Title: Game On: Energize Your Business with Social Media Games
Author: Jon Radoff
Publisher: Wiley (2011)
List Price: $35.99 CAD Disclaimer: Clicking the cover graphic or the book title will link you to Amazon.ca through our Associate account. Purchasing the book through this link will help us earn money for the site.
I’ll admit that I was leery of reading this book, mainly because I’ve grown tired of the over-used buzz term gamification, which is a main topic area for this title. I’ll also admit that I was quickly converted – not to gamification of business, but to delving into the contents laid out by Mr. Radoff.
What drew me in was not trying to figure out how to gamify this site or even our new project; it was the amount of research and information that the author was sharing. Jon Radoff has compiled of book that is of great value to both game developers and non-developers alike. He presents his ideas and views in a concise and easy-to-understand manner without overwhelming the reader, even encouraging said readers to turn their progress through the book into a game.
One of the most important indicators that I use to measure the quality of a non-fiction book is how much has it taught me, and are there an abundance of references given for further research. Game On more than surpasses these markets. I used to use a regular highlight pen to remember certain passages in books, but with the availability of sticky notes, I now use different coloured notes to mark items to remember as well as items for further reading. In reading Game On, I went through one full “pad” of yellow notes, which mark the items of interest, as well as a good number of blue notes, which mark items for further research.
Game On: Energize Your Business With Social Media Games begins with the reader finding out more about his or her interests and motivations for investigating social games before moving on to discuss the evolution of games, in particular social games, virtual goods and the experiences people who play games have come to expect from developers.
Mr. Radoff also reminds us that while gamification may be the latest catch phrase of the year, people have been playing games and turning menial tasks into games since the beginning of time. As I’ve noted before, we parents are well known for turning mealtimes into games to try and encourage kids to eat – which one of us hasn’t turned an eating utensil into an airplane, train or car? The author handily points out that the end result of a game is for the player to have a memorable, fun experience, and his book takes readers through the process of figuring out what works and what doesn’t as we seek to engage our customers, getting them to buy into the experience our businesses and products offer to them.
For designers and developers, there are an abundance of charts and checklists for easy reference, as well as a very extensive glossary, resource guide and book reference for further understanding and education. Two very important elements covered within the body of the book are the inclusion of the storied experience along with the importance players place on virtual goods – whether they are given as rewards or purchasable. Games are a form of escape, which places importance on the ability of story to open doors to other worlds with the addition of virtual goods to implant the memories of achievement and enjoyable experiences in the mind of the gamer so that he or she keeps coming back, as well as sharing those experiences with friends and family, thereby assisting your game along its viral journey.
Game On successfully crosses the lines between designer, consumer and observer, sharing information that is both interesting and informative whether the reader is a seasoned veteran in the game development industry or someone who may have a passing interest in the phenomena of immersive game experiences. Mr. Radoff manages to marry in-depth research, real life experience and speculation into a tome whose value exceeds its purchase price.
I can easily and in good conscience recommend Game On: Energize Your Business With Social Media Games to anyone who wants to gain a better understanding of today’s interactive and tech-savvy world. As I said above, this book is not just for business people looking to engage their customers. It’s for game developers, students, designers, business people and consumers who want to learn more about the engaging world of today’s online experience.