chapter  4
31 Pages

Gamification and Suggestion Technologies (Kairos) Beyond Critique

WithSteve Holmes

In Chapter 3, I examine the use of affective design through new Foggian techne, such as amplification in a traditional videogame genre of FPS games. Yet, as I note in examples such as BioShock and Destiny, many FPS games still retain many other conventional features, such as narrative, that are not entirely reducible to this game mechanistic’s influence. By comparison, this chapter’s case study explores an entire genre of commercial videogames that are constituted entirely by a designer’s efforts to shape habits: gamified habit-shaping apps. In general, gamification refers to the use of digital or non-digital traditional game signifiers (badges, points, levels, missions) in non-game contexts. Delta airline’s Frequent Flyer rewards program is an example of gamification. While many serious and persuasive game designers seek to use game mechanics as a means to explore a political or cultural problem in a new way, gamification typically grafts game elements onto existing and well-defined real-world problems to try to motivate and reward activity. As a result, gamification, more so than any other gaming genre, takes behavioral reinforcement as its exclusive object of interest.