09.19.12

What is the emotional cost of gamification?

Gamification can help motivate us to do boring things, whether it's working out or engaging in social media. Over at Bit Creature, Lana Polansky explains how gamification is great for motivating us, but can detach us from emotions and feelings that make life interesting.

We simply can’t have experiences like Spec Ops: The Line or To the Moon or Journey—or hell, even DOOM—without appreciating the uncertainties of war, or the despair of profound regret, or the sensuality of wordless intimacy, or that which frightens us, and makes us feel vulnerable.

This is where the notion of the game as a kind of messiah becomes problematic. By creating strategies and approaches which “gamify” life, we forget that the superimposition of games onto life actually serve to detach us from what it is we are doing. We become fixated on getting the tank [or acheivement or level-up], perhaps, even when in the back of our minds, we know that things are not quite right around here.