Friday, March 23, 2007

Game Friday: Massively Multiplayer Online Insanity

This week, I drank a little 2.0 koolaid and joined the new Passively Multiplayer Online Game (PMOG) put out by Justin Hall and other nuts like him who want to be tracked for all the time they spend on the web—and rewarded for their actions. You can view a video of Justin talking about his theory here, or you can take the plunge and sign up. It requires Firefox, and yes, it does track every website you go to and then gives you gamer-spoof designations based on that tracking.

Justin links to other similar passive games that reward you with points for your Outlook email traffic or track your overall application usage. Like the fuel meter I talked about last week, this is gaming by passive monitoring. The idea is that the more you “level up” in strange ways (i.e. by looking at lots of websites), the more you will want to optimize your use to achieve certain goals.

There are a couple ways to look at this. On one hand, it’s a silly and somewhat pleasurable way to report on things you are already doing. Imagine a refrigerator that gave you “cheese points” for every lasagna you make. Who cares? Well, on the other hand, perhaps doing this kind of tracking will increase your awareness of certain kinds of behaviors and encourage you to change that behavior (tofu points, anyone?). And in a game context, you can set your own goals and get cheered on by the system for your achievements.

Passive games like this also reflect the continuing breakdown of privacy on the web. I have signed up for an automated personal stalker, for my own entertainment. Worse, the data accumulated about me is (in an aggregated form) available to other players. I’m encouraged to start up relationships with folks based on the fact that we both look at a lot of DIY websites.

Explore for yourself, but before you do, enjoy this very, very funny video on the future of MMOs (Massively Multiplayer Online games).

3 comments, add yours!:

Jay said...

I would like to share my research and article on Best 100+ Online Games.

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