• 29Ara

    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.

  • 19Nis

    My past notes about gamification was telling things but not visually. This time, I made something for myself only and this seems perfectly-gamified!

    I hate to work on crowded desktops. I feel very uncomfortable, but during times that I decide to clean up the mess, the result was well… A desktop that only has some shortcuts. Ok, so? And I like to change background pictures. While a slideshow of concept cars are cool, I wanted to change it. I thought that if I see a view that reminds me some moments that I forget my whole lifespan, I may feel more cheerful. and this definitely would be a PC game that I like to play a lot. Then I thought about icon adventures because they are the games which I focus on the cursor as much as I focus during work. They are games that are definitely beneficial for me to actually learn something. So I looked for a photo of Guybrush Threepwood wandering around, the guy as whom I love to act in an icon adventure. Well, in fact, there used to be Full Throttle, Grimfandango but Guybrush is a guy that makes you laugh so much.

    So next step was more certain. Why should I see Excel-Word-folder icons on Monkey Island for God’s sake? Won’t this be a desire to escape from work? As a PC user that experienced Windows 95, I am very fond of ico extension. And how different the shortcuts I had could act than a Monkey Islan menu? Well, not much, obviously. My Computer is Settings, my report interface is Examine. I have a folder that I keep any file that occupies me, so this is an inventory of files which can interact with other files, which changes a work result. What’s left; I like to see my projects and to do list. So I thought this could be similar to WoW concept; to do list is missions, projects are long termed missions, can be called as quests. Finally I wanted to put reading archive closed, and this is a library similar to many games that opens an interface that either tells the progress or details about the game.

    So that is my gamified desktop. Next time I’ll probably try Need for Speed or Carmageddon interface, Heroes of Might and Magic or Age of Empires is another good one. By the way, since it doesn’t change the way I work in desktop, I feel quite well compared to the times that I have an ordinary desktop alignment. For full desktop users, I may suggest a concept of Candy Crush Saga or tetris but I cannot quite imagine how this would seem or affect user experience and efficiency.

  • 26May



    Partial memories of some terms have been flipping over my head for a long time, especially less than a year. This is nearly the time when I learnt the basics of gamification and started to see that there are paths to go rather than points, badges and leaderboards (PBLs). Of course, for creating a study process that will go for some years, I have chased the information that’ll help me define the term “gamification” from many perspectives. Now, I come to a Conclusion that this doesn’t help much. I have some reasons to think so:

    1) Gamification is an emerging and evolving concept.
    2) Chasing the terms prevents concentrating on practices.
    3) Concentrating on practices makes some approaches theorically useless. Using “useless” might be harsh, let’s define it as “less important”.

    I believe the numerous articles I’ve read about gamification’s not being a PBLs come out of this. Ok then, what expects us once we look from the outer side of the frame? We find fun there. We are urged to see motivated people, which drives us to the experience rather than editable templates. And experience can be identified only if you can compare it with other experiences. We can change details, even make changes such that the experience comes closer to perfection. And a perfect experience, with some alternatives to choose and instant feedback for the chosen alternatives with different outcomes makes that experience to be a “simulation”!

    Well, this is just driven-logic. But what I see in successful gamification models is that they serve you some tools with which you have fun. Also, they make the player live an experience and the experience itself is the key that is perceived to be fun.

    “Now, not again I’ll make a comparison with PBLs and simulated experiences, I’d rather move on and make a simulation. what I’ll do is that, I’ll Specify some objectives daily, weekly and monthly. Then, I will give points to these objectives and specify a limit for the lowest amount of points I need to collect everyday. Eventually, I’ll turn my daily life routine into World of Warcraft style Sims game. Ready?”

    Well, I actually tried this two years ago. This brought a new approach that made me to pay more attention to my daily routines, but…

    1) Writing down these routines and trying to do them felt like designing my daily life as a job rather than a game.

    2) Earning useless points did no effect on me. No, don’t say ” Give yourself presents when you take a high point.” Personal development stuff, anyone? Nonsense.

    3) It might have positive little effects, but that did not feel like having fun or playing a game.

    So, the experience failed. In some boring tasks like Searching manually among Excel cells and deleting specific kind of information, I can have fun because I do the “seek and destroy” task just like I have beers Playing Warcraft II. The feeling I get when using sychronised mouse and keyboard might be enough to perceive it as fun. So, this should be the objective as you invent and form games. I’ll tell more about the little gamified group meetings, this’ll probably be more supportive.

  • 31Oca


    It’s been months since I last wrote stuff about gamification. For months, I am stuck to write about games because while I was planning to use the blog to repeat and intrepret what I learn from sources I follow about gamification. Seeing every game and game element in daily life brought different approaches about games. In the end, I had a topic which would be a sociological approach to gaming, then Some events drove me to write about something simpler: Which / Whose game are you playing?

    I was a child that had limited number of toys. It was a great experience for me to go for a visit to friends of my parents because they were keys to reach new toying and gaming experiences. While it was sometimes sad to play with a toy that will “turn to a pumpkin” near midnight, having friends and playing addictive games with them meant a lot. But there were some children among them that I both liked and disliked to play. They had great toys but they were trying to put all the rules for playing. What I could do was accept those rules and try to beat the nasty child despite having great disadvantages to win. But the unfair rules did not end up here, some of these nasty children were manipulating the game during the playing or if you scored, for instance, they objected and refused your taking the point. Well, I don’t remember having a proud moment that I won despite all disadvantages.

    So that may come true in real life. You may be playing a game, you accept to play despite starting disadvantaged but you believe that the victory is greater because you don’t only beat the opponent but you also beat the game itself. And once you start playing, somebody intervenes and modify the rules such that it becomes impossible to win.

    How about afterwards? I started hearing abusive, disgracing, humiliating words about my game performance. It ended up with my being angry or with a fight. Worse than that, just guess who behaved less fair when both/either parents asked about what happened?

    I believe that we still live this circle on and on. As long as the rules of the game change to a direction that some people never win as some other people always win, what develops in such places are manipulators, not players. So, this makes a distinction with the idea given in the blog below:


    Mr. Streck pointed out that rulers come out of killers. While this is totally influential and a good approach, I must say that a detail is missing. You may state that a game exists if it has pre-defined rules. Manipulation of rules can be read as passion to score and win, but I think if the rules are spoiled and manipulative, then either you are not playing a game or you are playing a game that you are unaware of all the rules of it. Formally yes, you are playing a game but is a game fair if its rules work differently for different players? I believe not.

    This approach seems valid for serious games and gamification projects. While you design such projects, you will have a risk that the model you work on has conflict with the system you are trying to gamify or build a game on. You’ll lose focus if you try to modify your project to the situation because your project should stand on feet of rules while the system itself may be existent for “handling” things differently. Of course this is not a problem if your project is meant to exist only, but this leads us to a place where games and gamification projects lose side in the game of existence.

    Now tell me again: Which/Whose game are you playing?

    “Not at all,” said the general. “I never joke about hunting. I needed a new animal. I found one. So I bought this island built this house, and here I do my hunting. The island is perfect for my purposes–there are jungles with a maze of traits in them, hills, swamps–”
    from “the Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell

  • 02Ara


    Gamification is the use of elements of game design on non-game context. Hey, I know, definition suggestions have been multiplied so far, but let me get to my point. When game elements are the subject, the first concepts that probably come into minds are points, badges and leaderboards. Other than these, game-like screens, WoW concept menus; well; progress bars, so on. The second argument is mostly about that elements; which one is necessary, which one is not, which are more useful when combined. But we have probably missed one point and forgot to re-ask a question after gamification is reconsidered: What is a game element? My answer to this is simple: Smash the game into pieces and find out!

    Smashing comes from Smash Your Brand! concept of Dear Martin Lindstrom that I cited below. I want you to tear the pieces of your greatest gaming moments down. Remember the games that you play addictively, were you playing them because you earn badges or points? Because there’s a board of points showing you and your in-game-opponents? Probably not. Icon adventures and Sim series are not the games that I remember keeping any score. Levels can be accounted as badges but if you are an arcade player that likes to play short-termed play-like games, you know that it’s not always about these.

    Because you had fun? Mostly, but all the time? How about the times that you play because you feel urged to? Times when you have nothing to do better but try to pass the cursed level that you cannot pass in Candy Crush? Is that fair to name your furious times as ‘fun’? How many times have you tried repeatedly a level of Super Frog in which your Frog dies because you missed to press the jump button with miliseconds? Think about the games that you play the most. Have you been playing them because you had been having fun all the time or because you have had no other useful habits than playing Spider Solitaire?

    I think we should seperate formal elements, fun and engagement. Yep, people behave toward feelings, but people have not always had the instinct to have fun. You want to play the game because you like to feel angry but then very relaxed once you pass the level that you try hard to succeed. You may want to play it to pump some adrenaline through your veins by: Horror games, first-person car races or shooters. Even those can be classified as fun factors, I believe fun becomes a secondhand concept if habitual plays or engaging factors like feeling responsibility for playing the game as a series of events.

    So, I am not sure if this occurs to me a lot since I am an OB master (never the same, similar or anyhow related to Obi-Wan by the way) but I believe that searching any kind of significance in formal and visual elements for a game design only makes a good brain exercise, optimistically. What really matters is to discover what engages people to use a gamified design that reminds them of the glorious moments of playing their favorite games. If possible, have as much fun as using the tools to playing an addictive game. It might sound weird, but believe me it’s not. Search your feelings, you know it to be true. (That sounds kind of related to Obi-Wan, only indirectly.)

    In fact, I started to write for saying stuff about stories, heroism and gamification, but I think that’ll make another seperate blog post. This was also not supposed to be a father-son gathering, just let me use the Skywalkers and McClaines to end the post properly.


    Related Link(s)


  • 26Haz


    Humor Behavior Factor in Gamification. People volunteered to play? If not, why?

    I was thinking to keep up with a more different topic until I realised that I’m missing to tell the obvious after I read the critique below:


    Let’s take gamification from a customer-player perspective: What game shall I play? Well, my company gives me badges for my sale successes, I see my name in leader boards among my colleagues. So? Let’s check out how the site looks like, let’s see screenshots that multiple people connect and view their progress, shall we? No! The first answer we have to take for this question: Do you want to play this game?

    You all forgot one thing, a game is “Voluntarily overcoming obstacles when you don’t need to.” (Kevin Werbach Gamification Education on Coursera) You prepare the greatest game or best gamification application, it doesn’t work when no people volunteer to play it. Why can’t they volunteer? Simple, unless he/she has ever had a chance for fun-thinking about the job. This is like buying a website building service and expecting the programmer to create the content. Or more simply, putting a spoon of dried tea leaves into boiled water and expect to drink a tea by pouring down the boiled water to a glass immediately. Yes, you may advertise your game to people, people that haven’t tried your gamification platform may talk about it a lot and help the news spread around. Then what, we expected people to be more engaged and motivated. But when you started the project, the only unmeasured variable would probably be the change in motivation and engagement of people.

    So, sad and unfortunate as it’s unseen, human factor and behavioral approach seems mostly exiled in the Gamification Industry. Surely, it does not seem right to write this several times rather than present some information to support this thought. Let’s make one factor clear: A gamificafion tool is successful only if it’s used frequently.  I’ve recently come across an application called “The Game of Your Life” in Android platform. It actually has all tools to make my life noted as though it was a game.  But I can’t manage to keep up with using the program. Why, well because thing notes has nothing to do with gamification and it’s nearly useless to take notes via an application when I can do the same with a notebook and a pencil.
    On the other hand, a Turkish radio application, Jelli Radyo, allows the users to define the playlists of stations with a voting system just like MTV and other channels have used in concept programs. You open a radio channel, there’s a list waiting for you. You may like a song or dislike a song. While songs with more dislikes move downwards, songs with more likes move upwards. You also have “weaponry” to create stronger effects like immediately removing a song from the list or adding the song as the next song. I used weaponry to define it because you “rocket” a song to the top as you “blast” a song to the bottom. In this example, you may see an engaging effect relying on playing a simple game. If you keep up with the game, you get to listen more, you get to know more about songs with the genre of your choice and you listen to music.

    In fact, I was preparing about this application such that it would be the example of good gamification. However, the number of followers did probably not support this case as much as necessary, so Jelli application came to an end. So, while I had to change the plan of how I’d write this blog, Jelli still provides a proof of what I’m trying to tell. It’s a proof that gamification is not a solution to any kind of problems. It may not always be the ideal approach to go on with. Thinking on the perspective of music, as an old digital music professional, I have some estimations about what went on. First, people listen to music by focusing on any other activity. We lived a period of time where music sites tried to give full control to listeners. While this was interesting at the beginning, it became obvious later that people prefer to listen to prepared lists. When this property is mixed with social media, people started following the ists of specific people. But one thing they certainly did was that most of them preferred pre-ordered lists to manually preparing a list. Even radio-station-like applications, which had very strict limitations compared to full interactive listings, overran the other applications due to that factor, in my oppinion. So, Jelli was a very good experience for listeners, but in the end not a really succesful one for most people. Well, the base site of Jelli, Karnaval.com, still goes on as a popular music portal with more radio stations than before.

    So, it turns out that lack of voluntariness was not one of my personal weakness about persuasion of people to gamification, but it is a factor that shakes the concept of gamification and we are getting close to answering the question of “Is gamification really necessary?” I don’t personally believe that lack of motivation can be erased by a set of points, badges and leaderboards; so I believe that asking the question will carry us to a place where gamification will earn its true value.

  • 13Nis



    Retailing is the sector of all ages, for sure. Aside from any published reference, I might say that Kapalıçarşı in İstanbul is a historic shopping mall. Also seeing bazaars in many films showing earlier city images include various profiles that include various kinds of retailing. As long as someone needs to have an item that he /she cannot produce, it has to be traded. If the trade area includes demonstrated items, well, the rest is the process of retailing. Change the background from historic times to post-apocalyptic, even space-travelling times, the result will be the same.

    We have retailing forever. Now, we also know that retail is such a sector that uses every technical and social development. As it lives at all centuries, maybe a quality of the survivor, retailing has the ability to integrate. So why can’t retailing and gamificafion meet?

    Take Foursquare for example. Probably the most famous of gamified examples, Foursquare is a perfect tool to gather information about shopping. With the tools that are used so much and are so famous that they alone feel like a different methodology, the site is seperated from its rivals. The tools mentioned are badges, leaderboards and points.

    Aside from Foursquare, e-shops seem perfect platforms to develop gamification applications. So when gamification and retail are mentioned together, online shopping sites müdür follow. But are they following, actually?

    In Turkiye, gamification followed another path. We have mobile applications that are used to earn points which are traded into discounts and/or bonus products. Yuppi is the initiator; I remember there are duplicants but it’s better not tell more till I can refer to something significant. Yuppi is a mobile application running in Android and los platforms. As long as it is loaded to your mobile phone, whenever you pass near a store, Yuppi balon appears on your screen to pop. If you do so, you earn points. Additional points can be earned but you have to find out how after you enter the store. Well, stalking around, getting to the cashier’s and similar in-store actions add points to your account. When you earn enough points to get some bonus, you go and get it. Free movie tickets and free ice-cream cannot be that bad, is it? To earn them, they say, you just have to do what you always do: shopping!

    With smartphones, people google everything as soon as they want to. so it has become a natural habit for customers to compare or provide additional information about the product that they plan to buy. It is claimed that people that move to use smpartphones during shopping is 44%.  As the guys in Yuppie succesfully did, I claim that there are “gamifiable” paths to go in this area to provide customer engagement for brands. Speaking of engagement, how about employees?

    In Turkiye, many store managers and brands find it inappropriate for employees to carry phones. Indeed, not many customers may prefer to deal with a retail salesperson coping with anything other but themselves only. With many things, smartphones also make it easier to send messages, play irrelevant games and call buddies and giving promises and even making written pacts cannot reduce the misuse of phones to that minimum. So, why can’t we search for efficiency? Barcode scanner programs make it easy to locate products and report their barcode information via e-mail. Also web search can be made and product information could be seen in the web search. Also it must be admitted that especially in larger stores people can be reached easily by their mobile phones. The game in that? I know none, but there’s potential for sure, but if we don’t have smartphones then what?

    In my opinion, this refers to a problem which slows the development of gamification areas. Just like the points, badges and leaderboards (PBL) framework that I mentioned earlier, there is another gamification paradigm and it is about making gamification in programming only. Surely, when gamification is spoken, the elements are compared to video games which can only exist into machines and computer systems and their derivatives: consoles, smartphones, etc. But gaming should not only be about playing video games. There are traditional simple games that have elements like video games. Surely, not that complex but these might also be used to gamify a process; therefore creating engagement and motivation.

    Simple example, I am sure I cannot be the only person who throws a tissue into a dustbin as if I throw a basketball into a basket. In a market, as an employee, I play a game in which I try to detect inappropriate price tags and change them. With this explanation, it is a routine, not a game of course. Then I added a rule that I have to do these without any other employee noticing it. If I was noticed, then the game is over. A form of hide and seek into a market! Also a Metal Gear Solid variety with the concept of department store.

    I collected the inappropriates and change them with a correct one. I put them in my pocket until another colleague noticed me and asked what I was doing. Game Over! Then I put the collected items out, counted them and calculated my points.

    Of course, it should not be a “play” and we have to design it as a game. For instance, employees might be seperated into teams (in some stores, there are departments and this might also be used) and if a team catches others’ inappropriate price tag, that team earns points. While this may also turn out to be applying the PBL framework in the real world, I am suspicious that gamification of the daily routines that do not include any technological tool is a way that must be taken. And for retailing, aside from enriching the customer experience, gamification should be used to increase efficiency and break the ices of routines in the world of retail employees.



    İleri Görüş, May/June/July 2014, Harward Business Review Türkiye.

    Gamification Course of Prof. Kevin Werbach on Coursera.com.

  • 28Şub


    Long before I started preparing my dissertation, my consultant predicted that justice would be a very popular topic and should be researched over the years. And when the time came it was decided that one side of my dissertation will be about organizational justice. I was very happy about that I made a research including organizational justice (perception of justice) and its correlation with commitment. On the other hand, preparing a study on a topic that has been researched several times but not been  classified as I did was another “excitement”. Also justice fed me a lot, and I am happy to say that the results I found and the research I made will be very helpful for the next chapter in my mastery: gamification.

    But first of all let me tell you in brief what justice is, then let me explain what uniqueness I suggested for the field of justice perception and finally why I think it is bound to gamification.

    Justice is by all means can be defined as the situation which people get what they deserve. Organizational Justice only differs for its structure. While justice for a single person is the situation that person perceives; organizational justice is the average level of justice perception of all people forming that organization. Different than many people can estimate, there are different types of perceived justice.

    The first one is Distributional Justice. This kind is probably what many people understand from the word justice, a traditional approach. Distributional Justice refers to the comparison you make for you and another person that you think is your equivalent depending on the conditions you seek justice for. I’d better clarify this; think about your workplace. And think about another colleague of yours that you may compare yourself to. If you think that you get the proper amount of salary compared to that colleague, you may perceive Distributional Justice high. But if that colleague gets the same salary with you but has poor qualifications comparing to yours, then you will probably have a negative perception about Distributional Justice.

    The second is Processual Justice. This is unique for the field of justice, because when you google this term you may find nothing relevant. Processual Justice is about the application of justice on procedures but you should consider it in two-ways: Are procedures just? Are they applied just? If procedures are just, then we may say there’s Procedural Justice. If the rulers are just, then there’s Systemic Justice. In literature, these two are not seperated and called as Procedural Justice. However, what I found meaningful in my research is that these two factors are indeed should be considered seperately.

    The third one is Interactional Justice. This final one is mostly considered as a two-pieced term: Interpersonal Justice and Informational Justice. Interpersonal Justice is the kind of justice that, people may perceive a situation just, for they are behaved nicely, gently and thoughtfully; even if the situation is unjust.  Informational Justice is giving information and feedback to people about a situation in detail. This way again, even though the situation is unjust; people are tend to perceive justice only for they are informed.

    Now, what is this supposed to do with gamification? Games give instant feedback; you take a step and boom! You get the answer. So you are tend to perceive more justice in the game. Next, nearly not at any game you may experience a scene of shame or disrespect. Well, I know no game made for self-torture; at least no gamification expert might have a solid reason to do this. So, put informational and interpersonal justice to your pockets.

    Next, in games you have distributive justice. No game including a challenge shall serve a situation in which two players starting in the same conditions and be in different levels, right? Choose to be a wizard, your opponent  might be a warrior; but a game should not go in a direction where one of these has significant greatnesses compared to the other player. At the first level of Angry Birds, the number and kind of birds do not change for different players.

    Finally, Processual Justice. Well, as the game designer, the procedures should be just and they should be applied just, if not? Then the player has the luxury to quit the game and it is all over.

    This attempt of proving had better be made scientifically. On the other hand, I suggest that gamification can be used to help people perceive the organizational enviroment more just. You may create engagement and give people a new cause, something they can depend on when they cannot find many things. They may challenge with situations and/or people in conditions which are definitely just.

    I have to say that, my intention is not using gamification to cover injustice, but I believe this may help to cure negative perceptions for some people in some situations. When this perception becomes highly visible at organizational level, you may need an advanced help other than engaging people with games. And don’t forget, games are voluntarily overcoming obstacles when you need not to.


    The Effect of Justice Perceptions and Institutional Justice on Organizational Commitment – Dissertation Thesis for Organizational Behaviour Branch of Social Sciences Institute, Istanbul University of Türkiye – 2008.

    Gamification Course of Prof. Kevin Werbach on Coursera.com.