I have been using Habitrpg.com for about 2 weeks now and what started out as a way for me to track my progress towards competing in Gammify 2013, is quickly spreading into all areas of my life.
Vitamin taking, exercise, meditation, writing, organising that conference trip and so on. The tasks, aspirations and good habits I want all stack up on the board and puts the life of my little pixel green character on the line. Miss too many of my daily habits and the life bar whittles down dangerously. So I forgo the pleasure of a real-life reward, fight the bad habits and resolve to do better.
My adventure in Webland has a face now and often a cute pet companion too.
From what I’ve learned so far on gamification I can see why it works. I have creativity and ownership of my character through small customisation choices, the visible progress bar gives me instant feedback, the rewards provide a short term focus and with the basic party system there is some gentle social pressure and support available.
So is my life now a game?
Not quite. The one thing missing from Habit RPG currently is the ability to construct my own story. I still do that here and by doing so somewhere in my mind the line between my digital self and online one is blurring.
Reality. Its one story. The one we’ve been telling ourselves for a very long time, but stories can be re-written, even the ones we’re living and breathing right now.
The tasks that leads me towards the Gammify 2013 competition could just as easily be mapped in a schedule or to do list, but my head doesn’t want to work that way. The story doesn’t engage and surprise me. Instead I imagine the trail I must travel in the deep forests of Webland. A quest that has an unknown ending and a story yet to unfold.
The power of a good story is in the experience. It transports us into a world where we believe something, anything could happen. People have visceral, real reactions to books, films, TV shows. We talk about stories that changed our lives. Yet few of us ever turn the readers eye in on ourselves. We take the lessons learned, the emotions wrought from those other adventures and at best ‘transfer’ them back into our lives.
What would happen though, if there was no line between the stories and us? If we blurred it or rubbed it out completely. What if we were brave enough to throw ourselves into our own imaginations?
For the rest of the week, I’d like to share some of my favourite examples of exactly what I’m talking about.