A Perspective on Blending Programming Environments and Games: Beyond Points, Badges, and Leaderboards – VL/HCC 2016

Programming environments and game environments share many of the same characteristics, such as requiring their users to understand strategies and solve difficult challenges. Yet, only game designers have been able to capitalize on methods that are consistently able to keep their users engaged. Consequently, software engineers have been increasingly interested in understanding how these game experiences can be transferred to programming experiences, a process termed gamification.

In this position paper, we assert through formal argument that gamification as applied today is predominately narrow, placing emphasis on adopting the reward aspects of game mechanics at the expense of other important game elements, such as framing. We argue that more authentic game experiences are possible when programming environments are re-conceptualized and assessed as a holistic, serious games. This broad gamification enables us to more effectively apply and leverage the breadth of game elements to the construction and understanding of programming environments.

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