Department of Citizen's Affairs, Canberra
2 February 2065
Thank you for the opportunity to contribute to your Parliamentary Report on Gamification. I particularly appreciate the opportunity to gain 1000 extra citizenship points with this submission. I hope my feedback will help you improve the experiences of Australian citizens as they Play The Game.
I think Gamification has had nothing but benefits for Australians. I had a doctor's check-up this week and received 500 point bonus! I've just switched to regular bran from the dried fruit cereal each morning. I know the fruit cereal is worth 50 more points because of the heart benefits, but I've discovered that if I have regular bran and a bowl of fruit then I can accumulate 300 points for breakfast each day.
I had to replace my toothbrush because the chip stopped registering whether I was brushing for the required three minutes to achieve 60 dental points each morning. They gave me the points for the days I missed though.
The 400 points I get for taking public transport to work each day cancels out the 400 point penalty I take for working more than an hour away from home. I've considered your suggestion to move closer to the city, but the apartments there are so much smaller than the ones in the suburbs. I don't think I could ever get used to sleeping in a cupboard, even if I would get a 150 point bonus each day for saving on heating bills.
I have taken to reading government news releases each morning. My colleagues didn't know that you got ten social awareness points for clicking on each report. If you read ten reports, you can actually get more points than you do participating in the morning exercises.
Speaking of social awareness points, I'm not sure they're working properly. A homeless man came up to me the other day and asked for some bus money. I explained that I couldn't help him out because I only donated money through registered charities, where I could get a monthly point bonus. He yelled angrily at me and walked away.
I think you need a way to make it beneficial for people to help out homeless people on the street. Maybe you could give us 40 points for giving away our bus tickets or something.
It's been nearly 20 years since we started Gamification, but I think there's still a lot to be worked out. I mean, it's awesome that every aspect of our life is now like a game. I'm old enough to remember what it was like to have to drag yourself away from Warcraft Universe to go to work each day. Now, I can turn on my computer and instead of just doing the accounts, I can play Number Wars to make everything balance.
It is a lot more satisfying. Even boring things like staying healthy and looking after the environment are better now that we can earn citizenship points to exchange for prizes and cash at the end of each year.
But it would be good if other aspects of our lives could be more like games. Have you thought about giving people point bonuses for talking with their families? My mother keeps calling me after dinner as I'm about to start playing Warcraft Universe for the night. Sometimes she talks to me for up to 15 minutes before I can get her off the phone. I'm a level 654 Mage, and I have responsibilities to be there for my Cabal. I can't afford to spend time just talking with family for no benefit. But if I could earn some points for it ...
You may note on my Citizenship Profile that I'm not a member of the Australian Nutrition Club. It's not that I don't want to be healthy. It's just that I'm only 685 Happy Meals away from becoming a Level 4 McDonald's customer, which will give me access to the fourth level VIP room in selected restaurants, as well as 5 per cent discounts at all their clothing and appliance stores. I just can't afford not to eat at McDonald's.
The use of Gamification by corporations is another issue I wanted to raise. I'm wondering if there is some way it could be better regulated. See, I've started going out with a KFC customer. We were always arguing about where we're going to go for dinner, so now we just eat separately. It's going well, but I'm worried about what will happen if we get married. Will our kids be McDonald's or KFC kids? I don't want to always eat alone.
I've tried to see if there is some way she or I could switch restaurants, but the corporations won't let us. Is there something the government can do?
I've nearly reached the required words, so I'll leave it there. I'm now up to 8560 points for the year, so I'm looking good for the government's 1,000,000 point threshold so far. I don't really want to have to sign up for jury duty or a soup kitchen to make up a point deficit this year. There's really no benefit to me in any of that.
Michael McVeigh is editor of Australian Catholics.