The subject of “gameification” has really taken off over the last year. I think Extra Credits really kicked off the discussion. They didn’t invent the term, but it does seem like they brought it to the masses. We’re now several spins through the whole cycle of evangelism » backlash » counter-backlash » re-framing the discussion. At PAX East this year there was even a panel titled, “If I Hear the Term ‘Gamification’ One More Time I’m Going To Scream”.
But until now the criticism has mostly fallen into one of two categories:
- Shallow, snarky dismissal, like when people complain about the movie Avatar not because they’ve seen it, but because they’re straight-up sick of hearing about it. Hype backlash, basically.
- Academic critiques that don’t reach very far beyond academic circles.
I think Errant Signal is the first place I’ve seen the more academic and informed view packaged up for mass consumption:
I’ll be the first to admit that gameification is not a new subject. In fact, according to my own definition school grades are basically a technique to game-ify learning, and I have not been kind to those ideas in the past. In fact, the whole “intrinsic / extrinsic” motivation he talks about at the end is a perfect description of why I never cared about grades or school and held the whole thing in such contempt.
Despite this, I wanted to take issue with the idea of gamification being bad. Or at least, it’s probably an improvement on what marketing has given us in the past. So that’s what my column is about this week.
Due to a misunderstanding it’s running on Tuesday instead of Friday, but there it is.
MMO Population Problems
Computers keep getting more powerful. So why do the population caps for massively multiplayer games stay about the same?
Best. Plot Twist. Ever.
Few people remember BioWare's Jade Empire, but it had a unique setting and a really well-executed plot twist.
Secret of Good Secrets
Sometimes in-game secrets are fun and sometimes they're lame. Here's why.
Grand Theft Railroad
Grand Theft Auto is a lousy, cheating jerk of a game.
Revisiting a Dead Engine
I wanted to take the file format of a late 90s shooter and read it in modern-day Unity. This is the result.