, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

My boyfriend linked me this article and it got me thinking.

Harper government examines game-playing to motivate bureaucrats

I’ve heard of gamification before. I’ve personally used it before. The idea is that if training/schooling or even work itself is turned into a game, people will learn faster and work harder. Studies are showing that gamification works. People learn more in a shorter period of time versus standard classroom-style training.

It also ties into this TED Talk: The game that can give you 10 extra years of life by Jane McGonigal. (It’s worth a watch.)

Games are fun. They reduce stress and give us feelings of accomplishment. They often engage us with other people. Personally, I think the concept of gamification is brilliant.

But is there a dark side? Come on, people, you gotta know I’ll find some dire warning about a bleak (apocalyptic?) future should this go to extremes. Plus, I gave it away in the title.

I remember playing a MMORPG when I was younger and still lived at home. As a low-level character, there was little to kill for experience besides barnyard animals. So there I was, hacking away at a cow when my dad walked in the room. He may have freaked out. He may have compared the video game to how evil regimes (he may have referenced Nazis) brainwashed their soldiers with computer simulations (etc) to desensitize them into killing enemy combatants. He may have forbidden me from ever touching that game ever again. (I now don’t even remember what game it was.) Now, these reactions may have been a little extreme, but there’s also a valid point in there.


My hapless victim.

I personally prefer it when people are straight with me. I don’t like it when people beat around the bush or say and do things with ulterior motives. So I do have reservations about gamification on a corporate and/or government level.

What’s to stop them from candy-coating propaganda, pushing their “training” into something more like brainwashing? People will swallow a candy-coated pill much more easily than a bitter one, after all.

we want you propaganda

Now, I do hope to see gamification used more across the board, but I hope people are aware of the dangers. Along with gamification, we need to push critical thinking, open-mindedness, and caution.

What do you think, readers? Is gamification more beneficial or dangerous? Would you like to see more of it?