Add Gaming Elements to your Apps
Gaming is big now - especially mobile gaming. Let's strive to add gaming elements to our 'boring' applications.
Gaming and Real Life
Jane McGonigal did a TED Talk on how gaming can make a better world. It was an exuberant and inspiring presentation. Here's the link to the video.
I liked her ideas about leveling up and +1 strength. Those concepts which are a part of the virtual world but not a part of the real world can make virtual life more rewarding than real life - at least more immediately rewarding.
This is why there is an exodus of people to these virtual worlds like World of Warcraft. 3 billion hours a week is spent playing online games.
Jane sees opportunity in this and I do too. In fact, she says we should be playing even more games. We just need to make games applicable to real life.
I think we as web developers can do this by bringing more gaming elements to the applications we can create.
The iPhone application EpicWin does a nice job of this as a todo task I think. I've used EpicWin for a few months now and like it much better than even Things. This 1 minute trailer for EpicWin sums it up better than I can in words.
I get more done with EpicWin. Its gaming mechanism of earning experience points and leveling up has motivated me to get much more done - exercise consistently to build strength, self-educate myself on a daily basis to increase intellect, and even take more time out with friends to increase my social score.
My Attempt at Adding Gaming Elements
I've only just begun adding gaming elements to my application designs. My first attempt is MotoPermit.
It is a study application for the motorcycle permit test. I launched it by making it "look" like a game. This was a cop-out for the real thing. Apps that integrate gaming elements do not need to 'look' like a game, they need to function more like one.
So after launching the app I set to work on version 1.1 - which would add gaming elements. I've since added a basic experience point and profile mechanism. Each correctly answered question is worth 50 experience points. After you accumulate 1500 experience points, you level up. Reach level 5 and you are ready to take your motorcycle permit test.
I've found myself using the app much more in order to more quickly reach level 5. And I am confident that once I do reach level 5 I will be ready to take the permit test and pass it my first time. It's done it's purpose to help me study better and I think it will do the same for others.
So try to start adding gaming elements to your applications. You will find them more effective. And over time maybe we truly can step towards making the world better through gaming.
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