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Mobilizing gamification

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNOther chapter contribution

Publication date01/2015
Host publicationThe gameful world: approaches, issues, applications
EditorsSteffen Walz, Sebastian Deterding
Place of PublicationCambridge, Mass.
PublisherMIT Press
Number of pages3
ISBN (print)9780262028004
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Marshall McLuhan said in his 1964 book, The Medium is the Message, “we become what we behold. We shape our tools, and thereafter our tools shape us”. In a relatively short time video games have become a major feature of our cultural landscape. This extends beyond the games themselves such that we can now see their aesthetic and iconography represented in the other main forms of media such as films, books and television - thus we are all becoming more ‘games literate’. Regardless of your views on how ‘Gamification’ is being defined or appropriated, in many respects its emergence is simply a reflection of our shared understanding of this growing aesthetic and literacy. In relation to this my perspective on gamification is not that of Gabe Zichermann, who describes it as ‘taking what’s fun about games and applying it to situations that maybe aren’t so fun’, which is oft repeated by many coming from a marketing perspective, but rather that it is we can use ‘games as a lens when designing interactive systems to produce more gameful designs’. In this way it avoids the presentation of games as some kind of ‘magic bullet’ for ensuring user engagement but rather it becomes like any other design frame to be considered alongside alternatives through which designers can concretise a solution to meet the needs of the user. In this position paper I will address this perspective of gameful design in relation to the consumer technology that has arguably had a greater impact on society since its appearance in the early 1990s, the mobile phone, which has become ubiquitous with over 6 billion phone subscriptions worldwide.