Your Blog is a Video Game

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?

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8 Comments

Filed under Video Game Blog

8 responses to “Your Blog is a Video Game

  1. I love the little trophy system. It makes me feel like I’ve had an accomplishment, and I’m just like… awesome! Let’s keep going!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My blog has less trophies than the Welsh national football team.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha well that’s okay. Trophies are, at best, a bonus or a treat. They shouldn’t be a high priority for any blogger or gamer. I think it’s far more fun to write good posts and play games.

      Also, I’ll need to look up that team lol. I feel like I would love your witty comment even more if I was from the UK.

      Like

  3. While I generally enjoy the achievements in video games, I agree that sometimes they get out of hand. While it seems possible (but obnoxious) to beat BOTH all 128 levels of Rapunzel in Catherine, it’s a neat, somewhat enjoyable way to add more goals, and possibly online interaction for a game, mostly because those second 64 are down right insane sometimes. But then we get a game like Braid, which has a trophy for a speed run of the game, but not for collecting all the hidden stars (and certainly not one for completing the game, with all the secret stars, within a certain time frame). It’s nice that video games do this, sometimes, because it can lead to more community around the game. That said, however, there are plenty of player-created challenges that are in no way involved in the game’s official achievement system, but plenty of people participate, so it’s clearly not necessary. But these achievements which are seemingly consistent across the gaming world do lead to some other issues, I imagine, such as criticism from other gamers simply because you haven’t reached some arbitrary goal recommended by the developers.

    What does seem unnecessary is implementing this into a blog format. While it’s cool that WordPress “rewards” you for reaching oh-so-many followers, or allows you to create achievements for people, it just seems sort of hollow and meaningless in this type of atmosphere.

    Again, that said, Kobo uses (or used? I really don’t know if they still do) achievements for reading a certain number of books, or at certain times of the day. Those seem way more useful because they’re still promoting goals that the user can work towards, unlike blogging where so much of it is out of your hands. Creating your own achievements, and working towards those specifically, may be a reasonable and productive compromise.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I think we’ve also seen and played video games with obnoxious achievements that ask us to complete impossible feats. Thankfully, WordPress’ rewards, as far as I know, do not have anything obnoxious like this. That might make WordPress’s achievements attractive for some.

      Perhaps WordPress’ achievements seem unnecessary for some, but I think we could find many others who like them. Perhaps they are especially attractive to a younger generation who have only ever played games that offer achievements. Some of these people might be thrilled to see rewards in a blogging system or Kobo or whatever else. And I share their taste for achievements.

      I find the achievements in WordPress are low-key enough that they don’t annoy me even when I’m having a bad day. They do not need to define me or my blog or lead me to feel inadequate as a writer. I can ignore them if I wish.

      For those people who still despise blog achievements, they might wish to turn off WordPress achievements. I think this is a nice option that might be nice to add to WordPress. After all, WordPress offers bloggers a myriad of options that can be toggled on and off all with the simple click of a button. Why not make achievements one of those options?

      Also, I think you won the achievement for the longest well-thought-out comment on my blog. Congrats!

      Like

  4. I like the trophy system in WordPress, it makes blogging fun.

    Liked by 1 person

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