Gamification Stuff we Love: Online Games Literature

Gamification Stuff We Love: Coursera course: Online Games – Literature, New Media and Narrative

With a keen interest in both the world of learning as well as gamification, I stumbled across the Coursera program called Online Games: Literature, New Media and Narrative, which delves deeper in the world of some literary based multi-player games and the use of narrative throughout a game. The class is pitched as a University level English Literature class. As an avid reader and gamification expert, the whole concept simply appealed to me.

For me a great gamification campaign should also include a good storyline, the storyline is what helps to sell the campaign in itself and it can in it’s own right be an engagement factor. In the course links are made with Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and LOTRO and other online games. Students are encouraged to both read the book, watch the movie and play the games to learn the different kind of narratives that appeal in each of the forms of the same story. In my line of work I have used the movie Ocean’s 11 to develop a project management training for the media industry, because the joint storyline from the movie gave us a great project to play with.

What I find interesting in the course is that it fully integrates games as a medium for study, which for most university course is not necessarily a regular inclusion. It compares storytelling from books, movies and the game, it still gives you the typical conceptual discussion about the author, the storyline history and a number of game elements. The comparison looks at how each medium of communication may take a slight nuance in telling the story, yet all of them follow the same storyline.

In business I often hear that games are for play and not necessarily for business, yet a university level course like this, already challenges this idea. Most of us in gamification have this conversation on a regular basis and we won’t convince everyone, but having the examples linking back to the well accepted concept of literature education, which business accepts as a bonus for cultural awareness and staying up-to-date. So I believe it is refreshing to integrate the world of gaming into this and it will help all of us in the world of gamification to overcome some of the current barriers we encounter.

As with most MOOC courses I take part in I am going at my own pace and will complete when I have listened to all the lectures and have explored playing with the games. For MOOC managers if you can take away the time limits for qualification and let people run at their own pace, but prove knowledge among the way, I believe more people will complete and additional money can be made from the self-paced certification track, but that is an aside.

I am finding the course content interesting and enriching to build better story lines with a bit of history an culture built in as well. For me writing is another passion (I wouldn’t have committed to 3 blog posts a week otherwise) and I studied screen writing as a hobby, but it does help me to write a better gamification story line, when working with clients this helps in selling a concept. In fact most of us are sold brands this way through advertising for some time, so internal employee engagement following a similar pattern doesn’t feel out of sorts for most business people.

What is your favourite story that you have seen in gamification?


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