Tuesday, November 07, 2006
"Putting Fun into Functional"is a really fabulous powerpoint presentation by Amy Jo Kim of shufflebrain, a unique game design company. In this presentation, she details five core "game mechanics" that make games compelling, fun, and addictive, and talks about how they are being applied in successful web applications like MySpace and Netflix.
The five mechanics are: collecting (accumulating monopoly bucks or dragon-slaying swords), points/score, feedback from the system/game, social exchanges (trading stuff, giving and receiving gifts or comments), and customization/personalization. Each one of these amplifies the extent to which the player/user feels connected to the game or experience offered.
There have got to be some great ways to apply these mechanics to museums. Here are some ideas... and a lot of questions.
Collecting: Some museums are using barcodes or RFID to track what exhibits the visitor uses. The visitor can leave with a printout of the activities they did, or come home to a website full of links/images that were "saved" at the museum. Is this a gimmick or does it give visitors a sense of accomplishment? In a game, collecting tools/money "matters" because it allows you to get to the next level or face a tougher challenge. How can you "level up" in a museum? What will collecting more experiences/artifacts "get" you?
Points: In a game, points get you closer to your goal, or, in some games (Pacman, pinball), they make you feel good and give you a secondary goal besides staying alive. Is there any value to getting a score for your museum experience? This may sound gross. But I've enjoyed plenty of museum interactives that take a long time to "reward" me with some kind of aha. Many guests probably walk away before they get there. What if we had a way to communicate how close you are to your goal, a compelling and accessible reason-like points-to stick around?
Feedback: At a basic level, this is what a good interactive provides. Am I doing it right? Am I good? The more flexibly the experience can adapt to its user, the better.
Social Exchanges: This is fascinating and somewhat unexplored in museums. What if instead of emailing something I enjoyed back to myself, I generated an ecard to send to someone else? Perhaps I'd be more compelled because I now have an audience I'm creating FOR, and I'm also bringing a non-visitor into the experience, which is great. Could there be ways in museums to foster social interactions between strangers by incentivizing them in some way?
Customization: Very tricky. The museum is a fixed space--how do you create a highly personalized experience within it?
I'd love to see a museum approach a "standard" content topic and apply game rules rather than exhibit rules to its design. Anyone up for it?