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Feb 01, 2011



Does anyone else here find Gamification absolutely terrifying? I feel it is, at least how Jesse described it would be in our future. Based on the conclusions I drew on my brief research on WoW, this sounds like a powerful design for social control; a digital panopticon that could potentially gaze into all areas of life. Imagine the point system that he described, but rather than acting as a currency picture it more like a gamerscore or Gearscore that you could use to compare, rank and measure yourself alongside others. I concede that Gamification could/can be a powerful tool in the workplace, education and many other areas, but the truth is that Jesse's vision for the future is a potential dystopia.


I also find it absolutely terrifying, for much the same reasons you cited, as well as some others.

Also, this may make me sound like a total fruit loop, but I am very dismayed at the current trend to turn natural society into a technological one. This aspect touches every part of our lives -- look at our GMO food supply, look at our healthcare system based on pharmacology.

Where is spirituality? Where is religion? Oh, right. Religion is bad because in the mind of the lowest common denominator: religion = extremists.

Honestly, as someone who has just been brought back to God after decades away, I feel that this is just another thing that is bringing us one step closer to the Apocalypse. We are getting too far away from our natural being, thinking that our creations are better than what the divine can do. (insert fruit loop comment here again)

I have never posted here before, as I am by no means a scholar, but I just had to speak up about this.


If you want a real gloom and doom view of gamification, try McKenzie Wark's Gamer Theory.


Gina: "...thinking that our creations are better than what the divine can do."

I'm sympathetic. I believe, if not mistaken, that the tendency to think that humans can solve all of their problems through their own works, has been known as the Pelagian Heresy since the 5th century.

It keeps rearing its head; here in the form of technophilia. Tech everywhere! We tend to focus so much on technology and ignore the way that technology enhances our ability to play with structures of incentive. Games are like a virus of incentives, popping up and spreading around from institution to institution. There's a real possibility that we'll end up surrounded by social structures tailor-made to push us one way and pull us another. Our ability to resist these things, or even see them, will be limited.

Yes, but - hang on. That's how we live now. Webs of material and social cues, some subtle and some not, surround us all the time. The main difference between the current web of incentives and the future ludic one is effectiveness. The game designers are becoming more and more adept at making us happy doing things. Finding freedom and self-determination in this web is a tricky business, getting trickier. Assuming that it will all turn out for our benefit is foolish, as is any belief that we can, by policy, make it all wonderful.

Society hurts those who are not wary and careful. So does technology. So too will games.


I’m passionate about games. And I think these features can often be helpful. But aren’t most of these gamification techniques missing half (or more!) of what really makes a game fun?
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