En el siglo pasado los videojuegos eran tan solo videojuegos y nadie pretendía hacerse más inteligente, atlético o mejor ciudadano por entrarle con ganas a la Atari, Spectrum o Commodore 64 (en mi caso). Después vinieron años de lenta maduración de la industria junto con sus usuarios, todavía geeks, cada vez más entrados en carnes, culposos o no tanto, hasta que finalmente le ganaron a Hollywood y su lógica de puntos, desafíos, niveles y recompensas se metió hasta el tuétano en nuestra vida.
Nike, como siempre, pica en punta. Ya no vende accesorios deportivos sino dispositivos para convertirnos en personajes de un videojuego. La Fuelband promete ponernos a todos a correr para competir con los demás o con nosotros mismos:
The bottom line is that the wristband isn’t just a step counter or even a calorie counter. "We wanted to create a universal currency, so that you always get credit and are aware of how active you are," says Ricky Engelberg, Nike+'s director of user experience. "It’s not about reps or laps. This an index of everything you do." Thus, no matter if you ran one day or played tennis another, the idea is that Fuel will be a universal currency allowing you to see how much you’re progressing towards a bigger goal: physical fitness, rather than just exercise or working out.
During the day, you can constantly check in with it. That one detail makes the Fuelband not only a gadget, but a game. It means it’s far more likely to nudge your behavior ever so slightly--by say, encouraging you to walk instead of taking the subway, or showing you how far behind you’ve gotten on your goal after watching football for four hours. "It’s about tiny behavior changes," says Engelberg. "Over a week and a month and a year, it adds up." To build in even more motivation, the band and app register streaks--the number of days you’ve hit your goal. The app also allows you to share your goals and streaks via Facebook and Twitter. (Fast Company).
En la misma línea puede leerse la nueva tarjeta de beneficios para incentivar el uso de las bicicletas que está siendo testeada en Londres:
By introducing the ‘BikeMile’, an ‘Air Mile’ system for bicycles, PleaseCycle allows brands to incentivise cycle journeys with everything from cheaper coffee and cycle gear to lower health insurance premiums. Several major employers are already using the system to gamify commuting to work, offering rewards such as free holiday time or donations to charity. (The Pop-Up City).
La educación es también terreno fértil para estos cruces. En Chicago están impulsando un nuevo formato de escuela con potencial francamente revolucionario:
The middle school, dubbed the “video-game charter school” by locals, opened last September, on the heels of its sister school, New York City’s Quest to Learn. Both use a curriculum based on game theory, design principles, digital media, and “challenge-based learning,” as Salen describes it. Rather than settling for the default view that teaching is a matter of providing the knowledge that will get kids through standardized tests, challenge-based learning drops students into complex problems that they solve—often collaboratively—through a series of missions sequenced over a ten-week period. Challenges typically combine disciplines, such as Digiton’s use of math and English-language arts, and call for complex problem-solving skills, systems thinking, initiative, feedback, and empathy.
Salen sees a “terrible misalignment” between how kids are being educated in our teach-to-the-test culture and the demands of colleges and workplaces. “Some kids have become excellent at taking tests and at being passive recipients of information: ‘I don’t have to think; the teacher is going to tell me what I need to know to pass the test,’” Salen says. “They’ve never been put in situations where they have to solve problems, think on their own, or be in charge of their own learning. So they go to college or into jobs, and suddenly their manager is asking them to solve something, and they have no skills.” (Metropolis Mag).
La tercera edad (¡y hasta la cuarta!) constituye una franja etaria cada vez más importante para nuestras sociedades. Vivimos más tiempo y queremos hacerlo bien. Aparentemente los videojuegos pueden darnos una mano en esta materia:
It's that last item that most interests psychologists Anne McLaughlin and Jason Allaire at North Carolina State University. The duo are part of a team that was just awarded $1.2 million from the National Science Foundation to fund a four-year study of cognitive decline in the elderly — specifically, whether playing certain video games might help slow the effects of aging. The theory is that the strategy, memory and problem-solving skills necessary for mastering certain games may translate to benefits in the real world, beyond a glowing computer screen. (Time).