Game of Life

My personality directly conflicts with gamified learning systems. I can't do it. The numbers, the rankings, it's all too much.

Do you remember that SETI@home screensaver from the early 2000s? By installing it — or its successor BOINC — your computer could be put to work during idle periods to crunch radio astronomy data alongside thousands of other computers doing the same thing.

It was essentially a "cloud" before that term had caught on.

To encourage participation, all individual contributions were logged and ranked. Cheap animated GIF certificates were made available at various tiers. Teams were introduced to track contributions from businesses and schools.

Yeah, well, I'm still using my computer's idle time to crunch data for SETI. My lifetime rank as of this exact moment is 8,996 out of 1,801,015.

I can't just stop at this point. I'm in the 99.5 percentile! Worldwide!

I'm going to have to do this forever.

That, in a nutshell, is what gamification does to me.