What Nitro Thinks: Super better


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“Super better”, the words sound like the start to a newspeak dictionary entry from 1984.

However, far from gaining a double plus good rating for conformity, it is actually an effort that dares to try and be different.

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What Nitro Thinks: Super better

  1. 1. It uses mechanisms, mostly from games, to motivate users. However it is not a game Super better is a tool that helps people to achieve goals. the creators deliberately avoid even calling it“gamified”, because of the negative connotations of the word.The creator opts instead to say that they consider it to be “gameful design”.
  2. 2. When the creator found herself experiencing asetback, as a result of a concussion that didn’t heal properly, she used her 10 years of experience as a game designer to turn her recovery in to a game. She came out with Super Better
  3. 3. Super better is a framework built around your motivation.It places goals and other game elements around it that you can use to strengthen it.
  4. 4. Super better is unlike other adventure games. It operates using quests, which when completed, award you points. However as the game is entirely imagined by the user, with enemies,quests and power-ups things internal to the user, the game is more like a log book accompanying an adventure and suggestions for thinking.
  5. 5. Super Better is neither a game nor a gamified application. Super Better is a tool to help you achieve goals.A Game is an activity separate from regular life; Super better is something that to work needs to be integrated in to real life. Gamification is the application of game mechanisms toactivities outside of a game, like progress bars for completing a social network profile. Super Better does not integrate itself or impose apparent elements over your activities.
  6. 6. Super Better labs reject the concept of gamification. “SuperBetter offers an alternative to gamification. Instead of taking the psychological hooks and operant conditioning from games, we use their deeply satisfying properties – things like agency, emotion, andimmediate feedback - to help people do what they really want to do: feelbetter, reach their goals, connect with others, and live with meaning. We call this a gameful approach to design.” The big idea here is that super better does not aim to incentivise action using extrinsic motivation, but provides a platform for people to explore their own intrinsic motivations.
  7. 7. Bartle’s game grid is a framework for looking at how games are designed to appeal to specific audiences.The “x” axis runs from People are players,“players” to “world”. doing anything with real people puts you on the left side.The “y” axis runs In contrast dragons arefrom “acting” to typically game“interacting”. elements, rather than other player, doing anything with them would be either actingWe’ve inserted on or interacting withsample actions. the game.
  8. 8. On the graph there are 4 types of players who can be appealed to by altering game features and therefore the relative size of each area of the graph.
  9. 9. Tipping the balance in order to appeal to a certain audience is merely a matter of increasing the types of features that appeal specifically to one user base. Weapons ChallengesCommunication Glitches and Easter eggs
  10. 10. Looking at the basic features, it’s immediately apparent that the game is designed deliberately to not attract people who want to act out on others, ie. there are no features to kill anything The most important feature of the game is that it allows the user to act of their world, this forms the bulk of the game, as in most games of this type.
  11. 11. While Super Better is marketed as a solution, built from the blood, sweat and tears of its creator, it is not unique.Other similar games and alternative modelsare out there, popular, and gaining acclaim fast. These fall in to the two main categories of: and
  12. 12. The Nike+ fuel band is a gadget for measuring your fitness.Nike standardises activity patterns and turns them in to an energy rating called “Nike+ Fuel”Nike provides the facility to create localised leader boardswith either their friends, or for people to join public ones.
  13. 13. Re:mission is an educational game which improves outcomes.It addresses the importance of:• Compliance with oral chemotherapy regimens and other prescribed medications• Prompt reporting of symptoms and side effects• Proper nutrition to increase the body’s ability to fight cancer• Anxiety, nausea, and pain management through breathing and muscle relaxation exercisesThrough randomised control trials it has been found thatre:mission improves:• Treatment Adherence• Cancer Knowledge• Self-Efficacy
  14. 14. *the conditioning of voluntary behaviours through a system of rewards and punishments.Created by Diabetes Hands Foundation and JoslinDiabetes Center with support from BoehringerIngelheim.Various missions help improve diabetic outcomes.The user is given points for completing missions, suchas:• Reducing salt intake.• Leading a more active lifestyle.• Taking the stairs instead of the lift.The game uses a form of “operant conditioning”* inorder to alter users behaviour. This is a goodmechanism for inciting short term change, but notlong term. As soon as the user is removed from thesystem they would no longer experience the stimuliof the changes made.
  15. 15. BiLAT is a game developed to simulate the real life situations that soldiers face every day.The problem the US army was experiencing was that soldiers were very well trained for combatsituations, and knew how to use a gun, but not howto efficiently deal with the mediation and conveningof meetings they would be expected to do on a daily basis with local leaders on the ground. The game guides the user through a series of situations.All situations are effectively researched with people on the ground and real situations that have happened are referenced.
  16. 16. Syrum is the new game, to be releasedsoon, by Boehringer Ingelheim.Although not strictly a serious game,gamification of a process, or anything with aspecific learning objective, it’s a prettymajor milestone for Pharma because it isthe first real, fully fledged social game thatany company in the industry has released.Syrum falls in to the context of seriousgaming. It educates people about drugdevelopment.
  17. 17. Super Better Labs is also not the only lab experimenting with using games for good. Companies, Universities, and organisationsinvolved in serious games, learning games and gamification. http://www.playnormous.com/ http://www.gamesforhealth.org/ http://www.seriousgamesinstitute.co.uk/ http://www.rtassoc.com/ http://ict.usc.edu/
  18. 18. While Super Better labs dispute their categorisation as such,they have created something that looks a lot like gamification to any observers.In the same way as anything else claiming to be gamification, it inserts a “game layer” over the rest of the world, for users of the game to use as a reference and guide for their activities.
  19. 19. Yes, the game is different to other pieces, because it does notbegin and end with set missions and the mechanisms are not from some stale “playbook”. The creators are correct in drawing a line in the sand, becausethe concept is stale and it does differ because this gets users to think differently, designing their own challenges, and narrowsits appeal to those who are likely to be changed and motivated by the experience offered.
  20. 20. The game has a nascent community of followers and is gathering media attention. Although Super Better approached the wellness game paradigm in adifferent way to most, allowing users to customise their experience and the game itself, Super Better is one of many. Ultimately it’s longevity will depend on whether users are successful inachieving their goals, and whether they choose their more general model over the more specific and prescriptive models out there in both serious gaming and other solutions using gamification.
  21. 21. Contact:Dan WinklerBusiness Analyst telephone +44 (0) 20 7148 6825address13/ 14 Archer Street, mobileLondon, W1D 7BD +44 (0) 7912 275 066website emailwww.nitro-digital.co.uk daniel@nitro-digital.co.uk