London Games Festival


This weekend sees the arrival of the London Games Festival, celebrating computer and video games across London for the next month.

OK, it’s a bit more video-gamey than gamey-gamey, but there are some events for non-gamers, such as the Board Game Camp, which will be looking at what makes good gameplay and how to design a really playable game from the basics up, so might be a good ‘un for you board-gamer/social-gamer types.

And while we’re on the subject, you might have seen the recent article in the Guardian about gamification – the way of incorporating games into life and awarding points to stimulate certain types of behaviour. (ie an app that awards you points for creativity, spirituality, etc).

Essentially, according to the writer, Naomi Alderman, it’s a lost cause,: quoting PhD student Sebastian Deterding, she says that, ‘all these sites offer is a way to “trick ourselves” – if we’re not motivated to become more spiritual in the first place, a game mechanic will make us even more alienated from ourselves. Moreover, says Deterding, “play is one of the last recesses of useless and enjoyable behaviour” – we shouldn’t use it to motivate work.’

“In fact,” says Alderman, “using play to motivate good behaviour might be like using sex purely as a form of exercise. You run the risk of losing everything that made the thing worthwhile in the first place.”

Fair point, I say. I love games, but don’t think they should be shoehorned into life willy-nilly. If you do, you really suck the fun out of everything.  I don’t need forced fun; I just want to piss around with some mates.

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