There were almost 20 sessions today at the Gamification summit – and the quality ranged from OK to excellent. In my opinion, the most interesting sessions were, in chronological order:

  • “The Future of Gamification is Emotion,” by Nicole Lazzaro, President of  XEO Design. I’d seen some of this material before on her website and in presentations on the web, but it was great to hear her in person, and to see again her very straightforward “Four Keys To Fun” model. It seems to me that if you are thinking about gamification (or making games) you need to learn these four keys and apply the concepts.
  • “Come for the Game, Stay for the Community: Building and Sustaining Lasting Engagement Online,” by Dan Porter, CEO of OMGPOP. In a very funny and profane talk, Porter described a number of the gamification-related learning that arose during Draw Something’s rise. His points aligned very well with Nicole Lazzaro’s, and illustrated the importance of really paying a lot of attention to fun, and how your users can have fun. Of course, Draw Something *is* a game, not a gamified app, so it had *better* be fun!
  • “Monopoly Academy: Winning the “Game” of No Child Left Behind through Gamification and Monopoly, the World’s Most Famous Board Game,” by Tim Vandenberg, Teacher at Hesperia Unified School. Tim uses Monopoly as the primary teaching tool in his 7th grade math class, which has, since he started this pedagogy, not only crushed the state test results, but also generated some very highly skilled Monopoly players who are competitive with nationally ranked professionals.
  • “A Game Designer’s View of Gamification,” by Richard Bartle, Visiting Professor at the University of Essex. Bartle is the originator of the player type concept of Achiever, Explorer, Socializer, and Killer, as well as the co-creator (according to Wikipedia) of the original multi-user dungeon (MUD). His funny and erudite talk focused on different approaches to dividing people up into types, and how many of those approaches are not useful for gaming (because they don’t focus on the different ways people have fun). And he noted that his player type categorization is probably not the best one to be found. He used it because it worked for his purposes, not because it was the optimal one.


About the author

Your host and author, Nils Davis, is a long-time product manager, consultant, trainer, and coach. He is the author of The Secret Product Manager Handbook, many blog posts, a series of video trainings on product management, and the occasional grilled pizza.

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