Comic #23 : "Gamerfication"
Wednesday 17th April 2013
First time I have done a "big" panel, which I did by drawing the individual pictures separately in Sketchbook Mobile and then arranging them on my PC. Autodesk, hurry up and support larger canvases on the software. Also, a select/lassoo tool and copy/paste functionality would be useful.
On to the topic at hand, Gamerfication is actually a very interesting concept (and far more complicated than the description given in this comic) that does actually aid productivity if done correctly. Done badly and it will be just as badly as most achievements in games, that just drag people along rather than help them enjoy what they are doing.
The guys at the excellent series "Extra Credits" did a did an excellent video on Gamerfication and you should definitely check it out.
As for achievements in games, they are something that are deservedly sneered at by most. Not because of the concept, but because of the implementation. As a concept, they are a great addition to games, but most games (and I mean, like 99% of games) implement them badly.
Most games give you achievements for reaching parts of the story mode and completing the game. Or for finding every collectible, or using a weapon X number of times. These are terrible achievements. I shouldn't need to be bribed by achievement points to want to continue with playing a game, playing the game itself should be giving me the sense of satisfaction to want to continue. Achievements should be used in such a way to make you explore the game in a new way.
My favourite game for achievements is the Orange Box. It had achievements for "doing Ravenholm only using the Gravity Gun" or "carry the garden gnome from the start of Episode 2 to the end of Episode 2" - these (particularly the second one) were very challenging to do. They were like challenges set within the game and made you play the game in a new way. I wish more games would do things like that.
Yeah, give gamer points for completing the game, and completing it on hard etc... etc.. But don't make this like 50 gamer points. Make it a token amount as proof you have done it. The satisfaction of completing a difficult game on hard shouldn't be the big haul of points you get for it, it should be the bragging rights and sense of accomplishment. If the only motivation a player has for slogging through a game on Insane difficulty is a big haul of points, then that means the game has been reduced to a chore, a grind, something the player isn't actually enjoying doing.