You might’ve seen those TikToks that allude to people game-ifying real life mundane tasks in order to make it fun or enjoyable:
I’m wondering what that trends such as this reveal about the nature of games and their purpose in our lives. What does it say about us that going to work is more enjoyable if we think of it as a game? What does it say about the nature of work in the present day and our satisfaction with life? Games such as The Sims replicate real-life in a gaming reality, which people find fun. Why?
For this Digital Artifact, I’ll be working with The Sims 4 to investigate the questions above. The Sims is a suitable case study given it’s huge success, as it lends itself easily to a discussion around gamification of reality. Charles Paulk explains The Sims’ unexpected success.
“Few could have imagined a thriving audience for virtual domesticity. Will Wright, however, did. In the year 2000, the PC-gaming auteur delivered The Sims unto the world, and several million people deemed it good. Here was a game as menial and repetitive as life itself, and its utter dearth of the fantastic perversely served as its hook.”Signifying Play: The Sims and the Sociology of Interior Design
I’ve found a handful of useful sources that could help build my understanding of ‘real-life’ as a genre for gameplay. A 2010 article titled ‘The Sims: Real Life as Genre’ by Diane Nutt & Diane Railton explains that:
“Real life as genre is problematized (in The Sims), the tensions and conflicts of contemporary real-world conceptualizations appear to be represented in the game. What is interesting then, given this, are the ways in which players negotiate the gameplay.”
Check out the my pitch video below to find out how I plan go about exploring this idea and follow my DA’s Instagram account (@you.but.make.it.a.sim) to keep up with the project!