Games, Anyone?


Although I’ve been quiet online, I’ve been extremely busy in the real world. (Real world? Weird, right?)

And some of what I’ve been busy doing has been SO COOL! Most recently, I’ve embarked on a free online course (a MOOC, or massive online open course) through Coursera all about Gamification. It’s a topic that’s fascinated me ever since I discovered Jane McGonigal’s SuperBetter game (which I blogged about here, a year and a half ago). Somewhere in the near-ish future, I plan to share some of my thoughts about how gamification can help writers market their books and build their platforms, but for now, I want to share with you what gamification is.

According to Kevin Werbach, author of For the Win instructor of the Coursera gamification course, gamification is “the use of game elements and game design techniques in non-game contexts.” However, I think the best way to understand the concept is by checking out some examples (from the Volkswagon Fun Theory initiative):

Goal: Reduce speeding without stationing police on every corner
Solution: Speed Camera Lottery

Goal: Encourage the healthy habit of taking stairs rather than the escalator
Solution: Create stairs so fun, more people will take them

Goal: Get people to put trash in the garbage can
Solution: The world’s deepest bin

SuperBetter LogoThe SuperBetter website helps you create a personalized game to aid recovery from an illness or trauma. The social app FourSquare–an application that really only works if lots of people participate–gamifies “check-ins”, restaurant reviews, and other desired behaviors to increase players’ engagement.

I could go on with the examples, but I’ll save that for another post :). Instead, I’ll leave you with two must-see talks from Jane McGonigal about why games matter and how they can change the world.

The game that can give you 10 extra years of life:

Gaming can make a better world


I’m writing this blog post in the shade of a Ponderosa Pine, on the Upper Bluestem trail in the City of Boulder’s Mountain Parks. I can hear half a dozen different kinds of birds whistling, twittering, warbling, screeching, and cawing–all to the musical background of one very happy poodle’s panting. Insects buzz and the air […]


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