Between Games and Simulation: Gamification and Convergence in Creative Computing

Between Games and Simulation: Gamification and Convergence in Creative Computing

Nathan Hulsey (Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0016-2.ch006
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The chapter focuses on convergence in creative computing between simulation and gaming. It examines the collapse of categorical differences between games, play and simulation, categories that were rarely used concurrently. The chapter uses a media archaeology – the study of historical conditions enabling emerging technology – to explore gamification, or the design practice of embedding game mechanics into everyday applications and activities. Gamification is employed as a prominent design tactic for motivating users to perform contextual tasks based on strategically deployed game dynamics. This analysis highlights convergence and creative technologies as a historical process.
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Scholars have identified gamification, serious games and educational games as legitimate research areas and components of the bourgeoning creative economy (Bayart, Bertezene, Vallat, & Martin, 2014; Braitmaier & Kyriazis, 2011; Broin, 2011; Byrne, 2012; Chapin, 2011; Crookall, 2010; Deterding, 2012; Elizabeth, 2007; Harteveld, Guimarães, Mayer, & Bidarra, 2010; Huang Ling, 2011; Marsh, 2011; Moreno-Ger, Torrente, Hsieh, & Lester, 2012; Petridis et al., 2011; Swan, 2012; Tolentino, Battaglini, Pereira, de Oliveria, & de Paula, 2011). The creative economy is also based on the idea of effective information management (White, Gunasekaran, & Roy, 2014), including simulations that contextualize and use ‘big data’ to fuel major social and scientific simulations. While big data has been commonly linked to simulation and modelling (Boyd & Crawford, 2012; Pias, 2011), games have thus far remained separate categories, or “terminological ambiguities” (Klabbers, 2009). Increasingly, gaming and simulation have been combined for a variety of purposes.

Both gamification and serious games contain content that uses and references real-world events; however, they still fall under the category of ‘digital games’, which necessarily utilize simulative tactics to create intrinsic and self-referential worlds geared towards playful, or ludic, outcomes (Bayart et al., 2014; Crookall, 2010; Deterding, 2012; Roth, 2015). For example, gamification uses game mechanics for the purposes of behaviorally influencing players while collecting and contextualizing their data (Hulsey & Reeves, 2014; Whitson, 2013). Additionally, online multiplayer games have been used for social scientific research, economic research and usability testing (Castronova & Falk, 2009; Hassenzahl, Diefenbach, & Göritz, 2010; Jørgensen, 2012; Moreno-Ger et al., 2012; N. T. Taylor, 2008). A collapse of boundary lines between games and simulation follows a recent historical trend in which media and content—and, more fundamentally, life, space and time—are disrupted as computational code replaces early formats and disrupts formerly entrenched epistemic and ontological contexts (Castells, 2002, 2009; Levy, 1997). This chapter, by looking at the collapsing boundaries between simulation and gaming, seeks to place the development and use of creative technologies into the context of this trend.

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