Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Chore Wars

Chore Wars is a great example of using a gaming aesthetic to improve the experience of a non-gaming activity.
Chore Wars Splash Page
Say you are living with a bunch of roommates. You all create characters on Chore Wars, and together create a set of "adventures," such as taking out the trash, doing the dishes, folding laundry, etc. Each adventure has an associated experience point award roughly equal to the number of minutes it takes to do the activity.

As your roommates do their chores, they gain experience points, and start leveling up. The character class mimics the types of chores done - for instance, someone who does a lot of heavy lifting chores, like moving furniture, will become strong like a warrior, while someone who does a lot of "smarts" chores, like balancing the checkbook or paying bills, will become smart like a wizard.

Even better, you can assign fun treasures and monsters to each adventure for a little bit of fun.

The resultant mechanic is no different than just keeping a spreadsheet of chores, but it's much more interesting this way, and provides a built-in competitive incentive to do chores. And by letting your roommates measure the chores done, you can easily tell who should have to clean up the dog vomit in the middle of the living room floor...

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