Me: So you want to save the world, right?
You: Totally. What's your plan?
Me: We build an app that uses game design to motivate people to do good: conserve energy, change their behavior, etc.
You: Perfect. Let's copy Foursquare! Points, badges — people love that shit.
Me: Be careful — games can be gimmicky. Points and badges are only a superficial aspect of what makes Foursquare successful. Plus, they quickly tire on you.
Me: I'm not talking FarmVille either. It's not about games for the sake of games, but thinking about how to use different game mechanics, how they are right for different audiences, and in different social contexts. Some users want to play for the sake of playing; others like competition; still others like to work together.
You: Got an example?
Me: I was recently part of a design challenge for reducing paper cup waste. We wanted to get people involved in saving trees without forgoing their morning cup o' joe. But the solution won't be another reusable mug — people forget those all the time. Instead, we tried to change behavior using a game. We'll explain more on the panel but you get the idea.
You: So the Drive Less Challenge to encourage alternatives to driving alone is another example?
Me: You got it! The goal of this panel is consider a variety of games and game aspects for the design of a common good. And to think about how the user base and social dynamics of the community affect the decision to pick one kind of game over another.
11th–15th March 2011