- In chronological order, the first session was Thor Muller's (of Getsatisfaction) and Buster Benson's (of HealthMonth) session "Gamechanging: Turn Your App into a cooperative game", which also started the trend of conference games by tasking all audience members to reseat themselves in birthday order in 5 minutes -- and that was only the first of a planned three games. You can find the audio below, as well as a writeup by Buster himself. As a player of HealthMonth, it was good to hear Buster unfold the design thoughts underlying the platform and match them with my own assumptions and experiences.
The most-often repeated quote from this panel came from a blog post by Jay Parkinson, pediatrician and preventive medicine specialist with the mission to redesign health care:
"Most health solutions aren't medical, they're social."
Which of course applies to many other domains beyond health.
- Next up on my list (in no particular order) is Stephen P. Anderson's brilliant-as-always session "Long After The Thrill" (which some might recognize as a heavily extended version of his Interaction 11 talk). Essentially, Anderson grounds his thinking on games in the psychology of intrinsic motivation, suggests an actual design model/process in the making, and leaves with a word of caution wrapped in the Kano Model: "Seductive elements" like these currently fall in the features category of "delighters" – providing added valued, but not required, and in and of themselves insufficient to ensure long-term usage and satisfaction. Read: You still have to build something useful and usable. Amen.
- Close on his heels is Aza Raskin's "The Behavior Change Checklist. Down With Gamefication", which basically elucidates the design thinking behind his startup Massive Health: Create tight feedback loops or what he calls "the behavior change cycle: data to meaning to action to seeing a change in the data."
- (And if you're interested, they just raised money and are hiring. See below.)
- This will come as no surprise to frequent travellers in all things gameful: Jane McGonigal's talk "Reality is Broken" won best talk of the event, and was, as always, a splendid and much-needed battle cry. If you don't want to wait for the slides to appear on her slideshare account, I suggest you find a way to download the audio below and listen to it on your mp3 player during a nice spring jog.
- Another quote dominating the SxSW gamification twittersphere came from Gowalla CEO Josh Williams on his "Future of Location" channel (audio not up yet, good writeup below):
"Gamification isn't cool. You know what's cool? Story is cool."
As long as someone invents a better word than "storyfication", I couldn't agree more – in the sense that story is an inherent and as-of-yet mostly overlooked part of good games.
- And yes, of course, there was the big keynote by SVNGR "chief ninja" Seth Priebatsch on "The Game Layer on Top of the World", again with a little (well, big) cooperative conference game in it.
- To sprinkle a healthy dose of realism in, in his session "Flexible Morality of User Engagement & User Behavior", Dan Ariely basically confirmed the old truth that people are as likely to cheat in games and online as anywhere else.
- In "Game On: Design Patterns for User Engagement", Google senior designer Nadya Direkova gave a nice overview of some design principles that can be gleaned from games. Audio below.
- The final conference game I spotted came on the last day of SxSWi at the "1up! Games for Change" panel with "Tweet a Tree!".