My life is one big game

2012-09-20 10:20

Gamification is a big buzzword at the moment. Well, for people who work in digital content and marketing.

For everyone else, it’s not even a real word. (Yet. We geeks got “the interwebs” to go mainstream; don’t underestimate our ability to sully the language.)

For those of you still dubious, the word is intended to mean “making a game out of interacting with products or content”.

It’s like an entire industry’s response to Farmville: “People fall for that s**t? And they waste hours on the most brainless activity, simply to progress up levels and look shiny to their friends? We are so in.”

Hence the badges of HuffPost and the plethora of branded make-up games on Facebook, and the stars/points/samples you earn for playing nicely with big business.

While I sound cynical, I actually love gamification.

Hell, if brands want to get my attention, I appreciate that they are trying to make it a little bit fun, or even rewarding for me.

Sure, it’s a little condescending… but the brand/consumer relationship is rarely anything else, right?

But while digital editors like me are trying to get you to buy the zingy newness of gamification, parents across the globe know that the practice is, in fact, thousands of years old … possibly dating back to the first cavemom who introduced the game of Lie As Still As You Can in an effort to get a two-minute break from her rug rats.

My family is highly dependent on the gamification of household routine.

For more than a decade now, we have a weekly Pizza Party Night. (It’s on Wednesday, and comes with its own dance, somewhat reminiscent of Captain Underpants’ Toilet Top Tango.)

We have a weekly Walk the Dogs Night, where you can win extra points for including ball games.

We can also declare a Spend All Day in Your Jammies Sunday or Classic Movie Marathon Weekend, as well as my personal favourite, Sleep in Your Undies Night.

Obviously we also have levels of expertise in our house gaming.

A Level 2 Pizza Party Night is when extended family join us, a Level 3 night is when we entertain Special Guest Stars, otherwise known as friends.

It all really boils down to one idea: enthusiasm makes everything – from work to fun – more exciting.

Here’s to enthusiasm and the activity it has encouraged across all bits of life.

» Follow Sam on Twitter as @SamWilson1. Her blog, which houses other columns, is enthusiastically named iwrotethisforme.com.


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