Highlights of the gamification panel at Techweek Chicago
I was thrilled to be on a panel yesterday afternoon discussing gamification alongside Nathan Verrill, Birju Shah and Abby Ross. The talk went swimmingly, thanks in large part to a terrific audience armed with thought-provoking questions. The entire session was captured on video for those that missed the event or live stream.
Some of the key takeaways included:
- “Gamification” is a buzzword, but within its definition there are useful and powerful design mechanics we’d be foolish to ignore.
- The best examples of “applied gaming” (Nathan’s phrase) are those that help a user accomplish something he or she would or should want to do anyway.
- Introduce social aspects at a player’s “moment of triumph” rather than randomly, generally or incessantly.
- It’s important to establish the scope of what game mechanics can accomplish for a given project. If your project involves cars, don’t try building a branded competitor to Forza or Gran Turismo.
- Figure out what motivates your players. Try asking them!
- Practice makes perfect. The more games/apps/websites/etc. you make, the better you’ll become.
I’m sure there are other gems hidden in the video, but those are what stuck out for me. If I missed anything particularly important, please let me know in the comments.
Some links to things I mentioned during my responses:
- Soap Shish, a playful soap stand for schools in developing countries.
- The Typing of the Dead, an educational game by SEGA that’s basically Mavis Beacon meets zombies.
- Indie Game: The Movie, which I’ve talked about before.
- Other Techweek talks by Emerson Spartz (starts around the 22-minute mark) and Jason Fried.