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Treating life as a game

2 min read


So we are all incredibly lazy, there is no doubting that. Somehow, I can justify spending 8 hours straight grinding in a JPRG, forcing my characters to train and then train some more. Meanwhile, it is a mission and a half just to make myself eat a salad and get to the gym!

It seems developers have picked up on our innate laziness, as well as our drive to get characters to level up. Enter programs to “gamify” our lives.

The most established of these so far is Fitocracy. As the name would imply, the focus is fitness. There are a variety of quests, achievements and badges to be earned, not to mention plenty of levels. With hero status, you can even challenge others to duels. In essence, Fitocracy is designed to harness the addictive quality of gaming for people trying to get fit.

The newest of these is this (fully-funded) Kickstarter, HabitRPG. Not only can you use this for fitness, it also applies to all habits and activities – from taking the stairs to drinking enough water. Succeeding in your goals or habits will earn you EXP, while failing will make you lose HP. Again, there is plenty of leveling, as well as armor and mounts.

Neither of these seem to have much of a storyline or plot to their games, although presumably our lives are supposed to provide those. Still not sure how long I would grind in Final Fantasy if there weren’t a boss to fight or a trophy to gain.

Mashable has even jumped on this bandwagon with an entire section devoted to gamification. There, they define it as:

Typically gamification applies to non-game applications and processes, in order to encourage people to adopt them, or to influence how they are used. Gamification works by making technology more engaging, by encouraging users to engage in desired behaviors, by showing a path to mastery and autonomy, by helping to solve problems and not being a distraction, and by taking advantage of humans’ psychological predisposition to engage in gaming. The technique can encourage people to perform chores that they ordinarily consider boring, such as completing surveys, shopping, filling out tax forms, or reading web sites.

A quick google of gamification will show it is becoming the new business buzz word – everyone wants to seem fun, hip and exciting. Users and clients are being approached as players.


I get it – society has finally realized that gaming is awesome. Now leave me alone to grind on my JRPG!

Last Updated: April 29, 2013

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