If the real world were like FarmVille, I’d be ultra rich!
By: Dennis Yu
A guest post by Dennis Yu.
I spend hours a day tending my virtual farm. I’m at level 21, have 51,815 in cash, and am ahead of most of my friends. I squeeze out every little bit of optimization from my farm, like a maniac. But why work so hard in a video game instead of making real cash in the real world to spend with real friends?
The answer is simple– because it’s fun.
How many of you stay at home dads and stay at home moms are guilty of playing video games when you know you have stuff to do?
Imagine if you were as motivated to do chores as play your favorite video game. You’d actually be looking forward to taking out the trash, going to see the doctor, or whatever it is that you don’t like to do.
And not only would you enjoy doing it, the further along you went, the more enjoyable it becomes, as you get to higher levels, earn more points, and engage with your friends. Positively addicting.
Is this really possible? Yes!
Set up your life like a video game:
• Give yourself points for doing things that you don’t like– the more unattractive, the most points.
• Have levels you can unlock as you reach higher point levels. With each level, there is some sort of reward– take yourself out for ice cream or whatever is pleasurable. Don’t ever just treat yourself unless you’ve earned it, else the system has no power.
• Allow your friends to play the game, so you can compete against one another for the high score. Even allow gifting, where you can earn points by helping out your friend on his/her chore list.
• Create ribbons for achievements– exercised 10 days in a row, put away a total of $5,000 in savings for my kid’s college fund, got an A in a particular class, anything.
Now your whole life is tied to the fun of being in a video game and you reap real rewards for having played the game successfully.
Look at this example of people taking the stairs versus the escalator because it’s fun:
To my knowledge, nobody has built such a comprehensive game, that would allow you to set goal, customize rules, and invite friends to play. The closest I can think of is sparkpeople.com, which a free weight loss site, and then facebook (though they don’t award points for your personal achievements).
The beauty of such a system is that the points don’t have to cost money. Just look at Farmville– their virtual currency can’t be redeemed for anything but more virtual prizes in the game– essentially just images. And a lot of people are paying real dollars to buy pixels that live on Facebook. Now how about we turn that around?
What do you think? What ways can you think of to make your life more fun?