Being Playful

I went to Toby's Playful 2010 conference the other week. This is what the programme looked like:

You also got this neat little notebook from Field Notes, and a pencil. Both of which I actually used. For writing actual notes too - not doodling.

One recurrent theme of the talks was 'gameification' - which someone (I forgot who, sorry) defined as the Venn of loyalty schemes, behavioural economics and game design. More simply, you could describe it as the trend of adding-badges-to-everything.

Generally, gameification was derided as A Bad Thing by the speakers, it being a blind following of a gaming trend without really understanding the underlying dynamics. That said, I felt a tension between the Proper game designers and people interested in more lightweight 'playful' experiences.

There was lots of useful stuff too. Such as the presentation by Jonathan Smith, who talked about the trade-off between open-ended "unlimited possibilities" gameplay and "being told what to do", within the context of the Lego video games, which turn a toy system into a more-or-less linear game.

A good day then. But if you want to see a more granular view of which bits I liked and didn't like, you can view this handy graph: