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The new episode of the Future Human Podcast is Gaming Normal, and examines how videogames are changing the way we work and consume.
Throughout human history games have been used as a tool for educating, conditioning and stimulating the human body and mind. When we enter into a state of ‘play’, we can become highly creative, bold and irreverent. Yet in contemporary mainstream culture, videogames have all too frequently been characterised as a corrupting diversion.
As mobile devices and game consoles soar in popularity though, an increasing number of entrepreneurs are learning how the mechanics of play can be used to incentivise workers, increase productivity and reward consumers. Subsequently a plethora of new ‘gamification’ strategies are being put into practise, such as sales teams who use digital leaderboards as motivational tools and apps that turn dieting into a game of challenge and reward. The potential benefits to our job satisfaction and health management could be huge.
But is ‘gamification’ just a fad, or a truly lasting revolution in the workplace? Which companies are getting the formula right? And what can we learn from the way our brains behave when we’re playing?
Addressing these questions with host Jack Gwilym Roberts and Future Human’s Ben Beaumont-Thomas are Adrian Hon, the founder of the game development company Six to Start, and the novelist and games writer Naomi Alderman. Together, Hon and Alderman co-created Zombies, Run!, a successful iPhone fitness game that invites players to enter an audio narrative where they must run to escape a zombie apocalypse.
They discuss how game structures and storytelling techniques can be used to motivate individuals, how poor game design can demotivate workers, and how the next generation of experiential games could come to be influenced by the practises of religious organisations.
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