This Little Piggy poem
This little piggy went to market,
This little piggy stayed at home,
This little piggy had roast beef,
This little piggy had none.
And this little piggy went…
“Wee wee wee” all the way home…
Well, this can hold one of the keys to good communications with users and clients…
When you communicate with someone, especially if you feel you are doing something that will help them – such as providing gamified solutions, you have to consider what they want and need. You have to put yourself in their shoes and offer something in a way that resonates with them.
Consider the following two sentences.
We can build you a great solution for XYZ because we have the best developers and we know what you need.
You seem to have a problem with XYZ and it must be causing you real headaches. Do you feel that a quality solution would help?
Snakes and Ladders is not a game and we should stop using it in gamification and serious games.
Obviously, it was designed to provoke some comment, but boy was I surprised with the level of interaction I got over the three channels. The LinkedIn conversation may still be going on!
As expected, there were those who agreed and those who did not. Some were using Snakes and Ladders in training very successfully, others agreed that it was a pile of pants.
My justification was as follows: Snakes and Ladders gives the player no agency, no control of the outcome. The player has no influence at all over how the game will play. There are no challenges and no skill needed either.
However, those who felt this was unfair pointed out that as a mechanism for delivering content, it was a great platform. Attaching external values and storytelling to the ups and downs of the game were easy metaphors for many real-life experiences. The unexpected rises and falls of a career for instance.
What was more interesting, in the end, was that the discussion slowly turned into a more philosophical debate about the nature of games.
Lusory Attitude Is Back in the Spotlight
I have spoken a lot about the nature of play, highlighting that play is subjective and contextual and relies on “Lusory Attitude“, ie a playful state of mind. It seems that the same is true of games. Snakes and Ladders may not seem like a game to an adult, but to a child it is magical. They approach it with a lusory attitude, never noticing they have no control. They are absorbed in the competition, the story being played out as the climb ladders and slide down snakes.
I was reminded that anything can feel like a game if you approach it with the right frame of mind. Our job as gamification designers is to create experiences that help to frame the solution in a way that allows our users to approach and engage with that lusory attitude. A narrative that carries a shallow game mechanic, a series of extra challenges that make the core delivery mechanic more interesting, fake choice that makes the user feel they have some level of agency and control etc etc etc.
Is it gamification heaven or hell? It depends how you use it, just don’t be lazy and use it as the only nod towards games in your solution!
The other nice lesson was about the nature of social media – it works best when you remember the social bit 😉
Below are links to the various conversations – there are some real nuggets of gold in there, thanks to everyone who got involved!
The LinkedIn Conversation
The Facebook Conversation
The Twitter Conversation
The world children are growing up in now is very different to the world their parents grew up in. Whilst many of the dangers may have stayed the same, the way they present themselves is often beyond the scope of understanding of many parents out there because they have no relevant personal experience to give it all context.
What I want to offer here is a little bit of advice about keeping children safe online and in games, based on my personal experience covering all of those various angles I have mentioned! This is not a definitive list of advice, but I hope it can help some of you.
Before we get into that, I want to clear one thing up. It is Dave Rage, not the Excel function, DAverage!
Back to the story. Dave has-been with me since university. On one of the first nights in the halls of residence, we all decided to make door signs for each other. The thing was, no one could spell Andrzej, so they decided to call me Dave!
That stuck with me and from that day onwards, I was known as Dave.
The Rage bit relates to an old N64 game, WCW Mayhem. It was one of the first games to include full audio commentary and as such required you to choose an in ring nickname. In the house I was living in by then, we all made our own characters and chose a nickname – mine was Rage.
Dave Rage was born!
This new persona followed me into online gaming, evening being integrated into the name of my Command and Conquer Rengade / Call of Duty clan, Rage’s Renagdes.
When I joined Twitter, I decided to stick with it, not expecting Twitter to be such a big part of my more professional life. How wrong was I!? The trouble was, by the time I realised how important it was, @daverage was more well known than Andrzej Marczewski – so I decided to keep it.
So, 20 years after Dave Rage was born, he is still here and stronger than ever!
Why not share your username stories in the comments?