“Games are an extraordinary way

to tap into your most heroic qualities”

Jane McGonigal, researcher and game designer.

The current picture of gamification–the use of game design elements in non-game contexts– as a discipline suggests its potential for sustainable development, if to consider its astonishing ability to boost self-efficacy, sense of purpose, trust and cooperation, fuel peer involvement and capture the mental and emotional energy of more than 1.78 billion of players around the world[1]. Indeed, with the growing interest in gamification within the business, education and health spheres, the adaption of existing academic gamification constructs to solve real-world pressing development challenges appears relevant. Urgent challenges that are facing humanity today (such as human-induced climate change, widespread poverty and water shortages) requires us to embrace the kinds of thinking that games –or experiences very much like games, evokes. Since these global challenges very often are extremely complex and strangely intertwisted together, they entail a new understanding of how to connect the dots that forms a problem and how -sometimes visibly unrelated dots fit together and affect a complex whole. Therefore and as game design theorist Eric Zimmerman suggest, “They [The problems that the world faces today] require playful, innovative, transdisciplinary thinking in which systems can be analyzed, redesigned, and transformed  into  something new” (Zimmerman, E. (2013a). Manifesto for a Ludic Century). Ultimately, gamification with a social good purpose can be applied to a broad spectrum of applications such as healthcare, energy, environment, education, civic engagement and government.

[1] On August 2014, according to Statista at http://www.statista.com/statistics/293304/number-video-gamers/

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