Game Mechanics, Bwah Hah Hah!

by Jeff Cobb

I hadn’t intended to follow my long dry spell on writing about games with two game-related posts (or two TED videos) in a row, but the Marketing Over Coffee guys mentioned the following video with SCVNGR CEO Seth Priebatsch (@12 minutes), and it sounded too good not to explore and pass along. It also happens to be a great follow up to my previous post on learning to save the world by playing games.

Seth says in his talk that he doesn’t want to lose competitive advantage by revealing too many of the game dynamics that SCVNGR uses, but you can actually get the entire Secret Game Mechanics Playdeck over on TechCrunch.

I’m sure I don’t have to point out to the average Mission to Learn reader that this is powerful stuff from a teaching and learning standpoint. The ability to wield influence – which is what these dynamics are all about – has always played a significant role in effective teaching, and skilled learners should be able to recognize and manage influence. Of course, as social networks become more and more pervasive, the importance of these abilities multiplies dramatically. At a minimum, we need to be able to recognize game mechanics whenever and wherever they are used, and determine whether the intent behind them is for good or evil. Yet another layer of complexity in the massive, multi-player game of life.


P.S. – If you have not ever read it – or haven’t read it lately – I highly recommend Robert Cialdini’s Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. As far as I am concerned, it should be read in high school, college, and multiple additional times throughout life.

posted on September 8, 2010

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Madeleine Kolb September 17, 2010 at 9:22 pm

Hi Jeff,

I second your recommendation to read and reread Robert Cialdini’s book. I once wrote a post about his account of how to get people to help you if there’s an accident and people aren’t helping because they don’t see other people helping.

Amazingly enough a reader had recently read that post and came upon an accident when he was out walking. Noone was helping because noone elser was helping. The reader immediately told people what to do–get an ambulance and so on–and they did as he bid.

It’s a fascinating book and could possibly even save your life.

Jeff Cobb September 21, 2010 at 7:05 am

Madeleine – That’s quite a story and a great recommendation for Cialdini’s book! Thanks for commenting. – Jeff

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