A Competitor


Its night in the forest and quiet except for the trill of a single bird calling for its mate, begging to be answered, but my attention is focused elsewhere.

I have dug my staff deep into the ground and tapped into the deep vein of energy that pulses underneath Webland.  Some speak of the Web’s source as if it is alive, even going so far as to give it a name and attributing feelings to it. Here in the forest, I use the trick taught to me by my father. I use it to light-up the darkness.

The wooden seams in the staff writhe and glow giving off a soft light against the darkness of the dense trees. In its light, I am crouched over a rough diagram sketched out on a rolled out piece of paper.

Three legs north, then another one, one and a half tops diverted to the west. The marks detail the route I’ve planned to use to reach the white fortress. It draws out a plan of skills I hope to gain by fighting my way through the forest and the milestones I hope to cover between here and reaching the Gammify 2013 challenge. 

  • Leg 1: Player Types, Motivation and Ethics of gamification
  • Leg 2: Game Mechanics and Gamification at Work
  • Leg 3: Collaboration and Social Good Gamification
  • Leg 4: Flow and Gamify Life
  • Leg 5: Compete in Gammify 2013

When I clambered up one of the trees two weeks ago, I saw the white towers jutting out from the forest up ahead. It seemed so close. I could almost make out the tops of the red iron gates and straining my ears I thought I could hear the clatter and noise of the competitors gathering in front of them.

7 weeks lie ahead of me, just 49 days till I will reach my goal.

My heart races at the thought and I trace another two lines into a column. I look over the gameplan drawn with its bold ambition scrawled across the parchment . My eyes search it, trying to squeeze out another secret angle I could use to train harder, learn faster, but no matter which way I study it, it gives me no further comfort.

I sigh, sit back and rest my head against the trunk of a tree. Above me, I glimpse a few of the Web’s stars between the black canopy of leaves and branches and they shine strangely against the yellow light given off by the staff.

I close my eyes and the light seems to fill the space in my mind. In it, I see the rows of competitors I will face. I picture them spread out in front of the tall red gates of the fortress, flexing their muscles and flourishing their skills with precision and power.

Competitors for Gammify 2013 just limbering up for Round 1
Source: goodfon.org

I admit I am as excited about seeing the competitors taking up the gamification world challenge, as the competition itself. I imagine them as characters called from the far corners of Webland; game players, games designers, UX designers, organisational experts, psychology students, marketeers, social media specialists, developers, and who know’s who else.

I believe the gamification field is still in its infancy. True the hype has attracted a diverse and large range of people, but there are few who would really claim to ‘know’ what it takes to be a successful gamifier. Everyone is searching, learning and testing. The organiser’s open call has set the stage and I dream that those who come to play will bring their own unique histories and perspectives to the field.

I hope to see the competition lit up by ideas and players each with their own unique flair and special moves. To see how they play out their hand and luck on the day under the pressure of a live competition.

And then there will be me. I feel my excitement  turn to nausea at the thought. The paper filled with all my carefully laid plans lies at my feet and in that moment it looks too thin and flimsy for the weight of the hopes it carries. As if at any moment it might blow away on the wind and become little more than a half-forgotten dream.

Why do I compete? What will I bring among those other competitors?

A question for my next post.

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