Games I’d Like to Play (But Don’t): Fitocracy and SuperBetter

by berv

I’ve been thinking lately about my conceptualization of “games in real life,” or in other words, game systems that link up with some day-to-day activity, providing encouragement and rewards for performing desired behaviours. In contrast to the almost-ubiquitous cash-driven purchase programs (Air Miles, customer loyalty programs, etc.), my interest lies in those systems that encourage positive, healthy behaviours in an individual. Though our engagement with game systems is not always explicitly acknowledged, there’s something deep in the human psyche that draws us to them. So why not use this instinctual drive for good?

About a month ago, I signed up for and have been participating in two initiatives designed around this notion: Fitocracy and SuperBetter. Both attempt to enhance an aspect of my well-being (physical fitness and overall resilience, respectively) by logging my efforts to improve and providing incremental goals in the form of quests and achievements. I can get behind that, and can see the benefit in having another little bit of encouragement to keep you on the path to self-improvement. However, each is lacking something different that has led me to abandon it, though, curiously, each can be found in the system of the other.
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