(Originally posted at Pixel-Love, Pixel-Lab's company blog)
This DICE talk is doing the rounds (to me via Kim Pallister's notes and Nicholas Lovell's embed).
I've often thought about designing game rules into everything: what if a mundane job could be made compelling by game rules? That simple rule systems can become compelling is something I talk about a lot. From The Game and One Behindmanship to Chore Wars and Eric Zimmerman's coloured cards (which was an amazing demonstration), games can motivate and influence behaviour enormously.
Here's the talk, well worth 28 minutes of your time.
Jesse talks about game making us into better people, for instance someone choosing to read less trash and more enriching things because they know their descendants will be able to see a record of it all.
Personally, I think it's likely that many people will go for "cooler" first. Kids reputations at school can be broken by a dodgy song spotted in a playlist, and while this is one very sad example, there are plenty of Nathan Barleys around us.
He specifies "If the game systems are designed right". Is everything around us already designed to promote psychological health? No. Behaviour can be manipulated in all kinds of ways, some sinister and propagandistic, and games won't escape this at all. The dystopia/utopia dichotomy I'm seeing applied to this in various places is simplistic, but this technology will be a tool entities can use to shift the balance.
People are going to be incentivised to do horrible and self-defeating things as well as immensely healthy things. Pride isn't a perfect motivator when it's combined with superficiality and fast-moving fashions, but it might be enough to make people eat healthier foods and exercise more. Or, perhaps, just drink more Dr. Pepper as Jesse illustrates in the talk.