The two sides or: Game is development and restriction

Today a wonderful motivational video crossed my way and reminded me why I’m doing what I do. It’s because I truly believe in it.

I believe in design and games!

I trust in the power of change, the power of people and that in our hearts we all know what we want to do. How often did somebody say to me, that I am wrong, that I won’t do it, that I am not the one who can make it. And by one day, I decided just not to listen to them.


I knew right at the start of our project, that one needs to go the whole way towards end, in order to prove himself, knowing that it could work out, so it’s all down to a single call – no risk no fun.

It was “us” against “them” (CORE DRIVE I in the Octalysis Framework) – to be honest, people around us, who called themselves design experts, said that we will fail – that our vision will not make it.


So we just did it – we believed in us, in our vision, in what we wanted to reach. As for Elisa and me, we found something that inspired us and that we could believe in, because we explored it, we gave game a chance to impress us, to take us with it to it’s journey.


When Elisa and I started to deal with the topic games in combination with design, early 2013, got us into an argument, about whether or not searching for answers in games and gamification is the right way to go for. As always, we both had different ideas on how we see games, play and gamification. We were our own critics in the best way – by being the opposite of each other. However trusting each other, being valuable partners for each other, challenging each other thoughts and ideas – we were a team of two.


To see it in a more personal point of view: I was fascinated by game and play quite early, I grew up with digital games, with my families Commodore 64 I found secret treasures, discovered new worlds in form of 8-Bit graphics. A whole new universe got in front of me.

And there were just a tiny piece of glas and circuit boards separating me from it. I was fascinated by it.

I was als into competitive sports, going out and playing outside with my friends. Games inspired my imagination, it cheered my curiosity and gave me the freedom questioning given paths, understand and plot ideas. Games empower us in human beings with our human emotions and thinking. For me, games have always been about great storytelling, amazing universes in which I could be the hero, right in the center of action. This is probably the main reason why many people are so fascinated about games – it is all about themselves.


On the other hand Elisa saw it in a more conservative way – Play and especially games are a waist of time, there is no need to play games. For her games were a childish play, giving nothing back than chaotic situations and distraction. For her online role play games symbolizing a total loss of reality and were restricted to people, who have a lack of social competence. She didn’t first believe in the power of game and how it could change something – and guess what, she gave something she didn’t trust in the chance to change her mind. She truly is a very strong woman with a wonderful and experimental mindset. Thank you for trying it out!

So we discovered our first theorem.

Theorem I:
The two sides or: Game is development and restriction

Game is a ambivalent term. In our society we have oppositional point of views, towards games – some need them in their daily lives, others will see it as waisted time and as a “bad” thing. With game & play it is like with the most of things in our lives, what is against our habits, in what we belief, we don’t want to give a chance to. So we just don’t try it and at the end we are afraid of change and just don’t do it and just struggle where we are – so stop right now and give something new, something crazy, something strange a chance. We tend to see games as “asocial” and “childish”. However games have the potential to arouse passion, and could have positive effects on our personality. We simply didn’t try it.


Games are more than just fun, they are psychology, mechanics, deep human understanding, experience, scarcity, pressure, stress, emotions – games are life in all it’s ambivalent beauty.


Coming back to the video I mentioned at the beginning. We don’t know how something will may develop in the future. We have to risk it, and we need the courage to give something a chance to impress us. And to finish with a wonderful quote of somebody who lived his life in such a manner:

Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

–  Steve Jobs



Be a bit brave today and give something you may not believe in or you don’t like, the chance to impress you – and I would love to hear how this went! So share it with me, with us and leave a comment.


So follow me on my journey trough the gamification world – let’s play!

Thanks for reading — I’m Jasmin Deniz Karatas. I’m a Strategic Designer & Gamifier.

/// If you have thoughts on the article, share it with me. Thanks! ///

As well feel free to follow me on twitter or visit me on LinkedIn


Also published on Medium.