From Across the Net – “Teaching the Classroom with Dungeons & Dragons”

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Even though I’ve never played Dungeons & Dragons, I thought this was a neat example of gamifying the classroom:

Teachers already have to purchase and create so many of their classroom supplies and materials. When gamifying the classroom, both Wells and Roman suggest getting creative and using the resources you have available. “I used an extra fire escape map of the school as a dungeon,” says Wells. “My students started at the entrance and had to get to my classroom, but there were zombies everywhere. Every time they encountered one, they had to answer a quiz question.”

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Miitomo

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The legacy of the Mii, Nintendo’s player avatar creations, continues with Miitomo. Uniting iOS and Android users, Miitomo is a personable social network experiment. Inhabited by Facebook and Twitter friends, Miitomo encourages and rewards players for:

  • Answering questions
  • Reading, listening, liking, and responding to your friends replies

Gamification of Social Media: Check

There is also an odd game within the game called Miitomo Drop (drop a player down a board, hope they hit something valuable). As well as options to buy and dress up a player’s Mii. Style points awarded, of course.

Beyond the spongy exterior, the heart-filled frosting of Miitomo tastes hollow. There just isn’t much to do in this app. Yes, Nintendo has done a great job building an oddball social network. I keep wondering though where the gameplay hook is.

As a longtime Animal Crossing fan, the ability to decorate your Mii’s space would be most welcome. Minigames in the vein of the 3DS Mii minigames (Find Mii, Puzzle Swap, etc.) would elevate Miitomo to another level. Nintendo excels when they take a simple concept and refine the player experience.

Miitomo makes great first impression. The missing gameplay hook, the reason to stay and enjoy this weird world, must be found. Mario is indeed missing.

The Rewarded Life – Gamification

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Right down the street from my house is a series of paved walking trails. They interweave beneath cool leafy canopies; They provide a great place to relax and exercise.

My friend Jon and I meet there once a week. We walk and talk about the lives we are living. The small hills and smooth curves, of the walking trails, serve as a fantastic physical representation of how we can be doing well one week and veering off into the unknown the next. Around each corner we never know what we are going to run into. One week we saw a man sitting without a shirt in a grassy field. He looked like he was meditating or somehow communing with nature. I’m not into that. At least not out in public. Another week we saw a herd of deer. One of the most memorable times we had was when we were caught out in a thunderstorm. As marble sized hail dented our bodies, we seriously wondered what we had gotten ourselves into. Unless you’ve used a tree as shelter from a hail storm, you’d know that the tree is absolutely worthless. All the tree does is become a natural pinball machine for the frozen orbs. Enough about the hail though.

Gamification is the use of game design elements,game thinking and game mechanics to enhance non-game contexts.

Helping users lose weight since 2011.

My sister and my parents bought me a Nintendo 3DS for my birthday back in July. The 3DS has a built-in pedometer. After recording about a 1000 steps, the system rewards the user with 10 gold coins. These coins can be spent on two built-in games. Now what does this have to do with walking? Well, after discovering this simple feature, I started walking with the 3DS in my pocket. I wanted to earn more gold coins. Walking had turned into a game I wanted to win.

I wonder why other companies haven’t caught on to this phenomena. The concept seems so simple, integrate game-like elements into our everyday lives. I commend Nintendo for their almost sneaky approach to making users want to exercise more. My only wish is that the coins earned could be applied to e-shop purchases. In the meantime, avoid hail my friends.