This is my first blog post on gameful and I have to say I'm pretty excited. I watched both of Jane's TED talks and I believe she is onto something big.
About myself: I am a game designer with about five years of experience in the industry. I have worked freelance and as a lead designer for some PC and console games (check my linkedin page for details). Eight years ago, I left the industry to become a professional poker player. That second career was quite successful as it has brought me financial success and a lot of freedom, but it has also left me somehow dissatisfied and without a real sense of purpose.
About 18 months ago, I was introduced me to Jane's book and conferences and it was like a revelation. I worked on a project for a few weeks and while it was eventually scrapped, it felt like I was born to do this: find a problem and build a game around it that generates the solution.
In this first blog post I would like to share a few thoughts on game design methodology that would aim to have a positive outcome in the real world.
Here's how I see things at the moment:
An example of that in Jane's book was how people analyzed a ton of scanned documents to uncover the corruption that plagued a portion of the british parliament.
I believe that approach can be systematized and applied to a lot of other problems. Here's how it would work:
Here's an example of an idea that I have had for quite some time and that could *potentially* resolve a very real problem.
Every year, several children disappear. They either flee from their homes or, much worse, they are abducted by child predators.
I like in the UK so I looked up http://missingkids.co.uk/ . While their website is reasonably well-made, it fails at providing an incentive for people to get actively engaged (besides just "trying to help"). Regular people feel powerless with this problem. Of course, the police is actively searching for these kids, but their resources are scarce.
This is where gamification comes in. As Jane has said, games can empower people.
Now that we have a problem, what kind of data do we need that would help solve it?
The UK has a very wide CCTV system (street cameras) that record hours and hours of video. These kids are very likely to appear somewhere but when can the police find the time to comb through the nation's whole CCTV archives in order to trace their shortcomings?
Gamers have that kind of time.
New problem: watching video surveillance is BORING. There is no way we are going to spend valuable hours sitting through videos of people on the street. Unless we make a game out of it.
Here's how it could work:
I know there are many challenges with this idea. Could we recover all that data legqally? And process it the way I describe? I am a game designer, I wouldn't know if that works or how to do it, but there are people out there who are experts of image processing. Maybe they can see a way to make this work.
Anyway, this is one of many ideas that I have that revolve around the same principle: find a problem, identify data, crowdsource its processing and look for clues that lead to a resolution.
I hope you enjoyed reading my first blog on gameful and welcome any comments or suggestions!