A friend, the lovely and talented Adrian Tchaikovsky, writer of fantasy, recently posted this link to me, because he knows I’m really interested in gaming and the way that it affects our lives, particularly because I’m a writer and many games are providing lots of experience and narrative that books and stories have to compete with. Check it out.
The Escapist Gamification Video
At first I would have completely gone along with all of this – when I first encountered World of Warcraft years ago it seemed a really obvious trend. But now, having played a lot more games and stuck with that one (with a few breaks) I’m not so sure.
One thing I have noticed is that Warcraft, just for example, is now as boring as a secretarial job, but for me as a has-no-time no-raid casual player, it also feels like being the secretary to a bunch of people higher up the ladder who are getting all the bonuses and dishing out all the crap. Yes, you Leet people, I mean you. Partly that’s the grind mechanics of the game and partly the element of the player base who reacted most powerfully to the gamification tactics outlined in the above video. It’s Skinner evolution. Well, ouchie. This is borification. I’m down now to RP as my only escape fun (am now pretty immune to reward systems of any kind) and that relies on other people turning up and having enough energy to think of a storyline – and if we had that we’d probably be doing something else anyway.
So, by contrast, writing is now looking like an ultimate game pastime, just like it used to years ago when there was no telly worth watching except for the odd programme. I can’t even muster the enthusiasm to open the boxes on really great games that I already bought. I’d rather read. The rewards are so much better.
On the other hand if I did have to go back to work as a secretary I wouldn’t mind game rewards for the filing etc. I realise this is what a wage and bonuses are supposed to represent but perhaps they were never administered at a level you could see in operation in real time with a little progress bar and an achievement chart with lolcats on it.
I wait for the real world rewards of genuine social pleasure, or at least benign self interest, to reach out and eat gamification. But then, I am getting old and cranky and have been inured by years of service to the machine. What do y’all think?