How to Gamify a Birthday
I recently celebrated my 24th birthday. It’s an awkward time in a young adult’s life where you are too old to do young people things and you are too broke to do adult people things. Luckily I just so happen to have the most amazing friends a guy could ask for. As a big surprise they gamified my birthday. Now this isn’t a post about profit, business, engagement or loyalty; this is about everyday gamification and how engaging and fun it can make life.
Here is the story of my gamified birthday:
The Journey Begins
June 13th, 2015; my birthday is actually on the 9th but a Tuesday just isn’t quite sexy enough. I knew that my girlfriend Marissa and my good buddy Trevor were planning something special but I had no idea what to expect or who to expect. When we arrived at Trevor’s place I was anxious and excited all at the same time. I could never have guessed what would happen to me when I walked through his door.
“Traden!” a booming voice greeted me as I entered the living room; Requiem for a Dream playing in the background. “You have been summoned to embark on an epic quest.” I looked to Marissa who was smiling bright and I looked back at Trevor who was reading from what looked like a pretty thick script. I just couldn’t believe what was about to happen. I was about to embark on an epic quest.
The Game Mechanics
I was handed a card that told me my adventuring name was Traden and that I was a level one paladin. I had stats such as strength, which determined how much damage I could give and take; intelligence; which helped in solving riddles and negating magical attacks; and charisma, which allowed me to charm my fellow companions into giving me clues.
I was equipped with a dice that allowed me to attack, defend and make decision based on my roll. I was also equipped with some “healing potions” which tasted a lot like beer (they were beer). Now that I was fully equipped and I knew the rules, we set off on a grand journey throughout the city of Ottawa.
I began to realize what this all really was; a role playing game scavenger hunt pub crawl; just amazing. My first riddle lead me to a book store, which I frequented in my high school days, where a magical tome (it was a Twilight book) told me of a place that would help me in my quest. This lead me to the Comic Book Shoppe, a popular destination for nerds and geeks a like (I’m both a nerd and a geek). Both were places that Trevor and I had visited often which was a really great nostalgic twist to the story.
Speaking of the story, it was at the Comic Book Shoppe that an evil wizard named “Societor” was introduced as my nemesis. I had chosen a tome (comic book that I really wanted to buy) which would lead me to my next destination, and Societor turned it into a really crappy comic book that I had no interest in like a jerk. It was then I knew where my journey would take me; to the desolation of Societor.
From bar to bar we met up with more and more adventurers who gave me clues to my next destination. These were all of my friends and the group that began with just three ended up growing into ten of us. Between bars I did battles with trolls, bandits, nymphs and an earth mother (whatever that is). Once slain they ended up dropping loot such as The Crown of Basildor (which was a girly princess tiara) and the Staff of Righteousness (which was a star shaped light up wand).
My final challenge was to sing a power ballad at karaoke in front of forty people and a very excited cross dresser. Trevor and I belted out Don’t Stop Believing by Journey and we were obviously a hit. So much so that Societor challenged me to a final battle.
The Final Battle
One thing I should explain is that I’ve never had a piñata. As a running joke for a number of years now I tell Marissa how much I’ve always wanted a piñata and she delivered in a big way. In the final battle Societor appeared as an Iron Man piñata who I beheaded with a single strike of my Hammer of Might. Candy rained down for all the adventures and order was restored to the kingdom.
The night was embarrassing, exciting, fun and amazing all at the same time (and about eight hours long). I’ve never heard of an RPG pub crawl scavenger hunter before and I’m hoping it won’t be the last time I partake. My friends all gamified my birthday and made it an engaging and immersive experience that increased the loyalty amongst all of us adventurers (I said I wouldn’t talk about this stuff but here we are). Big thank you to all who participated in creating a Bud Light commercial of a night.
Gamification can be more than just a business application; it can create engaging experiences in everyday activities. From FitBit and fitness to making a simple to-do list, progressing through it and rewarding yourself, gamification creates fun; and who doesn’t like fun?