Monday, July 27, 2009

The Game of Life for the Digital Gaming Generation

I am part of a generation that was born to a world of video games - I am a member of the Digital Gaming Generation. We are a group that hasn't lived without the option to score digital points, explore virtual worlds, or "compete" for hours-upon-hours against pixilated adversaries.

It is within this context that we view the world. My generation functions within a completely different paradigm from all previous age-groups - where reality can and should be augmented at all times by computers large and small, where measuring success, i.e. seeing the score, should be explicit and constant.

It is within this reality that a new crop of mobile and Internet-based offerings begins to bridge reality and the digital domain. For example, the newly launched Booyah links real world accomplishments (such as travel) to a virtual self in a virtual community - fully linked to Facebook and Twitter. Foursquare takes a similar but more localized approach - rewarding real world socialization with virtual badges and titles.

These games are made possible in part due to the proliferation of location-based technology in mobile phones. They also represent the obvious tip of a major game-life iceberg that is yet to come. These early examples link real world fun with virtual world fun - an easy connection to establish. The really interesting innovations will come when games are linked to more serious matters such as personal health, political involvement, financial decisions, on-the-job effectiveness, etc. Mine is the generation that incorporates the principles of gaming into all parts of life.
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