By Edward Nawotka
As publishing becomes “gamified” certain questions are raised, such as whether or not readers can be classified as winners and losers? If books add gaming elements that are intended to motivate — or manipulate (depending on your point of view — readers into taking certain steps to solve problems, find clues, and achieve goals, what happens to the reader who “fails” at these tasks? Will they be left behind by the “winners” who can continue to progress onwards through literature and reading?
Certainly some might say that such a scenario already exists and is inherent in education. Take poetry, for example, which many readers abandon reading and might be called “an acquired taste.” Many readers feel they simply don’t “get it,” — whether because of the structure, the language, the forms or the allusions. If poetry were a game (bear with me, I’m not being literal) than those who “get it” would be winners; those who didn’t would technically be the “losers.”
Does, then, the gamification of publishing offer an opportunity to bring in new readers while simultaneously alienating others? After all, if a book is “gamified,” does it not presuppose such a situation? Perhaps this is merely a rhetorical question, after all, crossword puzzles and jigsaw puzzles are both games, but not finishing one doesn’t turn one into a “loser” as such.
Let us know what you think in the comments.