Today Willempje and I were at NPOX, a conference for broadcasters, storytellers and media makers. NPOX asked us to program one hour, a sort of conference within a conference and we thought, why not invite people we want to hear?

So we did a speaker-estafette: we invited somebody we wanted to hear:

Jeroen van Mastrigt, board member of Dutch Game Garden, and gamification visionaire.

He invited Kars Alfrink, game and interaction designer at What’s the Hubbub, a design studio specialized in physical social games for public space.

Kars decided to invite Nathalie Brähler of 60 Layers of Cake, and she told different things about applying game mechanics in a commercial world.

And of course we ran the NPOX logo before our speech.  You can read the whole report (in Dutch) at, and we love to give you all the reading tips and to do’s the speakers send to us. So buckle up and read all the in’s and out’s on gamification below.


Kars Alfrink –

To Do

Use Foursquare ! That’s where it started. Don’t forget that the Foursquare model is very specific for the context of Foursquare, and you can’t just copy it. Next to that it is good to play ‘Farmville’ for a while, to grasp what mechanismes are used in these kinds of games to get people ‘addicted’ to the game. Finally, a nice round of the card game Weerwolven to discover how a simple set of rules can be used to create deaper psychological meaning within the game.

 To Read

Please browse my Pinboard; especially for the critical articles on gamification:


Nathalie Brähler –

To Do

1. What people tend to forget in gamification projects is the player. That seems weird but it happens everyday. What makes the player tick? What would make him happy?
You should need to know his/her profile, media use and mobile/tablet/PC use to set up a good plan. So make that profile, talk to the player, make sure you know what rewards would suck in his eyes and what would make him happy. Don’t just go for the badges and point (see also reading material below, on target groups)
2. All around you is hidden potential. All you need to do is unlock it. For one moment pretend that Twitter, Foursquare and Facebook don’t exist. Play with everyday live and see how you can gamify that: having a coffee, walking in the city, making a call, driving yes and even going to the loo. “There’s an app for that” is not just some funny phrase. It emphasizes the fact that there are so many apps already out there that are made to improve everyday life. Use them. Gamify them. Call the developers. Improve it. Combine.

To Read or Watch


Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: A Guide to Creating Great Advertising:




Willempje Vrins & Leonieke Verhoog –

To Do

  • Start to Quantify yourself – measure everything you can measure on yourself, start tracking your paths and count your steps, measure your sleeping patterns with SleepCycle, analyse your regular eating schedual with Foodzy or just write in a notebook what you did the past days. By tracking yourself you become more aware of your own behaviour, you learn more about the parameters of your behaviour and you can start to play with these parameters to change your behaviour (and lose weight, sleep more, eat healthy or whatever you want to change).
  • Go FigureRunning (of course) – Become a Pencil with GPS in your phone and hack the map.  Just download the app, start running in your neighborhood and draw the most beautiful figures while you’re getting fit.

To Read or to Watch:


Jeroen van Mastrigt –

TED/ Seth Preibatsch of Scvngr : “The Game Layer on Top of the World”:

DICE/ Jesse Schells’: Design outside of the Box:

GDC/ Jane McGonigal’s ‘We don’t need no stinking badgets(slidehare):

I join Kars’ to do tip: start using Foursquare. Then again I don’t think starting a Farmville career. This is seriously dangerous, it is not a game, but a day job.

To Read

The Hype

Dean Takahashi:

The Critique

Jesper Juul:

Margaret Robertson’s influential “Can’t Play, Won’t Play” (

Ian Bogost’s “S(c)hell Games” (

Umair Haque’s HBR post “Unlocking the Mayor Badge of Meaninglessness” (

Stephen Anderson’s presentation “Long After the Thrill: Sustaining Passionate Users” (

Jane (McGonigal) herself, inher GDC talk “We don’t need no stinking badges” (

Raph Koster just states “Feedback does not equal game design” (

On a side note, I elaborated on some more potential side effects here:

Further reading: Sebastian Deterding:

Ian Bogost’s  ‘Gamification is Bullshit’ statement

short url:

In his short treatise On Bullshit, the moral philosopher Harry Frankfurt gives us a useful theory of bullshit.


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