For the record, I’m the classic casual gamer type. I play some games but I don’t get all crazy about beating them and don’t care a whole lot about having the high score. In fact, when something becomes too frustrating or competitive, I tend to put it down. I don’t have that “killer” instinct that some other players have. You know the type – they like to win, but they prefer to win if it’s at the expense of someone else. If they can make the other player cry – bonus! That’s really not me, though. I like to keep things light and fun. But for some reason, ousting someone as Mayor on Foursquare is one of the most satisfying game-like experiences in my recent memory.
The best was when I recently stole a friend’s Mayorship of his own company. He received an email informing him of it as I walked into his office. The look on his face was priceless and my inexplicable sense of achievement was wonderful. “That’s what happens when you drop the ball, Matt. You’d better quit slacking!”, I boasted in my victory.
Foursquare isn’t what “real gamers” would call a game, but for me it has always been the clearest example of online gamification to those who aren’t a part of the industry. Regardless of what you call it, there are plenty of people who take it very seriously. Some users always check-in, no matter where they are (even at home), are very proud of their earned badges. Me, I joined on a lark and have to use the SMS check-in service since I don’t have a smart phone. Yet I have 5, count ’em, 5 Mayorships of which I am very defensive. The psychology of that status is fascinating to me, since it so rarely manifests itself in any other aspect of my life. I’m not the type to buy designer clothes or have the newest gadgets and I don’t own a car. But you had better stay away from Vegas Diner- It’s mine!
And seriously, Matt, quit slacking.