Games, culture, and how gamification is taking over the world

I will keep this post short, because I am NOT going to let games suck me in.  I am a recovering Farmville addict, never, never, again!

I hate gamification.  Anipang is evil.  Enough said.

1.  I hate gamification.  Memrise has this spinning flowers and ranking boards.  LingQ has an avatar that grows.  Both features bug me.

gamification_of_education

(Gamification of Eductation infograph)

This might sound strange from someone who clearly does enjoy many games in my learning process.  However, gamification is a rather evil twin of the true educational games. Scrabble is a lovely educational game that I played with my family.  It taught me words and was fun.  It did not try to create an addictive habit to take over my life.

“Encouraging engagement” such a nice term for obsession.  Ask gambling addicts.

I dislike advertisers for using their power to try to sell me things, inundating me at every turn.  Now gamification is doing the same thing.  There are very clever people who know how to design things to make them very “sticky” and addictive.  That is too much power to give people who are motivated by profit.

anipang

2.  Anipang is a very popular game offered from KakaoTalk.  Read about it in the Wall Street Journal article Anipang grabs time, hearts of South Koreans  The game only lasts 1 minute.  I thought, hey, why not just give it a brief try since it is part of the Korean culture?  I played only 1 game, in which I got zero points.  I was just taking screen shots to share in a post.  I made sure I turned off push notifications.  Immediately, I could see Farmville-style missions and in-game purchases and competing against friends.  Yuk.  I shut the game, went on to studying Memrise cards.

Then right in the middle of studying my flashcards, Anipang popped up with some ad/notice.  What, it had been 8 minutes, the game missed me already?  Getting rid of the notice made me click the wrong answer in Memrise.  I was INFLAMED with anger, and immediately uninstalled Anipang.

No thank you, not letting some addictive game into my life to distract me.  I get distracted enough on my own.  Let this serve as a warning to others.  EVIL EVIL EVIL!

Why does evil come disguised as cute and cuddly?

3.  Why learning a language needs BOTH long term memory and working memory, and how you can improve by shifting some of the load from working to long term memory.

Crystallized intelligence … can be attained through hard work in study and experience. On the other hand, fluid intelligence is at work when you address new situations and solve problems you have never experienced before.

Temporary storage of information within the brain and manipulation and use of that information … is an essential ability for … your daily activities.Working memory is necessary when you are in conversation to listen to someone’s words, understand them, and reply. – Brain Age: Concentration Training

The point is that you need to study vocabulary and structures and use them repeatedly to get them into long term memory.  Then in conversation, you use working memory.  Being able to pluck things to say from long term memory, instead of having to put the sentences together in working memory, will speed your conversation.  There is only so much you can juggle in working memory at one time.

In theory, games like “Brain Age” or “Luminosity” will increase your speed at using working memory.  However, you still have to commit things to long term memory so you have words, phrases, and sentences to draw from in conversations.  Long term memory is you knowledgebase.  Working memory is your white board.

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