As I was trying to come up with the topic for G, someone suggested to use Gamification, and I totally had to laugh. Of course. So much of my life is regulated by Gamification.
Gamification is using gaming elements in contexts that are not (video) games to guide people’s behaviour. Very simply, it’s generally a form of action where you get rewards by completing certain tasks. This gamification can happen in many ways, and I’m actually using one right now to write this.
For most of the last year, I’ve been using 4TheWords (my review here), which is a gamification of writing. The website combines two elements, something that is a task (writing words) and a reward system (defeating monsters). By writing enough words in a set amount of time you defeat a monster. 4TW is even more like a game in that each defeated monster gets you loot and you also have to complete quests. Most of those quests are of the ‘defeat X amount of monster Y” and others are “collect X amount of Y item”. The items you need are dropped by the monsters. The whole game is set up to make you write a lot of words.
It even has a consistency element in that the website wants you to write 444 words per day to keep your ‘writing streak’. You get rewards for keeping your writing streak going and there are ranked lists of how many days you’ve written in a row (I was at 256 days in a row yesterday, not there yet today).
I’m someone for who gamification of this type works really well.
1. It’s an important task that I need to fulfill anyway (I’m an author, without words I don’t make a living)
2. It breaks up the big task into smaller ones (there are different wordcount creatures to defeat)
3. It gives a feeling of progress (writing can seem like such a huge task, but 4TW gives me the short-term rewards by defeating monsters and completing quests)
4. I’m competitive (even against myself, and 4TW gives me a great way to keep challenging myself)
4TW has challenged me not only to write 256 days in a row but I’ve also almost written 400.000 words in a single year (since end of March actually). It has given me goals and challenges and for the first time in years, I actually feel like I’m on top of my career instead of always running after everything. That feeling… That feeling of having control and being constantly challenged… That ticks all my boxes of keeping me going.
Another website I used to use is Habitica. (Woot, reached 257 days just now) Habitica is not as involved as 4TW, it doesn’t have an actual element of having to do a task or to defeat monsters as the primary focus of the game, but it’s also gamification. Habitica depends much more in an honours system. Habitica is based around creating habits. To create a habit (any really) you need to keep doing them day after day, to keep the streak going. Habitica allows you to add your own tasks and habits and you cross them off when you’ve completed them. It has no way to know if you actually did a task, but you still have to cross them off. By crossing odd those tasks, you can also defeat monsters with friends, but the tasks and keeping those going are your primary focus, the other elements are secondary. In 4TW the words you’re writing to defeat the monsters is the primary focus, you’re much more involved in the actual game of it.
Have you used any of these websites, or other gamification websites?