Give, not Get

How do you make something playful?

A good place to start is by letting go of trying to accomplish anything with your game.

Starting from a gamification lens is thinking about what your players can give back to you. How many minutes of their eyeballs can they give you? How many clicks? How many dollars?

Sure, your organization wants to draw in more people and raise money. Of course! But step 1 is to let go of that pressure in order to really let play happen.

You gotta think give. The point of playing is to play, and when you're making a game, you're offering that opportunity to your players. You're giving them the gift of play.

Here's Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh on meditating: "Every in-breath can bring joy; every out-breath can bring calm and relaxation. This is a good enough reason to sit. We don’t need to sit with an intention like getting smarter or becoming enlightened. We can sit just to enjoy sitting and breathing."

We play because enjoy playing.

Can you give that to your players? Can you let them play without them feeling like they need to get smarter, become enlightened, or get to the next level?

Can you create an experience for your audience without holding the fantasy of the brilliant press that follows it?

It can be counter-intuitive, and sometimes a significant mindset shift. It's about thinking how to give to players, rather than what their playing will give back to you.

Just ask: How can you make their experience joyful and liberating and fulfilling as possible?

What else could anyone want? πŸ™‚

-Sam