The urge to play is in all of us

At six November 2012 I had the pleasure of giving a talk about gamification at the Games for Health Europe conference. Realizing that a lot of people still don’t know what it implies, I decided to give a presentation about gamification in general trying to inspire people. According to the reactions I achieved my goal. One of my topics is: “gamification should imply fun.”

Still there is a lot of confusion about fun, it is a much broader concept than most people think. Fun is, according to Johan Huizinga (a Dutch historian and one of the founders of modern cultural history), an absolutely primary category of life, familiar to everybody at a glance right down to the animal level (Wikipedia: fun).

Fun is also subjective. We all pretty much know what it means, but two different persons don’t experience it in the same way. One may like it; the other may not. Most programmers have fun writing code, something a musician find hard to imagine. Bottom line: fun can be found in many things in many ways by different people, but the result stays the same. We enjoy it and it gives us energy.

I found a youtube video which I used in my presentation. I used it because it inspired me. It appeals to something that all people want to do: “play.”

Humans have the urge to play and this is very well expressed through this video. When asked who played the imaginary games in this video all attendees of my presentation raised their hands. Please watch the video yourself and let me know if you played one or more of these games.

To conclude, if we have the urge to play, why not use it in a positive way. Provide play in our daily activities and turn it into fun. It has a positive influence on our: productivity, health, satisfaction and energy level. Gamification can make it possible.

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  1. I thought I was the only one who played the scythe game!

    • Horst Streck

      No, not by a long shot :) I didn’t play that one, but almost all of the others.

  2. HAHA that’s an awesome video. I’m a med student at University of Central Florida and I just started a research project on the gamification of health care and it’s potential role in treating childhood obesity. Any suggestions on where to locate resources. I just got my hands on all of the articles from that new Games for Health Journal. Thanks!

    • Horst Streck

      Hi Brian, Someone came to me with a nice game against obesity. In my opinion it still needs some work, but the idea is very good. Interested? Then feel free to contact me.

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