When I first began to map out my units of study for my degree, I came across a mandatory unit for my Digital Media major that was entitled “Gamified Media”.
At the time, I didn’t really understand what gamification was. I heard the word “game” and naturally, my geek brain instantly went wild, dreaming of my favorite video games. As a self-confessed nerd, not only do I adore PC and console gaming, but I even met my husband online playing World of Warcraft.
With all those elements in mind, needless to say I was more than excited to sign up for the unit: surely I would be an expert!
However, within the first week of study, I was surprised to discover that my ideas of what the unit was and what it actually is are not only completely different, but that the reality is so much more interesting than I could have anticipated.
The definition of gamification might not as simple as playing Stardew Valley on my Nintendo Switch, although it is just as engaging, and most of us are either practicing or participating in gamification in our everyday lives.
Gamification, a term coined in the early 2000s, refers to the use of video-game logic and psychology in real-world environments, most prominently in marketing, education, and the corporate world. The theory of gamification holds that people—whether consumers, coworkers, or students—respond naturally and efficiently to competition, reward, and simulated riskDewey, J, PhD 2019
I have come to discover that the aspects of gaming that I enjoy the most, the power of engagement that captivates me within my beloved video games, are now being used to motivate me in my everyday life. So even though my assumptions were not quite on the mark, no matter which way you throw the dice – this area of study is centralised around gaming and its applications.
Even though gamification is a relatively new term and area of academia, as my former unit chair (and Twitter Mario Kart victim) Adam Brown states (2021), the applications of it are almost limitless and have existed for decades. Even I was surprised to discover just how far back I personally have been engaging with gamified media in my own life.
It turns out that one of my earliest experiences with gamified media was actually a fantastic example of what a significant impact gamification can have when used as a tool to support various applications. For me, I recalled using the My Quit Buddy app on my very first smartphone to help me track my progress when I decided to quit smoking.
It’s almost comical to think that a serious health issue could be gamified, and successfully at that, but that is part of the appeal. When the elements of gamification are used effectively, it helps us to have fun and engage with even the most difficult tasks. It inspires us to continue on and can assist with making lasting, significant change in work, education, health and so much more.
So, how about it? Would you like to play a game?
Dewey, J, PhD (2019) ‘Gamification’, Salem Press Encyclopedia, viewed 3 May 2021, <https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ers&AN=89550576&authtype=sso&custid=deakin&site=eds-live&scope=site>.
All images in this blog used under Creative Commons CC0 License unless otherwise specified
“Crowd.Yay.Applause.25ppl.Medium” by jessepash (CC BY 0)
DrivenXDesign (2013) My Quit Buddy, DrivenXDesign 2013 Tech Design Awards, accessed 11 April 2021
Thornton, L., Quinn, C., Birrell, L., Guillaumier, A., Shaw, B., Forbes, E., Deady, M. and Kay‐Lambkin, F. (2017), Free smoking cessation mobile apps available in Australia: a quality review and content analysis. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 41: 625-630, accessed 11 April 2021
Podcast graphics & all other images/graphics created by Rebekah Griffin