Ok not quite. But WordPress.com and video games do have one thing in common: they each have a fun awards system.
Blog awards smell a lot like game achievements. To be clear, I’m talking about the awards under your profile in the “trophy case”. WordPress automatically presents these to bloggers who, say, reach 10 likes, 10 follows, and more. Let’s not forget about the romantic “anniversary award” for your blog.
If you haven’t touched a new video game in the last 10 years or so, you should know video games have achievements too. Did you fry 100 mutant winged aliens in game? Congratulations! You have earned the fly zapper achievement.
And game achievements are a diverse bunch that depend on the whim, sometimes practically sadistic, of the game developer. I mean I can’t stand those rare achievements that ask you to beat some death-defying feat in under minute. But that’s just me.
In both video games and WordPress, unlocking these awards is fun—for some. It adds an optional set of goals as you play or write, and it feels rewarding to accomplish a goal. It makes me, and I’m sure some others, want to earn more awards and encourages me to keep going. And if the overall game is good and the achievements aren’t sadistic, then I’m going to have plenty of fun.
However, there are a couple of differences between video game achievements and blog awards. I can’t go into all the obvious aspects here. But one difference is that bloggers can create and nominate others for awards. Check out the many awards floating out there in the WordPress community for example. But, no, you can’t nominate a fellow gamer for a trophy or achievement on Xbox 360 or PS3. Gamers also cannot create their own achievements for games. This is one difference that video games could adapt for their own purposes.
Video game achievements also tend to be more prominent than WordPress awards. Usually, unless you turn this feature off, you see game achievements pop up on your TV or computer screen. Sometimes there’s even a trademark “bleep” to warn you about the award. The WordPress trophy case, though, are like buried treasure: you have to go on journey just to find them. It’s always moving to different places and now they’re under your “profile.”
Of course, there are some who despise achievements in writing and some who hate unlocking them in games, and I think these complaints are valid. Again, I’m sure there are more well-reasoned complaints from both gamers and writers than I can cover. One blogger I read said something like blog awards were immature and weren’t important. I have also seen similar sentiments expressed by gamers about achievements. I can understand that they might find these awards or achievements to be distracting. Perhaps they do believes themselves to be more mature than your average person. Perhaps they just find them distasteful. So I think these people, including some game developers, might best be served if they could turn off achievements and/or blog awards. However, I still love both game achievements and blog awards and would always have them enabled.
So both WordPress and video games share some kind of achievement system with some similarities, differences, and weaknesses. WordPress’ use of awards isn’t surprising because we know that some businesses apply game features to their products. I guess they might want to make their product fun and keep you interested in returning, like a game developer would. What elements from video games, I wonder, will influence blogging next? Will it be virtual reality? How could blogging influence the way we play the next big game, if at all?