Flow & gamification: a misunderstanding

CvSoT Flow and other points v3 Flow 038 gamification a misunderstanding

Flow. A popular concept in gamification, goodness knows I have spoken about it often enough – just last week in fact.  It was that article that actually made me realise that there is a distinct misunderstanding of flow as Mihály Csíkszentmihályi describes it.

The image below is how we in gamification tend to view it, our simplified version.

We talk about the Flow Channel, the point where skill level and challenge level are in a good balance. So this would mean that Flow could be achieved when you have a balanced low skill and low chalenge. However, when we look at how Mihály Csíkszentmihályi originally described it, that would actually be apathy – not a state we want for our users! Read More ...

The Flow Shift and Bounce

This is more a thought and possibly even a question to those who know more than me about the Flow concept.  I have spoken about Flow in the past and use it as a core principle to engaging long term design.

However, recently it occurred to me that long term exposure to extremes in frustration or boredom, could alter our perception of flow.

For instance, you spend months in the boredom phase. You have little to no challenge. It seems reasonable that you would need to boost the level of challenge to help improve engagement and in turn try and get closer to this idea of flow. Below is the “ideal” mix of skill and challenge as described in flow theory – only this time plotted against time. Read More ...

Looking back at my life – Computer games are in there!

As I turned 36 yesterday, I started to reminisce a little about what things have helped define my life. I am not talking about family or friends, but actual things.

The first that came to mind was Games, more specifically video games. Now, I am too old to be a millennial – so I of course have not had computers in my life since I was born. However, I have had computers in my life from pretty much the first memories I have – and that is around 4 or 5 years old.

First we I remember us having an Apple II and playing Star Trek with my dad. After that it was a ZX Spectrum+ with a Micro Drive. My dad had only a few games for this, but I strongly remember Ant Attack – one of the first survival horror games!. Somewhere around this time I discovered my dads Acetronic MPU 1000, This was my introduction to multi-player games as we would spend hours playing Space War, Golf, Tank Plane Battle and Space Invaders. That system came out many times over the years! Read More ...

[Updated] What gamification is to me – My definition

Updated September 2015!

As you know, over the weekend I picked a fight with Gartner over their redefinition of gamification.http://blogs.gartner.com/brian_burke/2014/04/04/gartner-redefines-gamification/ and https://gamified.uk/2014/04/05/a-response-to-gartners-new-definition-of-gamification/

The conversation turned to a bit of a bun fight, so I have now stepped away a little. However, it got me thinking about my own definition and why I use it and what gamification in general means to me.

However, I have decided to change it a little, to give it more scope and with luck make the aims clearer. Read More ...

A response to Gartner’s new definition of gamification

On April the 4th, Brian Burke, via his blog announced that Gartner had changed its definition of gamification. It would be;

“the use of game mechanics and experience design to digitally engage and motivate people to achieve their goals”


At first I chuckled. This was very similar to the definition I use in my book;

“the application of gaming metaphors to real life tasks to influence behaviour, improve motivation and enhance engagement.” Read More ...

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