Image Credit: International Centre for the History of Electronic Games - National Museum of Play, Rochester by Ellen Forsyth is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Gaming started in a small way. In the 1950s, researchers in computer science departments started designing simple games and artificial simulations. A couple of decades later, arcade video games exploded onto the gaming scene. There are die-hard fans of Pong, Pac-man, Mortal Kombat, etc. even today.
Since then, with the leaps and strides made in hardware and software systems, and graphics, the gaming industry has grown phenomenally and has become a huge business across the world.
What is Gamification?
A âgamerâ is someone who participates in interactive games. The âgamerâ has changed today. They are no longer on the fringes of society. There is no stereotypical gamer. Kids, adults, grandparents - everyoneâs gaming.
More and more of the world around us is getting encapsulated into a game. Game design principles which keep the gamer motivated to play, is applied to other real world simulation games. That is Gamification. Games are used for business, entertainment, education, improving health, training, etc. Here is a quick look at some of the interesting gamification that is happening around us:
Gaming of the Enterprise or Business
Gamification is being considered as the new design methodology. The engagement mechanics of an addictive game can be incorporated into a system, by viewing an enterprise as a game! An interesting example is of how Google uses a simple yet clever incentive based scheme to encourage employees to search for better travel deals, to stay below their allowed per diem. If better deals are found and used, half the savings can be banked to apply for future trips. On these trips, they will be allowed to spend from their banked amount, beyond the cap!
Gaming in Education
As people learnt about the honey which could help slide in the more serious STEM curriculum, education-based-gaming started growing in leaps and bounds. This timeline gives us a visual understanding of this growth. The importance of games as an engagement tool is so high, that a successful movie too spawned an educational website. After the phenomenal success of How To Train Your Dragon 2, the dragon game became the magic carpet for science education.
Gaming in Healthcare
As the tagline of Games for Health site says, it explores the intersection of videogames and health. The aim is to use advanced gaming to improve health and better deliver healthcare. Bitter medicine does slide down better with social gaming. In a remarkable study the game Re-mission has helped cancer patients with their psychological and behavioral difficulties. In young adults a higher rate of treatment adherence has shown how gaming can positively impact the seriously ill.
Gaming for âSeniorsâ
Image Credit: Computers by Jody Morris is licensed under CC BY 2.0
On googling âseniors gamesâ a whole bunch of sites with games for seniors is rolled out. It has been scientifically shown that older people (over 60) can improve their cognitive abilities with brain-training, via games for seniors. Retaining information and sustaining attention also improves. In a study among the elderly, it was noticed that âproviding game-like experiences which resemble leisure activityâ better motivated the participants. Even playing commercially available electronic games contributes to the well-being of the elderly.
Gaming in Training
When real world situations can be created artificially in a controlled environment, training can become a highly engaged activity. The game becomes real. Even the Defense Acquisition University (part of the Defense Department) uses games to train its people in activities which are too expensive or dangerous or very large scale, an example being building a space craft. Many âserious gamesâ are designed to educate employees in a particular aspect of their job.
Gamification is here to stay. That we can simulate situations and can remain engaged enough to practice within a game, is the most important plus point for gamification.
Life is a Game, seems to be taking on new meaning!
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