Reading Response #6
to Artful Design • Chapter 6: “Game Design”
Music 256A / CS476a, Stanford University
From this week's reading, I'd like to respond to Artful Design Principle 6.13 which states:
Principle 6.13: Gamify!
In chapter six of the book Artful design, we take a detailed look at game design and the various ideals and trains of thought it could entail. This includes detailed lists of the traits we find beneficial in a game as well as what a game even is and why we may play them. This is exemplified in numerous game snippets and explanations, as well as real-life examples of how these principles extend beyond the worlds we create, into the ones we live in.
While I enjoyed all of the ideas mentioned in the chapter, I particularly liked principle 6.13: “Gamify!” which focuses on, “Applying Game Design Elements in Non-Game contexts”. This section discusses how game design not only be used for video games but can be seen outside of it in our natural lives. It can be seen in our societies and how we conduct our day-to-day lives, our education systems, and even in our governments. The commonality is the attempt to persuade or encourage particular behaviors through altering motivations and rewards.
Even in high school, I had a particular interest in game design. Even as a child before I played any at all I found them to be fascinating. As time went on and I took some free time trying to learn how they worked and how to build them I actually thought the idea of building games was more interesting to me than playing them (not that playing isn’t fun too). Now when I do play games, I spend sixty percent of my energy on the tasks in the game and the other 40 percent trying to understand how the game works, what the motivations are, and how the creators designed the game to affect its player. (I do this even when watching other people play games as well, which is how I have discovered most games.)
Along with video games, however, I’ve additionally had a lifelong interest in understanding motivation and trying to control it to improve my quality of life.
There was a particular book I read once that changed my perspective on life. It was written by a YouTuber called Lilly Singh aka Superwoman (not the DC one), and is titled, “How To Be a Bawse”. In the book’s first chapter she compares living life to playing Nintendo, explaining how you can only control the things you were meant to control, and every challenge is made to make you stronger, and take you even further on the path to where you are meant to go. In games, obstacles are meant to be fun and are part of what makes life so fun, so you just have to roll with the punches and enjoy the journey as you play and adapt.
I think she hit the nail right on the head with that one, and every time I remember it, it makes my life better. This chapter's principle ‘Gamify!’ to me speaks that message in a similar way. Games can go beyond being a way to play and can help us to live our lives in a more meaningful and fulfilling way. While this can be a concept that can be applied to specific details of our lives and can be found in parts we already experience, I think it can be taken a step further and can become a way of living life. After all isn’t that what life is? A cycle of behaviors, honing of skills, and aspiring for goals all supplied by various motivations over a period of time? That may be an oversimplification, but I think there is a lot there to consider.