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11:25am on Monday, 3rd March, 2014:



I keep telling people that the verb "to gamify" used to mean taking something that wasn't a game and making it into a game, whereas now it means taking game ideas and using them to make things that aren't games.

It occurred to me that I haven't presented any evidence of my assertion regarding what "gamify" originally meant, so I looked through my old emails.

Here's a quote from a 2002 email that was part of a book interview request:

Initially, I started out as one of about half a dozen hackers who would give Roy suggestions for his game (not that he needed them). In particular, Roy called it a game and programmed it to be a game, but didn't have any hardened grasp of what it meant to be a game. I had a strong background in gaming, and was able to gamify the concept. My aim for doing this was primarily to attract players: a world with no inhabitants is no fun at all. I understood that not all people would want to game when they got there, but being a game would draw them in. Anyway, I liked games!

Here's another from a 2004 email that was part of an interview for Edge:

>Did you actually view it as a video game at this point (or even now)?
When I took it over from Roy, it wasn't really a game although we all called it one. I made a conscious decision to gamify it, so that people could play it as a game if they wanted (but they didn't have to if they didn't want). I felt that if people had a reason to play (ie. trying to win) then they might pick up on the freedom aspects too. Oh, and I liked designing games.

I also used the term "gamified" in the email exchange for Edge:

Both these games were pre-D&D, by the way. A lot has been written about the influence of D&D on early designers of virtual worlds (see the book, Dungeons and Dreamers), but in my case it wasn't all that much of an influence (and it Roy Trubshaw's it was none at all, as he hadn't played it). I deliberately used a D&D-like experience/level system when I gamified MUD, as an extension of the "you have X lives and then you're dead" idea we were originally going to use.

There, see? I wasn't making it up.

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