Friendly Competition – Episode 8

MARIO KART. by MIKI Yoshihito (CC BY 2.0)

Sibling rivalry is a thing. While this blog’s feature image might not suggest it, my relationship with my younger brother Luke involved various forms of competition. I remember one time when playing table tennis, Luke was so adamant that the score didn’t matter that he conjured the quotable saying, ‘When I lose I win!’ Even our long sessions playing cooperative games on the Nintendo together were full of mock arguments about the lack of wisdom in his ‘run forward and shoot’ strategy and the extra time I was taking to walk in and save his life (that may be a biased description). But I’m happy to be able to say that the ‘rivalry’ between us never really fit the connotations of that term – play can involve competition that is friendly, constructive, and valuable.

Given its close relationship to gaming, gamification inevitably pivots on competition as well. We chatted briefly about the role(s) cooperation and competition play in last week’s Periscope broadcast on Rocksmith, and the subject has popped up in earlier episodes on, for instance, the Pact app and Habitica. The complex dynamics of play across what I’ve elsewhere called the competitive-cooperative spectrum, and the common player preferences for different kinds of games that fall somewhere along that line, reveal how people respond differently to different forms of competitiveness.

The theme of friendly competition bring us to this week’s episode on Team Treehouse, a gamified professional development content provider that specialises in web design, coding, and the like. Check out the below video to get the scoop on the what, how, and why!

Treehouse by Qfamily (CC BY 2.0)

An apt metaphor in more ways than one, Treehouse seeks to bring together people in organisational settings or as part of a broader global community in the quest to stay ‘on top’ of things. As Danielle points out, friendly competition serves an important purpose in pushing yourself – and therefore others along with you – in a hectic professional environment where being a life-long learner is paramount to success. Of course, gamified processes need not necessarily involve multiple people in a collaborative scenario. Often the most effective form of competition that anyone can partake in is competing against oneself – yet ‘rivalry’ can have its place.

Luke and I didn’t have a treehouse, but we still reminisce every now and then about how pathetic he was at getting himself killed on the Nintendo. Again, that might be slightly biased, but given he doesn’t have a blog…

I win.


Feature image: photograph taken by a very abusive mother (in haberdashery terms).

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