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A Parody of Gamification
I have written at length about Gamification. Some people have even begun to take what I say seriously, which is great. However, time for some fun. What if we flipped the idea on its head. If games worked based on the set of rules many businesses have. How would a jobified game actually play?
A Quest is Born
The day starts with you sitting at your desk. First, you boot up your PC and do the morning “kitchen dance”, as you get your first cup of coffee for the day. After returning to your desk and going through your news feeds and non-essential emails, it is time for work. Top of your inbox you see an email with a red exclamation mark. Ignoring your instinct to park it for later – if it was that important they would surely have called – you notice the title. “Urgent, hero needed”. As you read on, your eyes widen, Sarah from accounts has been kidnapped by a rival firm, Evil Corp. The evil boss of Evil Corp will not release Sarah unless Nice Corp (the company for which you work) agrees to their take over terms. The boss of Nice Corp wants you to rescue Sarah before it is too late.
Level 1 – Time for Action
As with all good adventures, a trip to HR is needed – just to check that your contract actually allows your boss to ask such things of you. After discovering that you signed a waiver to all personal, social and real life, you head to the next phase of your quest.
Level 2 – Project Manager
You schedule a meeting with the quest project manager. Now, of course, he is a busy man – so you have to wait until next Tuesday to go through the project plan. Going into a save state, you fast forward to next Tuesday. Greg, your assigned project manager goes through the project plan with you. After agreeing on who the major stakeholders are, what the key targets are and what the performance indicators will be, you are nearly ready to go and rescue the fair Sarah from Evil Corp.
Level 3 – Choose Your Team
All good heroes need a sidekick or two. Sadly, Nice Boss informs you that due to cutbacks, savings and “downsizing” there are no mages, barbarians, thieves or the like. Instead, you will have to have the work experience boy, Dave from the post room as your questing partner.
Level 4 – Equip Yourself Adventurer
You and Dave head to the company armoury where you are met by Bob, the armourer. Bob gives you a pile of paper works to fill in, entitled “Risk Assessment”. He then subjects you to 3 hours of questions about the dangers of the quest and what sort of things could happen. He then takes you to the armoury. All you see in the room is a pea shooter, a chair and a tv/video combo. Bob sits you down to watch an instructional video titled ” The Pea Shooter and You”. Two hours later he hands you a certificate that states you have now completed the Pea Shooter training and are allowed to carry a pea shooter into battle. You ask about the magic spells and the swords you would prefer to have. He informs you that they are too dangerous. The company liability and insurance do not stretch far enough to cover such things these days. You leave equipped with a pea shooter, foam safety peas (you could take someone’s eye out with real ones!) and of course some safety goggles.
Level 5 – Come Get Some
Finally, you leave the building to battle your way to Evil Corp (across the road). Negotiating the traffic and the suicide bike couriers you breach the revolving doors. Receptionist –a-saur greets you with a smile of pure lipstick. “ Hello, and how can I help you?” she roars. Covered by Dave, you fire a barrage of terrifying peas at her. After 10 minutes she finally tells you which floor you need to go to in the “Lift of Doom” and you set on your way. Unbeknownst to you, Dave has been hurt in the attack.
Level 6 – Bye Bye Dave
As you enter the life and press the button for the 666th floor, Dave collapses. As you look at him, you see that he has a potentially fatal paper cut. He begs you for help. As you bend down you suddenly remember. Your corporate first aid certificate ran out last Monday. Doing anything to help Dave, could get you sued should it go wrong. Deciding that litigation is just too much to handle, you smile sadly at Dave and explain the situation. Ignoring his pleas for common sense to prevail, you step out of the lift and leave him to die alone. Still, better than your insurance premiums being hit!
Level 7 – Nearly There.
You are greeted by Evil Boss’s PA, twelve office managers and other assorted suite clad minions, Hundreds of them, all with job titles that make no sense. You fight endlessly through them, foam peas fly and blood sprays until finally only you are left standing. Battered and injured you stand for a moment, looking at the door at the end of the hall. From out of nowhere a package appears. You open it to discover a whole heap of bladed weapons, throwing stars and potions to heal and enhance you. As you go to pick them up, you remember the Bribery and Corruption course you had been sent on the previous month. Of course, you are not allowed to take any of these, you are in a competitors office. Should you ever do business with them in the future, taking these essential quest items could be seen as bribery. Happily, you put down the parcel, and with the strength of spirit that only a good corporate citizen has, you limp – bleeding and wheezing into the office of Evil Boss.
Final Level – Boss Fight
Hanging from a wall to your left, you see Sarah from accounts. She looks ok but screams out a warning. Almost too late, you see Evil Boss spin around in his chair. Sitting there you see the most shocking human imaginable. Nice boss. That’s right, your boss is sat in the chair of Evil Boss. He smiles the smile of a man who thinks he knows too much and begins to explain. Whilst you had been on your quest, Nice Corp “Acquired” Evil Corp and all of its assets. The situation with Sarah from accounts and you are both parts of the “legacy” of Evil Corp. As such he was going to have to deal with us now before it was too late. Before he can finish telling you the details, you snap. Screaming and brandishing your peashooter you attack Nice Boss. After 20 minutes of saving and restarting, you discover his weak spot and shove your pea shooter in – right up to the mouthpiece. He falls to the ground moaning quietly about paperwork. Triumphantly, you cut Sarah down from the wall and share a passionate kiss with her, before heading back to Nice Corp.
Epilogue – One Month Later
Following your epic quest, life changed dramatically. First of all, you were instantly promoted and given a pay rise that was completely disproportionate to your experience level. You did not mind – how could you – you were a hero. It was two weeks after the death of Nice Boss that things went wrong. At the beginning of the week, your line manager called you into her office. She wanted to discuss Sarah from Accounts with you. It turns out that after you rescued her from the office of Nice / Evil boss, she filed a sexual harassment suit against you. Kissing her had been inappropriate and as such you were to be suspended until the official hearing. So here you are now. A broken man, with nothing to do and nothing to live for until the hearing.
Suddenly there is a knock at the door. Reluctantly you go over and open it. Stood in front of you as bold as day is Dave – the Post room boy. He is wearing an expensive suit, his hair is slicked back and he looks somehow older. Next to him stands Sarah from Accounts. Both are pointing Pea Shooters at you. Dave looks at you and smiles a cold smile. “We need to talk” he snarls.
The Credits Roll…..
Well – it is a video game and there have to be at least three sequels
Right, well that is out of my system now! Next post will be a slightly deeper look at some game mechanics that don’t rely on rewards to keep you hooked!
Also published on Medium.