Last week, I had the opportunity to participate at Think Design Play DIGRA 2011, a congress in the city of Hilversum, Holland. During the three days of the event, many themes were discussed, among them: the main tendencies for the game industry, the use of games in education and politics, new interactive interfaces using game mechanics and the influence of violence in electronic games. I took part on a “advertising and games” panel, where I exposed some cases and concepts of games used in political campaigns, from a category called “serious games”.
I had the chance to participate in many panels and see excelent key notes, but it was during a presentation of Professor Espen Aarseth – a major figure in the emerging fields of video game studies and electronic literature – that I had the insight that led me to start writing on this blog.
Aarseth criticized the use of the term “gamification” in the present scenario, meaning that there’s much more in the term - we are forgetting some previous and extremely important concepts when we talk about inserting game mechanics in a non-game atmosphere.
In order to continue Aarseth’s argument, I propose a term to dwell on: "ludification", instead of "gamification". When we discuss "gamification", we are only talking about games, and I believe the idea is to go beyond that. When we use the word ludus – latin for “play” – we realize that the idea is to instert much more than just game mechanics for processes that are not games.
I believe that, when talking about "ludification", we are thinking of playful interfaces in a broader way. It can be a game mechanic, as well as a deeper way of telling a story. I can be common element to the language of games, like the rolling of a dice, as well as it can be a cartoon in a different context.
My point is that this is the century of playfulness, and more than just thinking of a way to offer games to a diverse audience, we should learn how to offer varied languages of entertainment – where the game is also inserted.
Now on to your opinion!