All hail the rise of computer games in the workplace and I don’t mean a sly game of FreeCell to distract from your inbox.
According to the BBC this week, the contents of Finland’s National Library are being digitised with the help of an online game. Microtask – the developers of ‘Digital Koot’, meaning ‘digital volunteers’ in Finnish – has devised a webgame that converts keyboard input into bridges for cartoon moles to cross a chasm.
When I first read the story, it gave me the same rush I’d have taking my favourite board game to school on the last day of term. Imagine – fun AT work. Not that I don’t have that at my current job already, of course (and my line manager will probably read this.)
‘Gamification’ of work, just like this, will be implemented by 50% of company’s offices by 2015, according to analysts at Gartner. In the words of Mary Poppins: “You find the fun and *snap* the job’s a game.” That’s exactly what employees are expected to respond to, leading to enhanced productivity.
A spoonful of sugar is not an entirely new concept though; in fact it’s already been around for a few years already. It was 2008 that a primary school in Dundee reduced truancy and saw a 10% improvement in pupil’s maths skills after using a Nintendo DS in certain lessons. The children were reportedly more engaged than ever and really responded to a more interactive medium that left certain text books looking as current as cave paintings.
I don’t think maturity or wisdom will be a barrier to adults enjoying having their monotonous tasks reborn as something similar to Digital Koot. In fact, everyday aspects of my life already fit nicely into certain video game scenarios:
• Going to work: Call of Duty.
• Trying to find the perfect other half: Final Fantasy.
• Checking my personal finances: Doom.