Leveling up in life….thinking about games.

I have been an official student for one month now. It has been a very busy month. Lots of seminars to help with organising things for study, including one on Endnote v15. This in particular was very interesting. It is a tool that will help manage all of my references and readings, and a tool that I hadn’t used previously for my study. I am looking forward to setting up my reference list so far, beginning to get the lit review swimming in my mind out onto ‘virtual paper’ in a new document.

I have also begun more focused reading on gaming theory. Jane McGonigal’s book “Reality is Broken” is an interesting read, and has sent me to visit and explore her blog and associated pages in more depth. This is a book written for everyone (ie: it is not an academic book), and while I am enjoying reading the multitude of examples of how life can be made more engaging and rewarding by turning many parts into games (Jane very clearly specifies the types of structures needed to make a rewarding game), there is part of me wondering if there is a need to turn EVERYTHING into a game. Then I have noticed in the last week that as humans we tend to build levels into most of our life endeavours, and while technically it is not a pure game, we are often setting goals and striving to improve our abilities in what we enjoy doing.

I play games everyday, on my phone, computer, and also more traditional games. These games have levels built in, we may also change the way we play them in order to win, or even to support a new player.

When I am not studying I am cooking or tatting (my craft addiction).  In the last week I have been looking at everything around me and noticing that while much of life is not really set up as a ‘game’…there are certainly levels of attainment in almost everything we do.

For example, this morning LT had his Taekwondo Grading, and received a second stripe on his purple belt. Every term or so the structure of this sport has a focus goal of leveling up.

In my cooking I think I am approx. intermediate level, I can make bread and ice-cream and do a pretty mean roast too. But I know meringues and some of the other more fancy techniques are beyond my time and patience at the moment.

In my craft I am edging beyond beginner and trying patterns that are a level higher than my previous attempts, perhaps adding beads or trying split rings or mock rings. I also like to go back to the simple patterns with just rings and chains and am noticing how much faster I am getting with these simpler patterns. Another sign of leveling up and mastery.

I can’t ignore the leveling up in my study too. Taking on this PhD hasn’t been a light undertaking. Those who have been following my blog since the beginning have witnessed the level of organisation needed for a Mum to make space for this new ‘level’ of working and thinking to take place. I have been building skills in my writing and reading too, developing papers worthy of conferences, corresponding with international committees and supporting my peers in skills we all need in order to collaborate and use our time more effectively.

So, thanks Jane for getting me thinking about games in real life. I think our current human nature in creating levels across what we do could make it easier for the more challenging aspects of life to become ‘game like’.

What levels do you notice around you?

Fiona T


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