I was inspired by Jane McGonigal's New Yorker talk on Saving the World Through Game Design. Like Shufflebrain, Jane is designing and championing games that embrace the real world. I particularly like her thinking about the "economy of engagement":
- satisfying work to do
- the experience of being good at something
- time spent with people we like
- the chance to be part of something bigger
These ideas capture the mechanisms that keep people involved in MMOs -- and in a good work situation as well. It's no wonder so many people are intrigued with the idea of applying an MMO framework to getting work done.
However, MMOs and jobs -- and Jane's ARG games -- are time-intensive experiences. I'm VERY interested in how these ideas apply to lightweight social games that are quick to play and accessible to people with limited free time -- AKA a busy working Mom, like me. Or like the millions of casual game players who can take a few minutes a day to play a fun game.
Any thoughts about this? Do you know of any lightweight casual games that offer a satisfying "economy of engagment" without the overhead and grind of an MMO?