American Business Embraces ‘Gamification’

Business GamificationGaming is big business — and vice versa:

Play to win: The game-based economy

Companies are realizing that “gamification” — using the same mechanics that hook gamers — is an effective way to generate business.business ….

JP Mangalindan @ cnn.com

Via Slashdot, whence this thoughtful comment:

“Gamification” is a fuzzy description of operant conditioning. Anything with a bit of intelligence (dogs, parrots, maybe even sheep, and certainly humans) are wired to get a little jolt of pleasure after successfully negotiating a crisis situation. It’s how we learn. What games do is short-circuit this by providing lots and lots of crisis situations, and providing the player with ways to get through them and win, and get that little burst of success-feeling. Some people are seriously susceptible to this kind of shenanigans and spend all their time enjoying their imagined success at Farmville. Others do the same thing climbing the corporate ladder and running companies. In that case, of course, it’s not imagined success, it’s the intended result of how we’re wired, operating in a complex social environment. In any case, it’s an essential system for learning in humans, and while it sucks that people are getting really good at twisting it to manipulate other people, it’s still vitally important and ubiquitous.

smellsofbikes @ Slashdot

My two cents? To borrow an old adage for a new ad age:

God sends Farmville; the Devil sends more Farmville.

Caspian Learning Launches Simulation-Focused Web Deployment Tool

Caspian Learning is now offering development tools for web-based simulations, including first-person over-the-shoulder view in 3D worlds:

Thinking Worlds editor

Simulations and serious games created using Caspian’s Thinking Worlds authoring tool may now be accessed online via Shockwave and Java, obviating the need for game-specific browser plugins.

The new functionality is made possible thanks to a recent core Thinking Worlds update integrating Java Applet and Java Webstart development. Java deployment will be available to all Thinking Worlds users in the next version release.

Thinking Worlds logo“Java technology is present in almost all of the world’s corporate and military networks,” notes Lee Rushworth, Marketing Executive for Caspian Learning. “Having the ability to rapidly create and publish simulations into these secure networks without the need for additional 3rd party plugins removes another huge barrier to the widespread adoption of simulations for training and performance within these sectors.”

Danny Cowan @ Serious Games Source

Now there’s an interesting observation: “Java technology is present in almost all of the world’s corporate and military networks.”

Burlington, Vermont: Art Hop 2010

If you’re in the Burlington, Vermont area, check out Art Hop 2010:

A creative mix of art will showcase the talents of Champlain College students, alumni, faculty and staff during the 18th annual South End Art Hop on Sept. 10 and 11, 2010.

Showing during the weekend … a movie featuring Game Art student work from Amanda Crispel, Champlain College’s program director of Game Design, and Game Art and Animation.

Champlain College’s Emergent Media Center will showcase its new online game Breakaway, a collaborative project with the United Nations and Population Media Center and its Google Map project in partnership with the City of Burlington.

Champlain College Partners With South End Art Hop @ Champlain College

Trailer for Breakaway! – Chapter Two:

Warren Spector on Games as Art, Epic Mickey

“Games are an art form. I proudly wear my scarlet letter — A for art!”

Warren Spector, keynote speaker at PAX 2010

Warren Spector is lead developer of Epic Mickey, a videogame that is “part of an effort by The Walt Disney Company to re-brand the Mickey Mouse character by moving away from his current squeaky clean image and reintroducing the mischievous side of his personality.”

Screenshots from the opening sequence: the sorceror retires for the night …

Epic Mickey

Mickey faces the consequences of his actions:

Epic Mickey

I was fascinated by Fantasia — especially The Sorceror’s Apprentice — at an early age. So yes, I’m curious what Epic Mickey has to offer.

The Exterminator’s Want-Ad

The Exterminator's Want AdThe Exterminator’s Want-Ad is a wickedly clever short story by Bruce Sterling (one of my favorite writers) about a dystopian future where political prisoners are sentenced to role playing games. Here’s a taste, for inspiration:

When we weren’t planting beans in the former back yard, or digging mold out of the attic insulation, we had to do rehab therapy. This was our prisoner consciousness-building encounter scheme. The regime made us play social games. We weren’t allowed computer games in prison: just dice, graph paper, and some charcoal sticks that we made ourselves.

So, we played this elaborate paper game called “Dungeons and Decency.” Three times a week. The lady warden was our Dungeon Master.

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