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Gaming Social Awareness

May 3, 2011 at 8:48 am PST

As discussed in this blog gamification is being used to enable health consciousness, engage learners, and drive awareness on a variety of subjects.

Previous blog posts have provided examples of awareness building games:

  • Evoke – This project is the brain child of Jane McGonigal. The goal of this social network game is to help empower young people all over the world, and especially young people in Africa, to come up with creative solutions to our most urgent social problems.
  • Conspiracy for Good – Tim Kring, creator of Heroes, is the master mind behind this project. This is part alternate reality game (ARG), part crowd sourced content, Kring is blurring the lines between reality and fiction to create an interactive story, which encourages users to “live the adventure, read the signs, fight the Bad Guys and make the world a better place in the process.” The goal is attract, motivate and engage the viewers through the game, in order to make real world change with their involvement in the plot.

The most recent example of a game whose aim is to drive social awareness is America 2049. This ARG was created by Breakthrough, a global human rights organization that uses the power of pop culture to advance equality, dignity, and justice. An overview on the game is available via the video below…skip forward to :45 time mark to bypass the text inserts from the press release.

According to Breakthrough: Read More »

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Let’s Game Physical: Fighting Obesity with Game Mechanics

April 6, 2011 at 2:59 pm PST

Obesity is a major public health concern. It can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, sleep problems, cancer, and other disorders. Not to mention the emotional and psychological effects it can have. It can also, if left unchecked, become a life-long issue with overweight kids often becoming overweight adults and childhood obesity leading to increased mortality rates during adulthood.

One of the major factors leading to obesity is a lack of physical activity. Researchers have found that:
• Obese children were 35% less active on school days and 65% less active on weekends compared to non-obese children
• 25% of those adults who were considered active at ages 14 to 19 were also active adults, compared to 2% of those adults who were inactive at ages 14 to 19
• Children were 21.5% more likely to be overweight when watching 4+ hours of TV per day and 4.5% more likely to be overweight when using a computer one or more hours per day
• Currently at least 60% of the world’s population gets insufficient exercise

Disturbing facts for sure so the question is how can we motivate people to be more active? Gamification may just be a critical component in motivating and encouraging people to engage in physical activity. I touched on the Wii Fit Plus and Your Shape Fitness Evolved for Kinect in a previous blog post. However I have recently been introduced to some interesting examples that warrant further examination.

The Lappset Mobile Playground is one of my favorites because it not only drives physical activity it also encourages people to get outdoors and learn while playing. Lappset introduces games that leverage QR codes posted through-out a playground setting, for example Math&Mem. The math portion of the game consists of three different levels; easy, normal and hard. Easy or normal levels drive users to find the target sum by adding together numbers which can be found from the mobile tags attached to playground equipment. Hard level is a multiplication task where player will get the target number and then user must find two correct numbers from the play area and multiplying the sum of the two together constitute the target amount. See it in action in the below video.

Another great example of gaming physicality is Zamzee by HopeLab. Read More »

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Gamification: The Art of Turning Work Into Play

January 31, 2011 at 2:14 pm PST

Gamification is a hot topic as of late and has seen marketing, education, and non-profit groups adopting the use of gamification concepts at a rapid rate. While some will say gamification is not true gaming and others see it as an unnecessary distraction, I think both groups may be missing the point. Before I dive into why I believe this let’s recap what gamification actually means and some real world exampled.

So what does gamification mean? According to Wikipedia it is defined as follows:

Gamification is the use of game play mechanics for non-game applications (also known as “funware“), particularly consumer-oriented web and mobile sites, in order to encourage people to adopt the applications. It also strives to encourage users to engage in desired behaviors in connection with the applications. Gamification works by making technology more engaging, and by encouraging desired behaviors, taking advantage of humans’ psychological predisposition to engage in gaming. The technique can encourage people to perform chores that they ordinarily consider boring, such as completing surveys, shopping, or reading web sites.

Tim Chang of Norwest Venture Partners is credited with coining the term gamification and he recently participated in the first ever Gamification Summit (which sold out btw) that just took place 20-21 January in San Francisco. The chair of the summit was Gabe Zichermann, a self-described “gamification thought leader.” According to Gabe the biggest mistake someone looking at gamification can make is assuming it is all about prizes and rewards. In his opinion it should be about status, access, power, and then stuff. He says, “The heart of your game should be reach a higher-class tier and as a result getting more exclusivity in options, services and places available to your top players. Of course, people do like to get stuff, but status is a much better motivator over the long term.”

Some real world examples of gamification include: Read More »

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