Looking for a bit of self-efficacy power up through Gamification? You have come to the right place. This blog looks at how you can supercharge your life and build resilience through the use of gamification.

Gamifying life

I’ll take you through the first-hand experiences of some of my fellow students and myself as we document aspects of our journeys.

Interesting look at the origins of where the term gamification comes from Creative Commons (CCBy)

As a student, I am about to start exploring and writing about gamification – or the idea of using elements of gaming in non-game contexts. By using a playful user-centred approach to engagement rather than beating your audience over the head gamification humanises the world. This creates potential to transform the way we interact, learn, collaborate, participate and create better futures together.

Personally, I will use the Super Better App and keep you updated on all the developments.

Some of the Basics

Since I am not much of a gamer in the sense of playing digital video games I had to brush up a little on some of the common elements. I suspected they had changed a little since my days of playing Ping and Atari.

Of course, gamification is also used by marketers to engage consumers. This is not all bad either as gamification can make the whole experience more interesting.

This video is great explainer on gamification and some of the ways gamification has been deployed. Some of the negitive ways gamification is deployed include Chinese government manipulation of its people with social credid score and flyby schemes which never seem to reach

I do have a few apprehensions about where gamification may take us, but that is all the more reason to get involved and become part of its evolution.

Gamification Invites Flow

What I have noticed is that gamification is about learning, or achieving personal goals in and through the state of flow.

Flow refers to a state of mind characterized by focused concentration and elevated enjoyment during intrinsically interesting activities. Flow is the term we use to describe the state of mind where we are that engrossed in what we are enjoying doing we seem to lose all sense of space and time. When was the last time you were ‘in the zone’? This is a subjective question and as many times you ask it you may get a different answer back because flow is related to our own unique intrinsic motivations.

Flow has been described by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi as “an optimal psychological state that people experience when engaged in an activity that is both appropriately challenging to one’s skill level, often resulting in immersion and concentrated focus on a task. This can result in deep learning and high levels of personal and work satisfaction.


Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi on flow, intrinsic motivation, and happiness Creative Commons (CCBy)

Jane McGonigal

Jane McGonigal is often seen as the public face of gamification and sees it to gather, collective intelligence and use its power to solve epic real-world problems. While gamification does offer these potentials McGonigal is also lightning fast to remind us to always use it in ways which align with the user’s intrinsic motivation and not as a tool of coercion to motivate people to do what they don’t want to do.

Jane McGonigal’s life is a great example of changing your state of consciousness through Gamification. She offers some good tips on how games and gamification can help turn threats into opportunities in facing some of your inner demons in her book Supper Better. Jane overcame a serious concussion and instead of wallowing in self-defeat jane challenged herself to learn and improve – voluntarily through finding strategies which allow us to have epic wins.

Three steps that might include are outlined further in the video below and are summarised as:

  • Committing to an epic quest of self-efficacy, or belief in your own ability to succeed in specific situations or accomplish a task which appeals to your goals and values.
  • Activate your powerups through the day. The frequency of success matters and small success leads to positivity.
  • Flushing out the bad guys and self-defeating practices and thoughts – like in the video game.

A Crash Course in Getting SuperBetter – Jane McGonigal Creative Commons (CCBy)



I recently got started by downloading her app Supper Better and I will provide updates on how that goes as I blog.


I will include resources as I gather them, and as I pick up skills attempt to gamify interactions with this blog. Of course, I would love to get my classmates involved and would love any suggestions as to how I could do that.

Please also share links to your blogs and media here which informs the gamification community.

I personally came to gamification because it was part of my course requirements for my university Digital Media studies at university. In this sense, I am only really beginning my involvement in gamification but in others, it has always been there because play is simply part of what we do as humans through social interaction. I’m already starting to see how this can have a big positve effect on peoples lives and society if used well.

Douglas Rushkof

Doudlass Rushkoff ofers and interesting perspective on Gaification through a critical lense.

According to Rushkoff humanity always seems a step behind technology in realising democratising potentials.

The internet is a classic example. The big promise with the internet was that it was going to totally disrupt. Even when the MacBook in 1984 Apple proposed 1984 is not going to be like 1984. However, compared to the high ideals, and talk about how the internet and personal computing was going to create an emancipatory, evolved society connected through a Gaia mind the reality has turned out quite differently and democratic potentials have not evolved as quickly as capitalisms ability to maintain its extractive dominance in the name of delivering shareholder profits.

We seemed to have sleep-walked into an era of surveillance capitalism. While many are now waking up there was a long period where the tech gurus of Silicon Valley were treated as to benevolent Gods that were selflessly democratising the planet.  What Cambridge Analytica and seemingly endless scandals since have revealed is that when tech companies run on an operating system of weaponised extractive capitalism. 

With, Gamification comes new abilities to extend this extraction as big data comes to understand even more about us.  As we train ourselves we will also find ourselves training the big data algorithms that later become the robots to replace human labour.

We only need to look back to the beginning of Public Relations to see the ethical dilemmas which arise when technology is sold as inherently democratising.  PR was ‘a practice built on propaganda, manipulation and outright lies’ (Luttrell and Ward 2018 p.9). Edward Bernays is often regarded as the father of Public Relations and through ‘the engineering of consent’ (because people are too silly to decide for themselves) he was responsible for campaigns like the one where women were convinced to smoke. This was hardly an emancipatory outcome and in the ensuing time growth obsessed colonial style capitalism has gone a long way to exnihilating the planet on the sniff and promise of techno utopian solution to all problems sold at the nearest mall.

For Douglas Rushkoff (2019, p. 105) ‘ The myth on which the techno-enthusiasts hang their hopes is that new innovations will continue to create new markets and more growth’. The obvious problem to this techno solutionism is that we live in a finite world and as the limits are reached, surveillance capitalism makes deeper inroads into private lives. Google’ accidentally not mentioning the hidden microphones in its home devices and tracking our mouse movements are recent examples. But as Gamification inevitably, and very quickly becomes linked to the internet and things and operates on the Surveillance capitalism operating system then what happens with that information from my gamified physiotherapy session?

Ethics and Gamification

Professional communicators are in the game of advocating.  If you are not internally motivated and it doesn’t sit right for you to advocate for a product you won’t do a good job in your efforts to inform, engage, stimulate action, and persuade others, and will find yourself faced with a moral and ethical dilemma. Don’t Panic.

The great thing about building a reflective ethical practice is that it can build over time making doing away with outdated modes of PR lies and deception. Try to bring ethical communication into your gamification.

Resources:

Rushkoff, Douglas. Team Human (p. 66). W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.

Our Gamified World is which “explores gamification in various contexts, from education to business to health and beyond” is one of my primary go-to sources.

Lead Image CC by 0 Bulls Eye by Quince Media

End frame = Owl represents knowledge achieved through biometric tracking Call to action to get the app Image: Owl by Chraecker (Public Domain CC0) https://pixabay.com/photos/owl-bird-eyes-eagle-owl-birds-50267/ Image: Hand by Clikr (Public Domain CC0) https://pixabay.com/vectors/wall-hand-street-percent-fist-48277/
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