I know my Mom has been waiting for the moment that all those games I played as a kid and now as an emerging adult to pay off, and this might be close to that moment. “The Walking Dead” video game, released as an app as well as a console game, offers a unique style of gameplay. Instead of a normal adventure game where you would wander through a zombie infested town, the game plays more like a story telling game. Most of the actions are done automatically, what the game offers you are choices. Choices of what to say, what to do, and the characters in the game react to your actions. Not only that, but they will remember what you’ve chosen to do in the past, and the story unfolds based on the decisions you make. It’s sort of like a choose-your-own-adventure video game, except you can’t flip through the pages and find the ending you want. It puts the onus of responsibility on the user and requires your proactivity, as opposed to the user reacting to the game.
In the discussion of gamification, how to add a level of competition to innovation, I wonder how we can better incorporate – or take into account – user choice. Competition is a necessary tool that increases the participation base, and incentives users. But choice could be the tool that keeps people coming back. Getting people to participate in a platform is one hurdle, the next, and in my opinion the largest hurdle, is getting people to participate in a platform on a daily basis with minimal falloff. If people saw their choices play out in real life, and saw how their choices effected daily life around them, I believe they would be more inclined to use that platform on a regular basis.
For example, a tool that brought people into the legislative process, and also gave updates on a regular basis based on their participation – so if a bill gets a certain number of “likes” or “whatevers” that are community driven, the legislator votes a certain way – then people would feel a more direct connection to the process. Competition can get people involved, choice might be the key to keep people involved.