by Gabe Zichermann and Christopher Cunningham
People enjoy computer games – therefore if you turn non-game things into games, everyone will be happy. That’s the idea, and that’s what this book is trying to tell you. But (and I guess you saw that BUT coming) the argument is not convincing. The authors describe in depth (and then in more depth) the techniques that games use (e.g points, levels, badges, power-ups) and then gives examples of non-game games that use these techniques. But (!) imho they are not very good examples.
Take for, instance, Four Square: does it make me want to use (play?) it because it gives me quirky badges? Ok, to be fair I am not your typical gamer – I liked Lemmings and SimCity – but my thoughts on gamification are that it can be a powerful tool to engage people who are not your typical gamers, and I think this is where the book fails. The last 2 chapters, a tutorial on programming a points/badge website, are out of place here and would have been happier on the associated website.
Curiously, I expect books about games and gaming to be enjoyable reading; the reality is that they are all too often rather dull (A Theory of Fun being a notable exception). I’d give the book 3 stars because it really made me start to think about what systems and processes could really benefit from gamification (see my main post on here), though I think that would have happened if I had read a good article on the subject.
Review by Richard VahrmanTags: Gamification