Well, the trilogy is complete after years… With gamification itself, at least for me.
This last chapter is a halt for me, I halt at the term and concept “Gamification” there are several reasons for that and I’d like so much to give details. Let me tell you within a story:
5 years ago, when I got keen on gamification and started its course on Coursera (Kevin Werbach is setting the standards I believe with his curriculum) I found out a gamification project, the main topic of which was… recruitment. A process derived from gamification curriculum, only it was not a gamified recruitment, something different. These days, one of my close friends, Alper, gave me an advice to immediately publish a book on Gamification. For some time, I published blogs, assigned myself to several Linkedin groups and got in touch with the masters of this concept. One of them even invited me for a cup of coffee and from my new home Bursa one weekend; I came back to Istanbul just to enjoy a cup of coffee. Niels Van der Linden he was! We spoke a little; we found out that we had mutual connections, so on. Then, well, still the hope to launch the project.
For the Gamification book, even though I still have a cool plan, I prefer to stop waving the flag and hand it out to Alper Berber. Well?? Not a multi-character situation, with a great coincidence, I have a name-double that is one of the numerous Gamification experts in Turkey; also; as far as I am concerned, in the world. I am curious if Niels found me back then while trying to get in contact with Alper. However, I am urged to stress this fact as there is a book of Alper published lately and I want to promote it by denying ownership since confusions can happen for the reasons I explained above.
Well, let’s talk about other reasons to halt gamification for me.
I am disturbed about images and shadows; about pretenders, look-alikes. While reality is not that complicated, pretending has various levels. For now, let’s take anything you see on social media pages. Are the images, the feelings real? Or do they pretend to be so? This is a relation that I see between games and gamification. Gamification is something that feels like a game, looks like a game, works like a game; only alike. Gamification is a pretender term because it is not a game. In fact, it may be used as a tool to hide bad intentions or second thoughts. In addition, it can never be something that I’d like to do as a job, working to form something that looks like a game but can be anything else.
In fact, what I explain contains a part of gamification ethics and characteristics. However, the concept becomes the concept that is the sum of people’s perception and all of the operated processes, not the idealized concept. In addition, a gathered series of actions can either be a game or not a game. If it loses the characteristics of being a game, then it is not a game. So having some similarities with a game makes it something else. I like to design a series of actions as a game and I never want to lose this. In my opinion, an ungameable act will never be perceived as a game. So working on it does not make that much sense while being aware is an asset.
Personally, I see that gamification has not become the concept that I’ve ever dreamt to be. The real reason behind this is the structure of organizations and job processes. Most of them are either non-existent or not consistent. But the main thing we know about games is that they are just and systemic. Rules are exact and not open to intrepretation. To make any system or a part of it game-like; input-output ratios should be balanced, action-reaction must be a match. Human nature is hardly that way but I am not trying to gamify life here, only a small part. A part which can be played voluntarily. but I hardly believe that you may find a distribution of player types (mentioning Bartle player types here) similar to the distribution in a, let’s say, game server. A reasonable set of rules in the world full of Killer type? Needs researching but not persuasive for me.
This is my path and choices and I believe this will ever prove anything about gamification and anything that goes around it. I really respect every example that eases people’s lives without any concern but people’s having fun and/or being motivated from it. Only, as a personal choice, as an individual that cannot help thinking constantly about enhancing a system that he lives in, gamification is not the exact thing I must be doing. Serious gaming, maybe. Processes and data, probably. Data and human, exactly. And so it ends.. No, it has just begun.