Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

They gamified my sausages, and I love it.

Gamification. Either a word that fills you with dread, or with I guess…maybe…love? Probably not, but actually I love it. I find that some things, such as steam trading cards and emoticons just pass me buy. Why do I care what ‘badges’ I have crafted on steam? I mean seriously…why? But then other stuff I get obsessed with. I quite like achievements, but I REALLY like scores and leader-boards and stats. Overall, I like gamification.

I think I have one of those brains that is just hard wired to stats and numbers and evaluating things that way, even non-numbery things. I am not autistic, but I exist somewhere on that spectrum, I suspect. I even made a game that reduces relationships between people to numbers. It was used to teach social skills to autistic kids, as well as being fun.


So its no surprise that I actually quite like it when things in my life get gamified. My local cafe/pub/farm-shop has a ‘reward cards’ system where you get 10% of your spend stored as points you can redeem. They have had this for months. Every sausage or coffee or glass of wine I’ve had there has been racking up points…more points…more points.

Someone less mad than me recently persuaded me to spend those points when ordering Christmas stuff. So I did. And it was SO WEIRD. I actually felt a small sense of ‘loss’ spending my points. And then, I suddenly realized there was a DOUBLE sense of loss, because not only did I just *reduce* my points balance, but I actually spent ‘money’ there and did not gain new points. Double the blow! Don’t get me wrong, I dealt with it. I wasn’t all…


But it *is* interesting. I wonder if people get a lot MORE affected by this. How many people have >$1,000 stored on some loyalty card that they can’t bare to spend?



6 thoughts on They gamified my sausages, and I love it.

  1. I wonder if this is somehow similar to hoarders in games? (Or perhaps Achiever with a side-order of hoarding?).

    I recently figured out this is why I prefer ARPGs to straight RPGS, or MMORPGs. Endlessly filling up inventory squares with slightly different gear drops. In fact, this is how Path of Exile monetizes their game, selling inventory space.

    It’s also why I hate MMORPGs with token rewards. Not fun to collect and hoard!

  2. I once heard a story of a business man who fell in love with frequent flyer points (or an earlier name for them) and but would never spend them, he just wanted more. He would go out of his way to collect them like taking extra transfers just for the sake of more points, and finding all sorts of reasons that he was ‘more efficient’ with his time on/between flights.
    IIRC he died with thousands of dollars worth of free flights

  3. I’m surprised to see you say this, especially given your last post because a lot of those F2P games use gamification techniques to hook the whales and keep them playing (and paying). Also, have you seen the recent Extra Credits on Sesame Credit, which has the potential to be a sinister implementation of gamification concepts?

    Also also: will we ever get a Kudos 3? :3

  4. I was formerly a manager at Boots – there is literally a bank account sitting with millions of pounds sitting in it as Advantage Card points = cash on the balance sheet… Some people just refuse to spend them. Highest I saw on a card was about £1800. When you collect 4p for every £1… that’s an astronomical spend! Gamification in one sense in store (through the app, special points events) really drives consumer behaviour for the company.

  5. Gamification sounds cool. I have barely any money period that I can’t bare to spend and yet I know that I’m going to spend it on Democracy 3: Africa and Big Pharma. :D

    But I wanted to comment on the previous blog post, “Hi I’m From the Games Industry. Please Stop Me.” I can’t reply there for some reason. I guess it’s from too many comments and it’s obviously a popular topic. Sounds like you’re talking about the creepy practice of Internet Tracking which I learned from your game Democracy 3. I think businesses can do without tracking every move I make on the Internet just so they can sell me a bunch of crap I don’t want or need. The economy will do just fine without that kind of tracking crap.

    You also said you’re capitalist but you must be fairly liberal as well if this kind of issue gets under your skin. I think we’re all for economic growth but I know that we can grow our economies without this kind of sick, creepy economic activity.

  6. A few points …
    Besides the graphics difference, i couldn’t find any bullet points to differentiate BSG from BSG2.
    is BSG2 = BSG+addons, or only the base BSG? Besides beamy lasers and explody explosions what’s there to me as a BSG owner?

    Fully honest feedback: if it’s the same experience or or equivalent to the base game, gameplay-wise it would be a downgrade and thus not interesting enough. So far I refrained from purchasing it because of this.

    As a BSG vet I frankly I miss a very clear-cut comparison of what I do and don’t get on BSG2 from the original + expansions, if you rework your game description it might entice old timers to get it.

    I’d suggest a ‘relaunch’: make sure everything is in there, plus add some more designs so you can say it’s now 11x more beamy and explody and gratuitousy than the original. Crank it to 11 and relaunch!

    If the content – not just the looks – is 110% of the original i’d certainly buy it.

    On another page, it seems that a theme which would fit the kind of games you make would be a ‘capitalism’ game where there would be a floating market of supply and demand and the player would have to build an empire, starting from the humblest things like a lemonade stand, buying supplies, setting the price and advertising, and going up in complexity, with products made of products made of products, taking into account freight distances, multiple media advertising, floating stock and commodities markets, etc.

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