Last weekend, buried and long forgotten at the back of a very dusty drawer, I found a piece of my design history. A collection of sketches from my first job, including the sketches from the first project I ever worked on. I'm not sure how they've managed to survive this long (10 years seems like a long time for an ultimately highly disposable stack of layout paper) but looking through them I was struck by how much the way I work has changed since my first job. Every project still starts off with pen and paper, but there the similarity almost stops.
Whatever people say it is, gameification isn't about games.
Mind you, enough people are saying it's not about games already. So I'll tell you what gameification is about, and it's called community building.
Amy Jo Kim wrote Community Building on the Web a good few years ago. Enough time has passed for those lessons to have been incorporated into a lot of the more successful websites of the last boom, and clearly enough time has passed for those lessons to have been forgotten.
Now that everyone is on Twitter and Facebook, we've forgotten how to build communities on our own. We've out-sourced authentication to anyone with a big enough social graph, and in doing so most websites now import your friends into their service, losing the knowledge of why people visit and why they tell their friends.
At the Nesta Serious Games conference the other morning, Anjali and I listened to Mary Matthews from Blitz Games and Alex Fleetwood from Hide & Seek discuss the application of games that make a difference. Her post, The business of games is an excellent read that covers pretty much everything that happened, so here's my take on the idea of serious games and the rising requirement for everything to be playfully interactive.
Philippe Le Hegaret, an official with the World Wide Web Consortiumn (W3C) responsible for SVG and HTML specifications, has told InfoWorld:
The problem we’re facing right now is there is already a lot of excitement for HTML 5, but it’s a little too early to deploy it because we’re running into interoperability issues
Apparently the crux of the issue is getting HTML 5 to behave the same in different browsers and using different video devices. Now forgive me if I’m wrong but hasn’t that always been the case with HTML?! He goes on to say that the HTML 5 specification may not be "feature-complete" until mid 2011.
This morning, Duncan and I went to ‘Serious Games’, a talk at NESTA about how games can create lasting change in fields such as education and collaborative problem solving. Mary Matthews from Blitz Games and Alex Fleetwood from Hide & Seek presented their views on the subject (in short, Mary’s central thesis was that all games should have a purpose, and that they should be part of a larger plan in order to create impact, and Alex spoke about the increasing prevalence of pointsification and badgification as distinct from the much-discussed concept of gamification; more about that on the Hide & Seek blog here).
The NESTA site already has an excellent collection of resources that were mentioned or discussed at the event, for those who are interested, so I’m not going to re-cap the event per se. I’d like to focus instead on a few key things that I got to thinking about afterwards: