Badges are the Backup Quarterbacks of Game Design - Interaction 13
by Kunal Patel on Feb 04, 2013
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Backup quarterbacks are football fans' favorite players. They operate in relative obscurity, teeming with potential while the flaws of the starting quarterback are endlessly dissected. In a limited ...
Backup quarterbacks are football fans' favorite players. They operate in relative obscurity, teeming with potential while the flaws of the starting quarterback are endlessly dissected. In a limited role, their success is viewed in a bubble independent of their team's supporting role. Not surprisingly, once they are out of their familiar environments and thrust into the spotlight, many struggle to match their previous success. After all, It is much easier to give credit to a quarterback for completing a pass, but harder to spot the offensive linemen who blocked perfectly on the play.
Clients, marketers, and designers alike have fallen into a similar trap as football fans with “gamification” elements. While badges, points, and leaderboards can be used to create compelling digital products outside of games, how can we be sure they were the cause of success? Plenty of terrible games employ points and encourage competition, but what separates the good from the bad? As Interaction Designers, what are the deeper design systems we can learn from digital games?
This presentation is an introduction for how game design thinking could be applied to build better digital products. Case studies of successful games such as Pac-Man, Super Mario Bros., and Canabalt will be paired with contemporary UX precedents to demonstrate how both disciplines attempt to solve the same core problems.
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