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Just Press Play #gls7

June 16, 2011

The term “gamification” refers to using elements of game mechanics in a non-game setting in order to make something more engaging or desirable. Some folks object and label this practice a sell-out, but game designers have taken lots of ideas from diverse fields, so why should there be a problem returning the favor?

A number of groups have developed “achievement systems” that reward users’ actions with badges, points, or other incentives. The iPhone app Epic Win turns a to do list into a game. The goals of SFZero include exploring San Francisco, meeting new people, and participating in non-consumer leisure activities.

At Rochester Institute of Technology (in my home town!) designers are busy creating Just Press Play, a game designed to reshape the student experience. They intend to frame student progress toward graduation and employment as a mythical hero’s journey, weaving their game through real and virtual spaces. The RIT achievement system will help students in the School of Interactive Games and Media navigate intellectual, social, and developmental challenges, playing out in classrooms and dining rooms, on websites, off campus, and more. This project has received funding from Microsoft Research; read more at Unified Game Layer For Education.

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