The toy that changed my life.
The day I solved a Rubik’s Cube is the day I saw the world differently.
I bought a Rubik’s Cube at Value Village for $2.99 Canadian. It took me seven days and an instructional book to solve a cube just once. It took me another couple of days to memorize the algorithms but since then, I can solve a cube in just a couple of minutes from memory. To some, this is a neat little parlour trick used to impress but to me, this really opened my eyes to the world of gamification.
What is Gamification?
Gamification has become an everyday exercise for me. In the simplest form, gamification or gamifying something is about adding game mechanics to things that don’t utilize them already in order to motivate some sort of behaviour. Think about it: If homework was a fun game would you have been more motivated to get it done? If work was fun how would Monday mornings feel then? From businesses to learning institutions, and even everyday people, gamification is becoming common practice and for good reason.
Some quick examples of gamification could include:
- In class jeopardy. You learn the material while you compete against others for points and rewards. Effectively studying without really studying.
- Taking a boring tasks like doing the dishes and racing against the clock to see how fast you can get it done.
- Loyalty programs that have you collect stickers and redeem them for free stuff is gamification in business.
See the world as a game.
My favorite place during that first week of trying to solve the Rubik’s cube was the bus to and from school. Generally my mood after one hour of bussing on two different busses for one trip to school was annoyed and my energy levels would be very low. But once I started playing with the cube everything that annoyed me about bussing seemed to disappear. Even my energy level was higher once I got to class. The Rubik’s Cube was a distraction. It occupied my mind and all of a sudden the act of taking public transportation to school wasn’t so exhausting and actually became very enjoyable. In terms of motivation, my attendance to class even increased because bussing didn’t seem so exhausting anymore. (Think about it. Two hours of bussing for a one hour class? How motivated would you be?). I immersed myself into this puzzle and all of a sudden the way I thought was different. I started seeing the world as a game.
Now some might say this is unhealthy but hear me out. I’m not crazy or anything. I’m not ignorant to the serious issues of the world. But very simply, I now see the world as people trying to complete their goals by using a set of mechanics and following a set of rules. I was terrible at math and I had just started a calculus class at the time of solving the cube. What was an overwhelming subject became a challenging task that was simply about using a set of mechanics and following a set of rules to get to the end goal. I failed my first two tests in calculus. Since then I’ve had a midterm and two tests and a final. All of which I aced. The class ended up being one of my highest marks.
Why this blog exists.
I’m not saying gamification is the end-all be-all but, it works for me and I would definitely recommend just an attempt to gamify things for a more enjoyable experience and simply to achieve motivation. With this blog we hope to spark and inform you on the world of gamification. Everything from businesses who use it to motivate employees and customers, regular everyday people who use gamification to motivate themselves and others, as well as ourselves and how we use gamification. Ever since I solved a Rubik’s Cube I’ve looked at the world a little differently. Maybe with a little help from us we can help you see the world differently too.