gamified play

What feels like an eternity ago, gamification was the hot buzzword of the day, and it was mostly met with vague confusion and disgust to my recollection? Some people disagree and remember it fondly. OK. But in my memories of my circles, gamification was shiny and cool for like a week and then spiralled downwards: how crass, that someone would use our tools of joy for tricking people into any number of things. (Tricking kids into learning what we want them to learn? Tricking adults into exercising? Tricking people with money into parting with their money? TBH at the time I wasn't paying attention, really, to what people were doing with gamification, only the gamification itself.)

I like figuring words out for myself and teasing out the hidden meanings that I unintentionally ascribe to them. In this case, I've been attached for so long to the idea of being a person who makes (mostly video-) games, and as the discourse around what games are shifts, so does my sense of self as a creator or, if I dare, an artist.

Today I realized my idea of what games are is gamified play. That is, games (as I see them, or saw them) are suffering from gamification, but the thing they are (and have been) gamifying is the act of play. So if games are gamified play, what if I'm a... I don't know, a play artist? Someone who makes playable art?

Today's big conclusion is "I want to make games without gamification," and if I've got to attach a word to that I've been thinking of just calling them playables.

This article is my 5th oldest. It is 270 words long