What I've Learned

...During Minor Gamification

Jasmijn Hoekman
Sun 15 Apr

Minor Gamification questions systems of behaviour. It focuses on the design and tweaking of rules by applying game design principles to non-game related situations in order to increase the activity, motivation and involvement of users.

What did you learn during this Minor?

I have learned to approach social issues with a playful mindset. And to discover certain systems in our everyday life and how to play with this (unspoken) social rules and existing systems. This was the first time I was able to create something from my own personal fascination and express my ideas in the form I liked. At first I thought this was great, but what am I fascinated about? And how is this fascination related to social issues? I have always been interested in human behaviour, especially somehow that of teenagers. I came across an article in the newspaper about a young boy who killed himself over a nude picture that had leaked. Is this the new way of experimenting with sexuality? And what happened to all the kids who became victims? These questions became the starting point of my project. And here I learned to do in depth research, not only theoretical but also in ‘the field’.

What didn’t you expect to learn but experienced as a bonus?

In the first weeks of this minor, we got an assignment to explore our own neighbourhood (Middelland). We were divided in teams and had to come up with a game to collect as much stories as possible. At first we just asked people to tell something about the neighbourhood or what they loved about it. We found out that it is quite difficult to gain really interesting stories from someone whom you just met, and what the best way to approach people is. Nico Haasbroek, better known as ‘de Middelandman’ gave us some interesting tips and tricks how to blend in and create a bond and trust with your participants. This was really useful for the rest of the course.

Did you gain any insights that can be used in your further life and study?

During the past three years of my study at the academy I was often asked by teachers what kind of designer I was, focused on the profiles Autonomous, Social and Commercial. In my work I like to interact with people through my designs with topics that are related to social issues. But I did my third year practice in Critical Studies, which is an Autonomous profile. And my internship was in a commercial design studio. So together this was not making any sense, that confused me. Finally, following the advice of my teachers, I decided to follow the minor Gamification. I am so glad I made this choice, suddenly everything fell into place. The lectures, the talks, the reading material and all the other stuff that the Gamification minor offered made me so enthusiastic. So the biggest insight here was actually my place as a designer.

What kept you awake at night?

For my research I wanted to be as close as possible to my target group. What are they doing online and what websites and apps do they use? I discovered an app called ‘KIK’, this is an app where people can join group chats and also send private chat requests. It is easy to create a profile without using your phone number. I have created a profile of an under-aged girl, wanting to see what could happen. I have started receiving messages from boys, or I have to say men, immedialtely. I was shocked and disgusted, there were so many ‘old’ men. I have answered a few messages but all the conversations turned very sexual, even though I have told them I was just a kid! This made me so mad and yes, it kept me awake at night, but it also became an extra stimulus to really do something with and about this!

What was the greatest obstacle?

To go outside and do some tests, interact with my target group. It is safe to stay behind computer and design. That is my comfort zone, and I really had to exit it to grow as a designer. I wanted to initiate conversations with people on the streets about sexting. Do they receive and send sexts? And who do they think the victim is when a nude photo leaks? I went on the street with some stickers, that illustrated possible answers. I also had a conversation with a mentor and a department head of a high school about the possibilities to actually test my game with a group of pupils. I was so nervous to do this at first, but it was great to see the pupils taking this topic so seriously and really having good conversations and discussions together.

View the whole project here.

Curious about Jasmijn's other projects? Visit her website.