we have on these new words loosens as everyone listens in through their own framework and translates accordingly. A sales manager might hear the concept of adding points to sell more products. An educator might hear a way to get kids engaged in difficult topics, buying the time needed to grade papers. Is it prudent to have an open global discussion on what these words are and whether or not they are useful (whether or not they deliver on the promising lure) when they still hold a different meaning to everyone?
The words are out there and they are hot right now but what they mean exactly and what the difference is between them, if even there is one, is unclear. I think most of us are not sure what we mean when we play with these words and concepts.
To me there is not much difference between them. The words/concepts are all about the structure that holds play (a game) and how we happily go through certain processes when we are comfortably held playing. We engage, we repeat, we overcome. Moreover, we do this in ways that we might not do outside of the play structure.
Thankfully, the world has listened to the almost magical message on the power of gaming. Now that we are finding more and more applications, not all of them sprout from the same intentions and not all of them will be equally successful.
Do not be disappointed by those who misuse or misunderstand. From several points of perspective people and organizations are filling the game-frame with whatever they consider good content and tag it as how they wish it to be used. Many of us are ‘fooled’ by the gamification-hype, whether being a critic or a follower. As gullible as the masses may be, individually we are hard to manipulate. We all recognize good game and perhaps even faster we recognize when the game-frame has been stuffed with something that doesn’t belong there. At this point the gaming ends and all our ‘normal’ media-suspicions arise.
Whatever you tag it, when gaming is involved you are holding a potential great experience. I don’t believe in the power in gaming, to me that sounds like believing in Newton’s laws of motion.
This is not religion so please stop treating it as such. Do not believe the hype, instead acknowledge the truth behind it.
Gaming as a framework has been uncovered and is not going away. When you wish to apply your content to this framework please find someone who is not a ‘gamification-believer’ but a critical researcher (or Do the Damn Research). If you have the time please visit this wonderful list of a hundred papers selected by McGonigal et. al. and/or read this one chapter by Haring et. al. on the psychology behind (serious) gaming.
I will be waiting for your call ;-)
as a bonus tickle Merriam-Webster’s definition of Gameness
*cheerful readiness to do something*
Synonyms amenability, gameness, goodwill, obligingness,willingness
Related Words celerity, quickness, rapidity, speed,speediness, swiftness; dispatch, promptitude, promptness;ardor, avidity, eagerness, enthusiasm, exuberance, fervor,gusto, keenness, relish, zeal, zest; agreeableness, geniality,good-naturedness, heartiness, warmth; open-mindedness,receptiveness, receptivity, responsiveness
and to level up; another interesting blog on the hype of Gamification