Life is hard and then you…play

Games are part of our culture, all of our youngsters play them. But why? First of all it’s nothing new, really it isn’t. Humans have played all kinds of games for thousands of years. Not only humans play, animals do it as well. Look at little kittens, they play through their first months of their lives. Even when they grow up, they won’t stop playing. It’s more or less the same with humans. In our childhood we played hide and seek, or tag and many other games. Some of us played war games, that could be recognized as a role playing game. So, if you played war games, dressed up like a cowboy, or knight, you where larping. Yes, you too! In our homes we used to play all kind of card and board games. Not much changed. Kids today play video games, these games just evolved. So when the former generation says: “we don’t get it why those kids play so much!”, they just have to think about their own childhood.

In all honesty, games evolved big time! It’s unbelievable how dynamic and realistic they are. Compared to any other industry it’s amazing how fast this one innovates. That’s why these games are so appealing to our kids, young adults, adults and even seniors. Games aren’t the new normal, they are the old normal. Modern games are just irresistible and more importantly they are a welcome escape from reality. Many people don’t handle reality that well nowadays. Reality is complicated, which has an impact on people in general. Some can’t find happiness, or can’t stop consuming, or aren’t able to make a decent earning, or fail over and over again, or lost the love of their live. Many of us simply don’t feel appreciated. That’s why we desperately want to escape from reality.

It seems only logical that we infuse the things we love about games into reality, so that we appreciate life more. A very simple philosophy if you think about it. By doing so we will bring back play into our lives, where it belongs. Believe me, there is a reason why we did it when we were children. Within our culture grownups aren’t supposed to play and that’s a big mistake. By playing we allow ourselves to: have fun, learn, cooperate easily, not give up without a fight, get an energy boost. In which case we don’t need to escape from reality that often.

Is it too bold to state that Gamification (the infusion of game elements into anything) can increase the quality of life?

 

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16 Comments

  1. Great article….However I don’t think games can improve the quality of life because in a game you can re-do things until you are satisfied with the situation. Yes even games can be frustrating, think of a stage that you just can’t get passed… Even though it makes you upset you still play because you know you can do it and you can try as many times as you want until you get it right but how could you apply that to real life? I suppose someone can say “you just have to believe in yourself” but some people don’t believe that but everyone believes that a stage can be passed in a game… Perhaps if we could apply gamification completely to life like the the situation I just mentioned then maybe it would improve the quality of life since we would all believe its possible. But hey maybe some people actually have techniques they use to “gamify” their lives….anything is possible.

    • Horst Streck

      Thanks for the compliment and your reply. I get your point, it’s my believe that we should be allowed to fail sometimes in real life. Just as in games their will be a lesson learned. I am not thinking about a huge change in the quality of life, but imagine that your work will be more fun by using gamification. That should help, don’t you think?

      • I agree with you…too bad we can’t apply gamification to a larger scale for example the whole planet (even a few people is challenging enough)…I suppose it would make a positive difference. As humans we need to find ways (if they exist) to achieve this.

  2. Melissa

    It’s a great article. Unfortunately with some of the games that have been modified some of the exercise and interactivity got lost during the modification process. For instance playing tennis on a Playstation, Wii or a computer is not the same as playing it on a court, even with motion sensors. You also won’t get the exercise you would if you were playing on a real court. But the fact that games can sometimes help us escape reality is a major point and I think through a bit more research and improvement we can advance further into a gamified world.

  3. Horst Streck

    Thank you for your compliment. I agree with your comments. About playing Tennis on the Wii, you are right, but I think that is been played by a lot of people that would never play the real game.

  4. I totally agree that games evolve. From olden day cops and robbers to modern warfare… just with greater graphics and takes you further into your imagination. Video games is so effective in providing a way of escape from reality. Does Gamification improve quality of life? I say yes! If everyone took out their frustration and anger with a mini-gun on a bunch of inanimate zombies it is going to leave them feeling much much better.

  5. I agree with what you are saying but there could also be a down side in that if one plays too much then they could become distant from the outside world and possibly lead to health complications (some youth in the USA for example). I have to agree with my buddy above but i must also say, being a gamer for most of my life, it does not only reduce stress as it could also introduce new stress. For instance, when i play in the top tier of League of Legends, there is always one person that cannot contribute to the team and that leads to a loss and anger towards the other player. We then report them and they get removed from the tier, for us this is good but for that player it gives them a lot of stress and negative emotions. so from my point of view, its not always good in terms of stress but to escape from reality, that is always good

  6. I agree that it serves as a great break away from reality, more so with games that allow free roaming where you can do what you please. I’v often found it great to get your mind off things that would be stressful. It does though make one feel like coming back to reality to be a little less gratifying. Couldn’t that be a little more sad than the escape from stress because one can’t escape reality?

  7. Lothar M

    I agree with Prahiel to an extent. Sometimes stress does escalate through the frustrations of not completing an impediment as one might desire. But as in reality those obstacles are attempted with no preparation ,thus creating the frustration of completing an obstacle without being satisfied. Therefore the gap between the animated world and the real world isn’t as large as presented.

  8. Trishen M

    I believe that it is indeed possible for people to enhance their lives by incorporating games into it. Gamification can be applied to any manner of things and is a technique that will definitely be applied much more commonly in the near future.

  9. What would happen when the game becomes the source of frustration. Where will we the exert all our stress?

  10. The incorporation of games into our daily lives would be a big bonus, because you are taking the hard and daunting daily tasks and making them easier and much more intresting. The problem comes when the game itself no longer solves the problem at hand.

  11. Mpho Mapee

    I agree with the article in terms of gamification assisting in the upbringing of children, but it can not be the only strategy used to build a child.
    I believe children need the basic traditional learning more, as it sets the foundation of education for future reference to other strategies.
    With both traditional learning and gamification implemented to the education system, success will be the future!

  12. Gaming for me means that I’m doing something for fun, even without expecting any rewards. While there are lots of things that I wouldn’t want to do, but I’ll still do it to get something that is necessary. And there are also things that I know I should do but I don’t them because of my ‘mental blocks’. Gamifying things would be a great help to get people do what’s good for them (if they resist to do it the normally), like in the old video where they turned the stairs into a piano to motivate people using stairs instead of the escalator.

  13. Dagre N

    Great article which emphasizes a lot on the importance of playing games and, in general, in the gamification sector which is gaining popularity day by day. However, many people even nowadays are narrow-minded and unwilling to search and explore anything new to them. I wish that in the following years the younger generations that are entering the business market, at the moment, will “build” on these innovations and will not stall, in a way, this evolution.

  14. Games have been a big part of many cultures for a long time and now the only difference is the way it is presented. When it comes down to the it, video games now are no different form any other activity that keeps us occupied during our time off.

    Just because it has taken on a new form does not mean it cannot be used in a way that can help not only ourselves but also help our society in ways that were previously impossible. If we utilize this potential that Gamification proves it can improve the well being of others that may not even be aware of it.

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