To help myself remember how I felt about various things that I finished
Thursday, July 29, 2010
This book, by Gabe Zichermann and Joselin Linder, is meant as a introduction to the idea of using game mechanics as marketing tools, and it does an admirable job of introducing the idea, and examining many examples. As a game designer, I wished there were more details about what really works (for example -- what are best practices for giving out airline miles? Why?) and a bit less speculation about what might work. Personally, I'm always interested in the lessons from real examples, because so many of the ideas we come up with have some fatal flaw that was not obvious until we tried to deploy the game. Oh -- and the authors insist on calling the use of game mechanics in marketing "funware", a phrase that I find inappropriate partly because not all games are designed to be "fun" (some are merely meant to be challenging, compelling, or engaging), and partly because the "ware" part of it implies some kind of tangible mechanism, a la "hardware" or "software", when often these games are simple sets of rules. But that's just me quibbling.
Anyway -- in short, the book is a good introduction to spark your imagination, but if you are looking for details about best practices for implementing games for marketing and advertising, you'll need to look elsewhere.
Jesse Schell has taught Game Design and led research projects at Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center (www.etc.cmu.edu) since 2002. Jesse is also the CEO of Pittsburgh’s largest videogame studio, Schell Games (www.schellgames.com), the author of The Art of Game Design: a book of lenses (www.artofgamedesign.com), and the former chairman of the International Game Developers Association (www.igda.org). In 2004, he was named one of the world’s Top 100 Young Innovators by Technology Review, MIT’s magazine of innovation.
Before coming to Carnegie Mellon, he was the Creative Director of the Disney Virtual Reality Studio, where he spent seven years as designer, programmer and manager on several projects for Disney theme parks and Disney Online. Before that, he was a software engineer at IBM and Bell Communications Research, and a writer, director, performer, juggler, comedian, and circus artist for both Freihofer's Mime Circus and the Juggler's Guild. You can email him at jesse(at)schellgames.com.