Confessions of a Gametize Intern: The truth about gamification

As a sixteen-year-old going on seventeen who hadn’t the first clue as to what gaming was about, you could say that when I first signed up to spend four weeks of my life at Gametize (a local startup that specializes in gamification), I was overwhelmed. Mainly, it was because a part of me immediately related the concept of gamification to buzzwords like ‘Blackshot,’ or ‘League of Legends.’ (Both of which, I also had no prior experience in) However, after a week of exposure, I discovered that I was grossly mistaken about gamification.

Let’s begin by addressing a really common misconception—gamification isn’t the same as gaming.

I know, real shocker.

Many people tend to misunderstand gamification and what it aims to achieve. For example, when Gametize was announced to be one of the partnering companies with my school for the exposure project, many of the students dismissed the idea of it as merely gaming. When I told my parents that I was going to be attached to Gametize for a month, my dad raised an eyebrow and remarked that I didn’t exactly strike him as the ‘gaming type.’ Heck, even I thought I was going to be gaming for a month.

At this point, you’re probably wondering: Okay, so what is the difference then?

The differences between gaming and gamification can be concisely explained in two points—what it is and its purpose.

Firstly, let’s address what the two concepts are. Gaming is the action of partaking in a game, whereas gamification is a series of steps involving design-thinking. Gaming is an action, whereas gamification is a process by which elements of gaming—such as rewards, point systems and challenges are inculcated into carrying out day-to-day tasks.

Secondly, let’s look at the purposes of gaming and gamification. The main purpose of gaming is for the consumer’s fun, amusement, and leisure. The objective of gaming, in most cases, is to entertain. The objective of gamification, however, is to effectively translate real-life tasks into the form of a game, with a game interface and gaming elements.

Applications of gamification frequently tend to include sectors such as education and health & fitness. Through the intertwining of gaming elements such as obstacles, challenges, intriguing storylines and a point reward system, consumers are able to effectively learn/accomplish real life tasks which would traditionally be laborious to do. Hence, there is the implementation of a gaming interface to motivate and incentivize people to better carry out tasks.

So the next time you happen to come across the word, ‘gamification,’ remember, that although it includes elements of gaming, it is still not ‘Flappy Bird,’ or ‘Super Mario,’ or ‘Halo.’ It’s something much larger and much more complicated, and it’s also pretty darn cool.

Written by: Wong Shu Ning (TJC Intern)

Maki, the Ninja Cat says goodbye to Gametize…

Maki, our Ninja Cat
Maki, our Ninja Cat

With a heavy heart, the Gametize team bids farewell to our first official Gametize Ninja Cat, Maki (named after our lovable Ninja mascot). He is now placed in a loving, forever home after spending 3 amazing weeks within the comfy confines of the Gametize office.

How it all began…

He was found abandoned by Keith and his friend. Keith, with his intense empathy for animals of all kinds, decided to “kitnap” the furry fella and bring him over to the office to bathe him and feed him. From then onwards, they were set to help Maki find a good home to live out his nine lives.

Maki in the ‘house’…

Aside from the other occasional cat that would visit Gametize (namely Pika, our Do-It-All-Ninja Shan Shan‘s cat), Maki made himself at home within the office. Which, by cat standards, was probably pretty fast, as his lovable nature made it easy for him to get along with everyone else during working hours.

From play-biting to jumping on tables and laptops, Maki has become well-acquainted with the Gametize Ninjas, and this writer for one, will surely miss his crazy antics.

Check out #makicatstory for all things Maki-related, and be sure to follow our blog for more Gametize updates!

 

MVP of the week: The super yummy GUMMY NINJA!

Shiqin hard at work!
Shiqin hard at work!

After a long hiatus, we are resuming our MVP series to feature our teammates. To kick things off again, we’re going to start with the latest full-time addition to our ninja family, Shiqin.

As Gametize’s first ‘Gametize Coach’, Shiqin focuses on coaching clients and Gametize users alike in the ways of the platform. She is also the voice behind our live customer service chatline!

Other than coaching and customer service, she has helped the rest of the business team in many other ways too, from drafting contracts to managing projects and clients. A multi-talented and inquisitive creature that she is, having her on the business team is an absolute pleasure.

Luckily for us, it’s easy to get on her good side; buy her a packet of gummy bears and bring over a good book (or a cat, perhaps) and she will instantly fall in love with you.

Here’s a short clip of her dancing to her national anthem (together with Brenda): https://www.facebook.com/Gametize/videos/1026192200761610/

She may only have been at Gametize for a few months so far, but she has left quite an impression on us already!

 

Youngest Ninjas Ever

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Two weeks ago, Gametize opened its door to its youngest ninjas ever – two secondary three students (15-year-olds) from Regent Secondary School. Zhen Yuan and Wei Jian joined us on a job attachment program at school, and were all set to be part of the team for a good two weeks. The objectives of the program were to expose them to the working world and to hone their interests (which included “information technology”, for both the boys).

So we pulled out all the stops and held nothing back. If these guys wanted a real working-life experience, they were gonna get it. The past two weeks, Zhen Yuan and Jia Le have been uploading content, creating their own original games, and attending brainstorming sessions with other Gametize Ninjas.

Despite their youth, they are mature and level-headed, and are pulling their own weight amongst the other older, more experienced Gametize Ninjas. They just prove that it isn’t always about how much experience you have, but how much you want the experience!

Tattoo or Taboo? 4 Reasons Why Employers Shouldn’t Care

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Where my inked people at? Holler at me!

I said, holler at me!

Oh. Sorry. I can’t hear you guys hollering at me over all my aunts and uncles going, “You’re going to regret that” and “You’re never gonna get a job with that” and “You know it’s permanent, right?”.

Surely, at some point in time, we’ve all entertained the thought of getting a tattoo. Maybe a super-meaningful quote on our ribcage, maybe a skull on our arm, or maybe even a full-back oriental piece!

Tattoos are—let’s face it—cool!

Continue reading “Tattoo or Taboo? 4 Reasons Why Employers Shouldn’t Care”

MVP OF THE WEEK 2015: ARE YOU SEEING TWO? IT’S JUST OUR… DOPPLEGANGER NINJA!

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Christopher was part of our tech team, acting as a software developer in his time here, working on Gametize’s platform and rule engines. However, Christopher did not limit himself to just that, and he did offer insight on creative design work as well.

 

Curious as to what a working environment and life in a tech startup company is like, Christopher applied for an internship with Gametize, whose work environment, he felt, made it easier for him to be more proactive. Gametize loosened the reigns and allowed him to freely learn more about software development.

Besides software development, which he’d signed up for, Christopher also learned many more things in his run with Gametize: things about the working environment, technicalities, himself…

Another role Christopher held was as our teammate Damon’s doppleganger, confusing both clients and fellow teammates alike with their scary likeness! Just another Gametize party trick.

At this current time, Christopher is finishing up his last year in NUS. Thank you for all the contributions you’ve made to Gametize, Christopher, and we wish you all the best!

MVP of the Week: Try keeping up with… Our Samba Ninja!

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Bendexter first came to know Gametize as a user and a backend admin of our platform. And, he first met our Keith as a client. Gametize and Keith both charmed him, and half-a-year later, Bendexter was working with Gametize again, this time not as a user, but as a developer.

During his time with Gametize, Bendexter worked on the analytics platform, managed projects, and assisted with business operations whenever required.

As a younger intern, Bendexter also often had fresher, newer ideas which he brought to the table. In this way, Bendexter not only contributed to Gametize technically, but also creatively.

Bendexter shows the same level of enthusiasm and skill in his other interests as well, such as: samba percussion, and sports.

He is currently working on an android application as part of his final year project in SMU, and then he’ll be heading off to Korea for an exchange program! Bon voyage Bendexter! Thank you for the contributions you’ve made to Gametize, and we wish you all the best!

MVP OF THE WEEK: SUPER-AWESOME AND SUPER-BLUR… SOTONG NINJA!

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Guangwen was with Gametize on a 14-week-long internship, and was part of the business operations team. He proved to be a highly-capable individual and, just on his second day, he was already tasked with creating mock-ups for business pitches.

In his time with Gametize, Guangwen accomplished a myriad of things: keeping the office clean and beautiful, looking out for the Gametize ninjas’ welfare, taking charge of logistics, taking charge of some projects as well!

However, Guangwen is not some super-robot with no flaws; we’re all humans after all. Guangwen admits that there are times when he can be “super-blur” — who buys just one slice of cake when asked to buy a birthday cake? Guangwen, apparently!

Guangwen is currently in his third year at SMU School of Information Systems, and we wish him all the best! Thank you, Guangwen, for all your contributions during your time with us!

In bed after 11pm, outta bed after 8am, makes your life awesome, fun, and grand!

“Oh my god, you’re so lucky!” is the usual response I receive when I’m asked what my working hours are like. If you’re wondering what they are, the official office hours for us here at Gametize is 10:30am to 7:30pm.

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To be honest, I had my doubts about such strange working hours when I first came to Gametize: Will I be as productive if I start work so late? Will my social life suffer? What if I get accustomed to waking up late and I become a lazy slob?

Six weeks into working with Gametize, and I realise how stupid those worries are, and how many benefits I actually have from my work schedule, benefits I hadnt even thought of.


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One of the first benefits I noticed, I noticed straight away on my first day of work. I get on a train at around 9:30am every day, and, by then, all the 9 – 5ers are already in their office cubicles, clacking away at their keyboards!

It is such a glorious thing, being able to take the train without having an impromptu club-grind-experience. I can stretch my arms and legs, I can bend over to tie my shoelaces, I can breathe.

Would all of this be possible with a regular 9 – 5 work schedule job? Hell to the no!


pixelbox3Having grown up with a Singaporean education system, I’m accustomed to waking up super-early, and starting lessons super-early as well. In Singapore, we start cramming information into our heads as early as 8:00am!

I’m used to doing that. I’m used to having to force myself to study and memorise equations and such, even when my brain is yelling at me that it can’t.

Yes, my brain yells at me that it can’t do work! And, apparently, it’s not just my brain that’s protesting, but my heart, and liver, and who knows what else.

According to Dr Paul Kelley of Oxford University and a research team at the Sleep and Circadian Institute, our body runs on this 24-hour rhythm that we cannot force through acclimatisation. By asking students and working adults to report to work before 9am, we’re actually forcing parts of our body to work two or three hours off of its 24-hour-rhythm.

That can’t be good, can it?

But I’m used to it. I’m used to this unhealthiness, after going through eleven years of it. I’m used to it and I’ve made it work for me, somehow.

So you can understand my concerns when I was first told my new, unconventional work schedule at Gametize. I thought I’d already gotten used to starting work early, and that starting work late from now on was sure to mess up my productivity!

Yet, nothing could be further from the truth. If anything, my productivity’s actually improved!

Now that I’m working alongside my body’s “24-hour-rhythm”, I find myself more alert and falling sick less often. My brain no longer yells at me to take a break; instead it says, “Yeah, okay, I’m ready to work, let’s go.”

This way, I’m more focused, and I get through my tasks quicker, instead of yawning every thirty seconds, wishing I were dead. Which leads me to my third point…


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Sleep deprivation is an international problem.

We’ve all been there: it’s 7am, and we’ve got to be at school/work in two hours, and we’ve only had four hours of sleep. We crawl to our coffee pots—we don’t even bother pouring ourselves a cup, we just drink straight from the pot—and then we get dressed somehow, and we drag our feet to school/work.

At school/work, things don’t improve. We slouch over our desks, and we yawn so often our jaws are beginning to hurt, and we think to ourselves, “Someone, just kill me, please.”

I’m happy to report that in my past six weeks with a 10:30am – 7:30pm schedule, this has not happened, ever! (And, no, it’s not just because the office’s pantry is always fully-stocked with coffee!)

Get off work at 7:30pm, and if you’ve got a social life, great for you, maybe you’ll get home around midnight, you’ll head to bed at 1:00am. The latest I have to wake up, in order to get to work on time, is 9:00am.

That still gives me eight hours of sleep.

“Oh, stop whining,” some might say. “You can still get eight hours of sleep with regular 9 – 5 work hours! You just have to go to sleep earlier!”

Oh, come on, let’s face it: nobody wants to go to sleep before 11:00pm, so if we can’t change our nightly schedules, let’s change our morning schedules and start work later.

This is when someone jumps in and says that age-old saying: “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise”.

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And it’s a saying from Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States! It has to be true!

Sorry, Ben, but modern research has proven you wrong.

A pair of epidemiologists at Southampton University conducted a research and found that night owls (in bed only after 11:00pm, up only after 8:00am) were financially and professionally more successful than morning larks (in bed before 11:00pm, up before 8:00am).

Another research by psychologist Richard D. Roberts of the University of Sydney and Patrick C. Kyllonen of the Air Force Research Lab, found that night owls also outperformed morning larks on intelligence tests.

As of yet, there is no scientific research that says “early to bed, early to rise” really does make us healthier, wealthier, or wiser, but there are tangible results that state the opposite.

Right now, being a night owl seems like the obvious choice that people should make! But nothing’s perfect, and night owls have their flaws too: we’re more prone to substance abuse, and more prone to clinical depression. But that’s a discussion for another time (or if you’d like, you can check out this article regarding night owls and morning larks, backed up with scientific research!).

So after all’s been said and done, what’s to be done about our school/work schedules? What is the right time to start school/work?

I’m no omniscient being, and I don’t have all the answers, but as a person who’s experienced both starting work before and after 9:00am, all I can share is that I much, much prefer the latter.

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MVP OF THE WEEK: CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT HER… OUR DO-IT-ALL NINJA

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If you visit the Gametize office, the one name you’ll hear being repeated more than any other is probably “Shan Shan”!

Being Gametize’s creative director and also being a project manager, Shan Shan has all the answers, and she knows all the in-and-out’s of almost all the projects.

Shan Shan hails from a Communication and New Media course in university, and originally signed on to do design in Gametize. However, she found herself with loads more things to do than just that, and all of that has helped shaped her into who she is today. Now, there’s no question she can’t answer, no client she can’t respond to, no project she can’t handle.

And it doesn’t end there; Shan Shan’s in charge of onboarding and training all the new Gametize ninjas as well! And it’s not just one newbie ninja at a time either. At this current time, she’s taking on three!

When we call Shan Shan the “do-it-all ninja”, it’s because she really can do it all.