The Gamification of Gaming

I recall the days when my brother and I would gather around our original Playstation and duke it out. Not with our fists (although that sometimes happened), but with our gaming skills. His dominant genres were always Racing and Shooter games, but I kicked his ass in other games like Tekken and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. There were no outside pressures, no need to keep track of who was winning more games than the other overall *cough* even though it was me *cough*. It was more a case of “I’m bored. Army Men 3D?” to which the correct response was “Righto, why not.”

Them graphics.

Them graphics.

Because we were blessed with an awesome and generous older brother, we had a chipped Playstation, and hundreds of copied game discs, so there was no shortage of options. We’d drop a game in, have a few rounds until one of us got sick of losing, or until both of us got sick of the game, and we’d then try a different one. But that’s all it was; playing games because they were fun, and some short-lived bragging rights. Going solo, if I thought a game was captivating enough, and that it was easy enough to accomplish, I would go for 100% completion. All the best times, all the collectibles. If the game was just okay, I would move on. No point in wasting my time over it.

Now, in my mid-20s, I’ve noticed a big change to the way many of us play games. Continue reading

You Should Totally Play: Anti-Chamber


Anti-Chamber is what happens when puzzle game designers strip away all tradition, get drunk, and decide to see how cruelly they can mess with gamers’ heads. Then, when they sober up the next day, there’s a hint of remorse as they patch over it with a few words of inspiration on the walls.

To be fair, their minimalistic game design it expertly crafted, to bring highly innovative challenges which really make you think. Much is based on perception and pre-conceptions. You may wander down a hallway, stop and turn around, only to find that the way you came has totally changed. You may also look a little closer through a viewing window, step back, and find yourself transported into a different room. This is all completely seamless, which messes with your head that much more.

This game teaches you that trying something new will be rewarding. It almost always knows which way you’ll tackle a challenge first, then give you one of many reassuring messages alluding to the task, or life in general. It gives you motivation to try and try again, in different ways.

And you will want to, because finally overcoming a challenge that left you stuck for ages, makes you feel like the smartest man alive! I will admit that I sometimes asked for help from a gamer friend smarter than I, but I implore you to hold out on walkthroughs for as long as possible. It would ruin the rush of completing the harder puzzles.

The lack of story and strange ending might remove you from being enveloped in the experience, but that’s not what it’s all about. It’s about overcoming bizarre and difficult puzzles not like any other game out there.