This is a guest post written by the undergraduate student Samantha Stahlke of the HCI Games Group. It has appeared on Medium and on the group’s homepage before. We encourage the discussion on Medium.
As a first-year wading (well, cliff-diving, really) into the depths of academic research reports last fall, I was struck with what you might call “jargon fatigue.” Though I was no stranger to general scientific reading, upon broaching the field of game research, I was quickly overwhelmed by a veritable tsunami of seemingly obscure terms related to the research fields surrounding statistics, sociology, and design theory.
Clinging to nothing but a thesaurus and a handful of Wikipedia links, I pulled through, and now proudly report that I understand what a MANOVA is, even if in the most simplistic and inevitably misinformed of ways. One word, despite its status as a seemingly obvious portmanteau, remained somewhat of a cryptic mystery in its meaning: gamification.
Ask any academic what the term “gamification” means and they will no doubt provide you with an informative cascade of phrases related to system design, repurposed game mechanics, “tangible progression,” motivation, and task management. However, like verbose snowflakes, no two answers will be the same. In fact, a number of papers regarding gamification have been written for the sole purpose of defining the term (including one co-authored by our group director). Continue reading
Or at least, that’s what our study at Aarhus University found. Something had been bothering me for a while about gamification – both as a game scientist and as a psychologist trained in evidence based practice. All this talk of gamification involves a lot of hype and claims about game elements like badges, levels and achievements, but pundits never bother to dissociate the effects of each such mechanic. Would it make a difference if we removed, say, the leaderboards? What if we took all the game rules out? What if visually and verbally presenting something as a game is just as important as the game mechanics? Continue reading
Registration for the Gamification 2013 conference opens today, June 6. People interested in presenting can submit their papers for participation (see full CfP below), including research projects, gamification successes and failures, unanswered question about gamification, gamification metrics and processes, and methods of gamification commercialization. Continue reading
A Review of “Gamification by Design”
Gabe Zichermann and Christopher Cunningham: Gamification by Design. Implementing Game Mechanics in Web and Mobile Apps. O’Reilly, Sebastopol 2011, 169+xix pages.
In the course of but one year, “gamification”, the use of game design elements in non-game contexts, has managed to grow from a self-description used by some vendors and proponents to a placement on the Gartner hype cycle – and in the IT business, it doesn’t get much more ‘official’ than that. Yet the term still stirs hot debate. On one side, game designers and scholars despise the whole notion as an “inadvertent con” (Margaret Robertson). On the other, proponents counter that gamification already ‘delivers’ (in terms of numbers), yet is still in its infancy. Hence it would be premature to call foul on something so young, with no time to learn from failure and sort wheat from chaff. So who’s right, who’s wrong?
For one answer to this question, let’s have a look at the new book by Gabe Zichermann, Gamification by Design. Zichermann is one of the most public gamification proponents today, and chair of the Gamification Summit, now in its second iteration this September 15-16 in New York, where the book will be officially launched. Continue reading
This has been long overdue, but here they are: The collected slides (and some photos) of the Gamification Workshop at CHI in Vancouver on May 7, 2011. Videos and more to follow. Enjoy! Continue reading