Values

Because I actually have none of them.

A while ago I tweeted something like: I strongly believe that in the not so far future we will set our political differences on the UN by playing Mondern Warfare matches.

I did tweet that; if someday I found the tweet I will edit this post. Seriously.

The thing is that, even when I know some people share my wishes, a lot of them denies that possibility due some reasons I don’t completely remember. And I don’t remember them because I found a fundamental fallacy on those reasons: they are putting a price on human life.

When some people say that thought of yours is naive/stupid/impractical/whatever what they are actually saying is: you can put a price on the issue at hands and use human lifes as a currency to settle it down.

That just fucking stupid.

Compared to the value of human life, a piece of land in to be invade or oppressed and a Modern Warfare match have about the same value. As simple as that.

Why don’t we settle down our issues with the simplest solution them? a LAN party or something like it.

All of this came to my mind because I’m working right now in a gamification project (more on that later), and I realized that this movement is being heavily criticized not by this intrisic philosophy, but due a big flaw in the way most of the people is putting it in practice: they are not studying the core aesthetics of the issue at hand, they are just creating a layer of progression in top of it.

In general, the intrisic values in the activity that is being gamified are ignored. Is exactly the same argument I use in the beggining of this post: putting a price on human life is forgetting the intrinsic value it has. And I’m not saying it is an easy thing to do the contrary, I’m saying an major effort is neccesary if we want a better world, whether gamification is involved or not.

If we as designers can’t avoid this fundamental flaw, both in the critics of my thought and the gamification movement, then nothing about the world is gonna change for good. I’m trying to do so while I took part on this project I’m working on.

I strongly believe that someday we will settle down our differences by playing Mondern Warfare matches. I really do. The naive thinking is not in taking that thought so literal at the very beggining, but in thinking that human life is the only currency at hand to solve all of our problems.

We can change that way of thinking. How? I don’t know… yet, but if you watch carefully an entire economy is right now supported by virtual farms and upset birds, an economy totally comparable with a lot of countries economies; how far are we to run our major world issues on that very fact?.

This first experience in gamification is giving me a lot of thoughts about my own projects and gaming in general. As soon as I can, I wil share more of this experience with you.

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5 Responses to “Values”

  1. Rafael Polanco (@animetronic) Says:

    As usual, I enjoy reading your blog, and leaving my two cents (which I guess, is the whole point of speaking in public).
    Anyway, As I told you before; I find the concept of “gamefication” or “ludifying” (is that a word? if not, I totally call dibs on the authorship) quite interesting, for solving problems, say, practical problems, or at least problems you can define by a set of rules (IE: math)
    The core issue is that we like to feel good, hedonism, pleasure, is the single most pure engine to human activity. Allow me to elaborate.
    When we play a game, we find satisfaction in it, a reward, maybe an inteletctual one, a virtual reward (trophy, high schores, achievements) or a physical reward (money, prize). That give us pleasure. Then again, you might play games for the social component, interacting with other people, hanging out with friends and making fun jokes about how they suck ass at FIFA, again, pleasure.
    Therefore, I think it’s logic that if you turn what can be seen as tedious or boring (ehem, working, research, experimenting) into something fun and pleasurable (games), productivity will increas, and satisfaction, and that is good on both accounts (also, you can tap into an inmmense resource which is the gaming collective, but that’s another issue)
    Now, as usual, this has limits, and it comes down to human life. While i think that the idea ofresolving major issues over a game of MW, or idk, Madden, is attractive, I think it is not to be.
    Not because of value, but because of will.
    As long as there is people with the will to up the ante, risk what is more valuable (life) over an issue, there is gonna be war. Simple as that, specially when a great deal of humanity has nothing to bet/lose but that, life.
    Why accept the logic results of a game, when intuition tells you that you can shoot the other and take the price? now, that’s an interesting question.
    cheers.

    • nicolailobachevscki Says:

      I’m not saying that gamification is an answer to everything, that would be stupid. I’m saying is a valuable tool.

      If you could make an avatar and its virtual goods and relations to the virtual environment so valuable that the human life it represents can be ignored, then you have protected that very life. Kill the avatar instead. And sorry, that’s (fortunately) happening as I write.

      On the other hand, a game is an abstract representation of a human life corner. If I want to show what war is like to someone I have to options: take that someone to a war or… take him to a movie. Or make him play a game. That’s your answer.

      Sorry for taking too long to answer.

      Thanks for the comment.

  2. dskzero Says:

    Actually, that’s a long-winded wet dream for the dystopians. That said, gamification or however you spell it is anti-thesical to the core concept of gaming as a whole, but then again, “gaming” as a concept is a pure marketing term, so is gamification.

    Color me interested in your project, though.

    • nicolailobachevscki Says:

      I had a bad time trying to understand what you tried to say. Seriously. If you can be more specific I will be glad to share my thoughts with you.

      If I got it right, you said that gamification is not the same as games as we are used to know them, which is actually true; that doesn’t mean it is against or far (in any way or manner) from any concept we would use to describe or study games in general.

      Gamification is just a method to make games, games from a source or raw material different than the ones we usually get games.

      Sorry for taking too long to answer. Thanks for your comment.

      • dskzero Says:

        I don’t think “gamification” is a “desireable” branch of “gaming”… but then again, I think we have different concepts of “gamification”. You say it’s a way to make games from a different starting point, so to speak, while I feel it’s more of making a game out of something else.

        Perhaps I’m wrong though. I’m gonna pester you about it later . (or in another blog post)

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