Dec 29, 2010


Zamzee is another system (not unlike S2H) that gives out prizes for physical activity. I hope you can get candy from it. Or at least, a stick.

Dec 21, 2010

Disney Patents Interactive Cakes

Now you can have your cake and play it, too! I'm stoked that some of my former students, (Bei Yang and Modupe Adeleye) are on the inventor's list! And of course, so is their mentor, the nefarious Dr. Evil himself, Mark Mine. I knew he'd find his way into the Gamepocalypse sooner or later! Thanks to Mk Haley for the tip!

Dec 17, 2010

Word Lens

Augmented Reality + Language Translation + Magic!
There's a game in here somewhere! Who will find it first?

Dec 15, 2010

The Gamification of ... Everything?

Margaret Wallace, CEO of Playmatics, made a nice article out of a recent talk she gave.

Dec 9, 2010

Speed Camera Lottery

A new creation from the previously mentioned Fun Theory (sponsored by VW) -- get free lottery tickets for driving the speed limit! Thanks to Kyle Gray and Francisco Souki for the pointers!

Dec 5, 2010

Gamasutra: Jesse Schell Speaks

A more newsworthy headline would be "Jesse Schell shuts up", since that seems to happen so rarely nowadays. Christian Nutt (real name) interviewed me in a delightful cafe in Montreal, and then transcribed what I said verbatim, which makes me sound kind of like a moron, but it is certainly true to life.

Dec 3, 2010

The Email Game

A company called Baydin has created a plugin that lets you make a game of keeping your inbox empty. Read an article about it here, and sign up for the beta here. Thanks to Carlos Shin for the tip! Wait... inboxes can be empty?

Dec 1, 2010

How Videogames are Infiltrating -- and Improving -- Every Part of Our Lives

This Fast Company article is actually called "Everyone's a Player" in the print edition of the Dec/Jan. Adam sure did his homework on this one -- lots of new gamification stuff in there -- and this may officially be the creepiest picture of me ever, and that's saying something!

Nov 30, 2010

Zynga now accepts American Express Reward Points!

Why not celebrate the 100th post of Gamepocalypse Now with a wedding between the real and virtual worlds? Zynga and American Express are connecting their currencies! Do you have American Express points you don't know what to do with? Now you can spend them on virtual cows you won't know what to do with! Dean Takahashi has all the details here.

A big Gamepocalypse Now set of best wishes to the happy couple! I'm sure we'll soon hear the patter of little feet! Horrifying, horrifying, little feet.

Nov 27, 2010

Gamification Needs to Level Up -- Here's How

A high level article talking about pros and cons of attempted gamification. Thanks to Amy Jo Kim for the tip!

Nov 26, 2010

David Rowan's Gamification Report

David Rowan has prepared a report for NESTA (UK's National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) about Gamification. It contains a nice overview and some good examples. Wired UK feature here, and actual report here.

Nov 25, 2010

TSA's Playful Tweets

You know how I'm always saying that communication in the world is getting more playful? Error messages, bank advertisements, I mean, sometimes that's nice, but sometimes, it goes too far. I mean, the only thing kids are going to have left to rebel against is stupidity. Gah! What if that's the plan??

Old Navy in-game virtual store

Old Navy has put a link to their online store in a virtual store, partly as a promotion for their real store... uh... nope, I'm lost. Anyway, you can read more about it here, and you can try it out in Crowdstar's It Girl game on Facebook.

Man, I can't believe Clara Bow sold out like that.

Nov 18, 2010

Everything is Intelligent

A cute comic about the downside of disposable computing. Thanks to Drew Davidson for the tip! This one is relevant, too.

Nov 17, 2010


So -- Crowdflower is a labor on demand crowdsourcing service. What does that have to do with the Gamepocalypse? Check out this article about how you can perform crowdsourced tasks and get farmcash in exchange! Thanks to Bobby Schaetzle for the tip!

Nov 14, 2010

Mobile Phones to Diagnose STDs

I have wanted to pee on my phone many times, but now there's a good reason! The race to make a game out of it is on! Thanks to Steven Ramirez for the link -- I swear that's all he gave me.

Can't Play, Won't Play

Great Post from Margaret Robertson about the ugly trends of so-called gamification. Thanks to Geoffrey Chew for the tip!

Nov 13, 2010

The Future of Virtual Characters

Unite 2010 / Keynote - Part B from Unity3D on Vimeo.
I was part of the keynote at Unite 2010. It was a super fun conference -- David, Brett, and Christian made all kinds of cool announcements! I think Brett's scarf made him nervous. Skip to minute 6 to hear my talk. I tried to make an edit that was just me, but my edits all came out blurry. Christian Nutt was kind enough to put a good summary of my talk on Gamasutra, if you like reading better than listening.

Nov 5, 2010


Kinect is here, baby! And as usual, Penny Arcade sums up the situation nicely. Everyone's been talking about the gesture stuff, but no one's been talking about the voice commands. I continue to believe that voice commands, that is, having a dialog with inanimate objects, will become a distinguishing mark of the twenty-teens. Yeah, you heard right -- I'm calling this decade the twenty-teens. Hey Kinect -- stop looking at me.


Want to put your iPad on a mic stand because somehow you are turning your musicianship into a game? Now you can! Thanks to Mk Haley for the tip!

Nov 4, 2010

The AppDroid Apocalypse

Great post from Steve Peterson about a different kind of Gamepocalypse. Hard to argue with, and he doesn't even mention cloud gaming. Thanks to David Shaver for the tip!

Nov 3, 2010

True Ventures Poster

I did a talk recently about "keys to gamification" at the True Ventures camp (slides visible here), and Sheryl Nigro was kind enough to make a poster of it while I was there.

Oct 27, 2010


Another amazing presentation from Sebastian Deterding, something of a sequel to his also amazing Just Add Points talk. I wonder how much longer before people start to get it..?

Oct 23, 2010

My Gamerscore is 1,650, and I've Never Felt Better

An opinion piece from Matt Helgeson at Game Informer. Click picture to enlarge, or read this web friendly version that Matt put up.

Gamestop PowerUp Rewards Pro

Yo dawg! I put a game in your game store so you could play a game that lets you win games while you're buying games!

This program gets a special award from me for its use of the word "Pro." Apparently, "Gamestop PowerUp Rewards" wasn't enough... if you spend $14.99 you are part of "Gamestop PowerUp Rewards Pro," which, apparently is SO rewarding, I can quit my job!

Oct 15, 2010

EA + Dr. Pepper

How did I miss this?? All this year, if you buy Dr. Pepper, you get codes you can use to get free virtual items in all kinds of different EA Games ... it's kind of complicated, as you can see in the FAQ, but, there it is!

Oct 9, 2010


Want to give people badges for visiting your website? Try Mojo!

Oct 4, 2010


Earn virtual cash for surfing the web, taking surveys, spamming your friends, and promoting SwagBucks! It's like green stamps that you get for wasting your time! You're gonna waste your time anyway, you're on the Internet. Might as well earn this cat makeup set for only 299 SwagBucks.Thanks to Sierra Cook for the tip! Meow!

Reporter's Roundtable

CNET Reporter's Roundtable did an interview about Gamification with Dru Wynings of Reputely, David Feinleib of Mohr Davidow Ventures, and Gabe Zichermann, author of the book Game Based Marketing. Has some great points, and is a great overview of the concept.

Sep 24, 2010

OnStar + Facebook

Onstar will soon offer a service that will read you your facebook updates while you drive. Read about it here on Can spoken word "car gaming" be far behind?

Sep 23, 2010

Walk to School 2010

WoW used to Stand for World of Warcraft -- now it stands for Walk once a Week! Karl Bunyan turned me on to this UK program that gives kids collectible badges for walking to school. The program is here, and Karl's thorough blog entry is here.

Sep 16, 2010

Map of the Decade

Solving society's problems is now a game -- check it out at Map of the Decade. Thanks to Alex Pico for the tip!

Aug 31, 2010


Do you like EpicWin, but hate medieval fantasy? Check out GoalMafia. "GoalMafia: Execute Your Goals."

Aug 28, 2010


You've seen lots of "get rewards for exercising" programs by this time -- but Earndit is different -- it is a meta-system, that can pull data from many different systems. Will the Gamepocalypse feature a weird hierarchy of reward systems? Of course! When you use your credit card at the grocery store and get both frequent flier miles and gas points, you're already doing it! Why not get Nike points *and* Earndit points *and* Fitbug points *and* RunKeeper points *and* level up your pokemon *and* get points for whatever ends up sitting on top of Earndit at the same time?

Aug 22, 2010

The Game Layer on top of the World

Cool talk from Seth Priebatsch about gamification mechanics. About 12 minutes.

Aug 18, 2010

Visions of the Gamepocalypse - video

The video of my Visions of the Gamepocalypse talk is up -- nice editing job! There is almost two hours of goodness here, but click "Watch full program" if you want to see it separated out into chapters and everything. Want to play it like a drinking game? Drink every time I say "frickin'" or "awesome." Chug when I say "Frickin' Awesome."

Aug 14, 2010

SMBC Theater: MMO

Haw! The Gamepocalypse, indeed!

Aug 11, 2010


Intrinsic? Extrinsic? Ultrinsic! Want to place bets on what grades you'll get? Now you can! It might even be legal! Thanks to Ian Schreiber for the tip!

Aug 8, 2010


Foldit has been getting some good press recently. Want to play a game that might actually help real scientists? Do you like 3D representations of proteins? Do you like playing games where you are really not quite sure what you are doing? This might be for you! The creators have done a magnificent job at making an extremely peculiar activity seem somewhat intuitive through a great step-by-step playable tutorial.

I had the pleasure of meeting with Adrien Treuille, one of the creators, not too long ago, and he mentioned that a DNA game might be next... and then the Gamepocalypse will be in our genes!

Aug 7, 2010

Vive Virtual Health Coach

Vive is a virtual health coach for your smartphone that gives you challenges, rewards, reminders, and tips. There's a lot of these, but this one seems to have pretty high production values, and is well thought through.

Aug 6, 2010

Virgin HealthMiles

Virgin HealthMiles is a system that companies can purchase, that gives points and rewards to employees who exhibit healthy activities via digital pedometers. What can I say that this corporate website doesn't already say? Like:
Virgin HealthMiles’ Pay-for-Prevention™ model creates a culture of prevention that not only rewards the notion of personal responsibility in adopting the right behaviors, but aligns your company interests with those of your employees to drive down lifestyle-related health care and productivity costs. This approach demonstrates true proof of performance with validated activity and health data, enabling you to ensure rewards are earned for actual performance. Your company also benefits from real-time reporting, which details measurable improvements in the health of your workforce and the impact of your overall wellness strategy.
 Thanks corporate website! But what rewards do my employees get?
Your employees will earn points – we call them HealthMiles – for increasing their daily activity and reaching key milestones. As their HealthMiles accumulate, they’ll proceed through a series of five predetermined levels. Every program is different, but if your organization would like to offer incentives to your employees, levels are the milestones at which cash incentives are awarded.
Do I have to give them cash?
Many organizations choose to implement our HealthCash system that allows employees to earn gift cards to major retailers, or cash to spend as they choose. If you’d prefer to offer health insurance premium discounts, HSA credits, something else or nothing at all, we’ll work with you to design a program that motivates your employees as effectively as possible and as you deem appropriate.
Am I doing this because I'm an awesome boss? No way! I'm doing it to save myself money! Check out the calculator on the front page that tells how much I'll save by manipulating my employees into good health!

Aug 5, 2010

Tooth Tunes

This isn't a game, per se, but it is a weird way to make toothbrushing into entertainment. The idea is that you should brush your teeth until the song is over. I'm for anything that vibrates my jawbone. And, seriously, there is a Napoleon Dynamite edition.

Aug 4, 2010

The Fun Theory

This cool website is all about taking ordinary things, making them more fun, and using that to improve people's behavior. Can fun experiences get people to stop littering? To stop speeding? To recycle? To clean their rooms? In the anecdotal tests shown here, it looks pretty effective -- but how much of it is novelty? Will the effect persist after several months?

It would be easier to take all this seriously if it weren't an ad for Volkswagen.

Aug 3, 2010

Game-based Marketing

I wrote about this book on my other blog, but it is highly relevant to the Gamepocalypse, so I'm cross-posting it here.


The future of tabletop gaming just got cooler -- with Madgets! Thanks to Ryan Hipple for the link!

Aug 2, 2010

Marlboro Miles and Camel Cash

These cigarette promotions are no longer offered, but they are worth studying. Were they cancelled because they weren't working, because people acclimated to them, or because they were working too well? Are new ones with better game mechanics in the offing?

Aug 1, 2010

GPS Detergent Boxes

In a novel advertising campaign, some boxes of Brazilian detergent Omo will contain Lojack-like GPS devices, so the ad agency can show up at your house, and give you a prize. It gets big points for being effortless, and even more points for being creepy. Thanks to Tom Guarriello for the tip!

Jul 31, 2010

Visions of the Gamepocalypse - podcast

I delivered my SALT (Seminars About Long-term Thinking) talk for the Long Now Foundation. I think it went well, though I ran a little long! It was super cool to be able to hang out with Stewart Brand, and Kevin Kelly, and all kinds of other incredibly smart people. You can download an iTunes version here, and an MP3 version here, and you can download the slides here if you want to follow along while you listen.

A video will be available soon, but you may need to be a member of the Foundation to see it. You know you want to join! I'll post when the video goes up. Video is up now!

The Data-Driven Life

This excellent article about the psychology of self-measurement came out back in April, but I only got around to finishing it now. It is full of thoughtful discussion with people who self-measure, why they do it, and how it affects them. And on top of all that, it reinforces my belief that caffeine is a scam.

Jul 25, 2010

MoLo Rewards

How does MoLo Rewards work? Attach an RFID tag to the back of your mobile phone, and poof! You can get rewards, coupons, deals, and participate in a treasure hunt! Rack up MoLo points, and cash them in with the loyalty catalog... Like, say, a 55 inch HDTV, for only 3,900,000 MoLo points! Hmm... let's see... a $10 Amazon gift card is 10,000 points... so each MoLo point is about a mil. Anyway, there are lots of companies trying to turn shopping into games -- but this RFID angle is certainly a new one! It certainly gets high marks for needing low effort for the consumer -- just tap your phone on the counter when you buy something. The Gamepocalypse just got one day closer!

Jul 24, 2010

Cash Gordon

Here's a tale of a British political game that gave "action points" for helping to campaign -- and ended very, very badly.

Jul 23, 2010

Belgian Urinal Game

Yeah, you go, "capital of Europe." Two Belgian guys have made a two-player urinal videogame that gives new meaning to the phrase "pissing contest." I know what you are thinking -- once again, women are ignored by a male-dominated industry. But don't worry, ladies -- the inventors say that a "specially designed paper cone" will let the ladies get in on the game. Don't say we never did anything for you, ladies.

And I know what you are thinking. Monzy invented this first. And you're right. But it took Belgium to make it two-player.

Jul 22, 2010


Akoha was way ahead of the crowd in the gamification of everything. Challenge yourself and your friends to get points for doing nice things. I'm always a little embarrassed. I mean, shouldn't I be doing nice things just to be nice?

Jul 21, 2010

America's Army

An oldie, but a goodie. Your tax dollars at work making free videogames that recruit teenagers into the army. Cheaper than TV commercials, and much more effective at seducing recruits who actually stay with the army long term. It's win-win-win!

Jul 20, 2010

Gabe Zichermann Funifies Facebook

and Fedex, and Amazon. Or at least he talks about how he would do it. I'll be honest. There's times I don't want fun. Like when my Fedex package is missing. And I hate the word "funware." But it's easy to pick at game designs -- much harder to make meaningful games of serious tasks that really work.

Jul 19, 2010

Games for Security

Games are creeping into every nook and cranny our lives -- so why not into security? Three researchers at NYU tackled the problem of "device pairing", that is, making sure that there is a secure connection between two wireless devices, by trying to make it more fun. Why? Well, device pairing is tricky, irritating, and boring (if you've ever tried to get your bluetooth headset working, you know what I mean), and their thinking was, if it's a game, maybe people will be more likely to do it.

There's some danger that the extra time a game takes might be more irritating than encouraging -- but if you're going to pair your devices, it might as well be fun!

You can download the pdf of Security Through Entertainment: Experiences Using a Memory Game for Secure Device Pairing here.