Saturday, October 01, 2011

specious application of game mechanics...,

TechnologyReview | The world is in the midst of a gamification revolution—a mad dash to incorporate points, levels, and achievement badges into nearly every online and mobile experience. According to the hype, these "game mechanics" are a magic potion that can motivate anyone to do anything—purchase brand-name clothing, publicly share location information, or adopt healthy behaviors. Yet like many Internet revolutions, this one is tinged with irrational exuberance. Truly understanding what game mechanics can do requires significantly more nuance.

The intuitive idea is simple and appealing. Games are engaging, so making anything more gamelike should make it more engaging too. The scientific justification seems equally straightforward. Game mechanics invoke reinforcement learning; like B. F. Skinner's rats, we are repeatedly rewarded to produce the desired behavior.

Although behaviorist psychology is sound science, however, it is insufficient to justify gamification. Skinner's rats pressed a lever to get a morsel of food, and there is little debate about whether that constituted a reward. For human beings, what counts as a reward is much less clear. Points, levels, or badges are not inherently rewarding. The reward, when there is one, comes from underlying psychological phenomena such as social status, reputation, and group identification. Very little quality research has been done to show how game mechanics invoke these phenomena, and what the effects may be when they do.

When we look at game mechanics this way, it also becomes clear that they are unlikely to affect everyone in the same way. Some people actively seek status in the eyes of others, for example; other people are actually status-averse. Offering one-size-fits-all rewards may motivate certain people while putting others off. We need to understand more about the types of people who are motivated by specific gamelike rewards.

Another risk is that the extrinsic motivations supplied by game dynamics could crowd out motivations that are intrinsic to an activity. The most active Wikipedia editors, for example, are motivated by a shared investment in activities, interests, and beliefs that form a genuine connection among community members. The same is true in many online systems. Game dynamics, on the other hand, offer rewards that can be comparatively superficial and short-term. We know little about how gamification can undermine or support deeper, long-term motivation.


nanakwame said...

One factor is the relationship to human. And in the long term was does it do if you longer carry out such as: walk in the sensuous park, a laughter at foolishness w/o the meanness. We had to tell a mother to take away a game from a big 16 year boy who refuses to finish school. Deep shit!
If you want to teach game as a life, then teach early as creative competition, and understanding inbred faults. No we have created our own Frankenstein, in the objective motion of energy and machine.
Yet just to show the animal bit simulators, is that  a woman must be beheaded at the end of victory. I remember once a feminist group put this film out about rapes in a dystopia setting. And of course the protagonist was a Black woman.
It appears Guerrilla theater is back on Wall St. hmmmm

nanakwame said...

my bag - what does it do, if you no longer carry out such as:

CNu said...

properly understood and applied, gamification of psychological development is one of the primary applications of authentic and sober "religious" ritual and observation. this of course means that the deluded dumbasses doing something different with ritual are as wrong and as backward as the pretenders being outed by this author for their specious gamification of consumption.

there's no contest involved with believing things you don't understand or consuming things you don't need...., 

Ed Dunn said...

To your point CNu, gaming is nothing more than using the same social science used in religion, workplace and educational system.

You give out little plagues for the corporate worker to display in their cubicle - isn't that the same as a virtual badge?

You give people who donate $10,000 or more to a campaign a name like "Power Donor" - isn't that the same as a virtual title?

You allow people to wear certain outfits at the mega church to be seen as an elder - isn't that the same as customizing your avatar?

-So the question is life imitating art or is art imitating life?

CNu said...


it's a camoflaged turd being passed of as (imitating) a cake.

Gaming is playing. Play is something that you want to do in competition with others and in competition with yourself, period.

All-a-dat other shyte you outlined above is some old rank, stank, and dank doo-doo that somebody else wants you to do - and - they're trying to motivate you to go along with it by borrowing elements of play/gaming. i.e., they're putting frosting on a turd and passing it off to you as cake.

My little boy busy this very moment organizing all his little cronies in eager anticipation of this afternoon's airsoft wars, meanwhile tracking the pending arrival of a sniper rifle from,

CNu said...

To which I must proudly add, the sniper rifle he bought with his own little hard-earned loot from his own little self-made dog-walking and grass cutting hustles. You'll like this Ed, he sized up a social network angle, i.e., families with children too young to walk the dogs and mow the lawn and then stepped in as the older-bigger-known responsible boy - signing them up for flat rate, year round monthly fees to put in the work.

Ed Dunn said...

 Isn't the real-world examples I brought up a form of competition? Just like the "gamemaster" or "dungeonmaster" who create the 21st century version role-playing Gary Gygax style of badges, titles and avatars into the social networks, aren't the real world counterparts of the business world, the religious world and political arena "game masters" who socially manipulate their followers into the same dynamics?

The good thing about airsoft is it can help in terms of strategy and communication and being on part of a team. Airsoft sniping is tough only because if you hit someone, they may not realize it. But if you hit them with a stream of automatic bbs, they will definitely know they been hit.  It's also great to know the little one knows how to sign people up to a subscription plan and even how to cap his subscriber limit to his revenue and profit margin.

nanakwame said...

One must remember the male stories as a child; they came back weaker with Harry Potter, for I don't know how much science was in those stories. Except we can now go invisible on the battle ground.
The one factor developed by the consumer video is that it proves the building of intelligence within your hand/eye/mind configuration. Where a black child won an award for developing the use in surgery. And as we know by the system of the drone, it has been become a machine.
The Wifi games for us elders make good sense, for your body works against a physical simulation, when boys at 11 to 13 can't run, do push-ups, and dream they are adventuresome in dark settings, then they are just plants, in need of too much watering and food.

CNu said...


Of course they're "competitions", but my reasoning for disqualifying them as instances of g amification, is because they're no fun and they embody no elements of play. You remove the fun/play aspect of competition, you remove the deep instinctual motivation - like taking the orgasm out of sex. That old crusty status-seeking mess isn't any fun.

As for the other, I'm real good with the airsoft and had no qualms about his playing. Bought him a pistol long before he got his mother's approval and helped him keep it on the creep tip and supplied him with pellets too. Turnabout happened over the summer, however. His mother got him an X-box with Call of Duty Black Ops. We had an "aw hell no" moment at the dinner table and I absolutely forbade the presence or use of that crack pipe in my house.
Lil'man came back to me the following week with a negotiation, straight A's on his grade card if he could play with the X-box. My counter, not only straight A's, but for every B you lose an hour of entertainment time daily, heaven forbid a C, you lose two, come with anything less than straight A's, you'll find yourself in your room by 7:00pm with nothing but books to keep you company.

Long story short, he's still playing tennis, he's off to airsoft war that he organized this morning, and we won't see him till much later today, he's playing the x-box, headset on and talking and interacting with his cronies on missions in real time, he's pulling down straight A's, and he's got his little hustle up and running. I think a lot of his current high level of motivation and performance has to do with the pleasure he derives from gaming, and the gamification of all his motivational structures around making time and having resources TO game.

The unintended consequence of  broad gamification of his motivational structure is that he's attained elevated status among his peers cause he's seen to be running things. He's running things so he can maximize his fun/play time.

Big Don said...

Don't forget   "Line 21 - Other Income..."

Big Don said...

Uh..."certain communities" have a sufficiently large problem already with folks shooting guns at each other without any adult encouragement to go forth and do more of  it.  Even mere shoot-'em-up VideoGames have been shown by psychologists to promote such lethal activities among the impressionable.  A climate of "acceptance" is fostered...

CNu said...


The trick would be to pimp you out for Other Income. Sadly, I haven't yet figured out exactly how to monetize your poster-child antics...,