Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Gamification to Lamification in Less Than 150 Words

Although the gamification trend at this particular historical moment is unstoppable, it's so problematic in so many horribly obvious ways that we need more writers like Oliver Burkeman willing to dismantle the flimsy logic behind treating life like Pacman. Better yet, he does it in less than 150 words:
The current public face of gamification is Jane McGonigal, author of the new book Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better And How They Can Change The World, but many of her prescriptions are cringe-inducing: they seem to involve redefining aid projects in Africa as "superhero missions", or telling hospital patients to think of their recovery from illness as a "multiplayer game". Hearing how McGonigal speeded her recovery from a serious head injury by inventing a "superhero-themed game" called SuperBetter, based on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, in which her family and friends were players helping her back to health, I'm apparently supposed to feel inspired. Instead I feel embarrassed and a little sad: if I'm ever in that situation, I hope I won't need to invent a game to persuade my family to care.
 (Guardian link).