Who are you and how many of them?

A lifelong we are on our way to find ourselves. We question ourselves, we lose our spark and find it again – we have this picture of us in our mind, which we desperately want to achieve, want to live, want to enjoy. Games give us the possibility to be somebody different in another world, and still be us – like in the book “Ready player one.” We love this idea whom we want to be so much, that we live another life in our minds, which we can bring to the world via Instagram, facebook, snapchat or other social media. And still, the question is…

“Who are you?”

In my case, my answer to this question would obviously be “I am Jasmin”. But WHO am I? Digging deeper to this – I am 30 years old, my zodiac is Taurus, I am a Gamifier & Strategic Designer, I live near Frankfurt and I am working as a Consultant, I love to read books, drawing and believe in emotions, passion and that people are more than they believe they are… etc. I could continue for more than 5 Minutes like this. Is that all of me? Probably not! Still: “Who am I?”.

Let me rephrase the question – Who are you in which situation and how you are feeling in this situation? Now, when I think of this question, my first answers would be:

  1. I am Jasmin, I am a daughter, one of two children, half German, half Turkish, loving the nature and asking questions, never gets to the point and wh is very impatient.
  2. I am Jasmin Deniz Karatas, I work as a consultant in a big IT-Consultancy and leading the Gamification Chapter in Austria, Switzerland, Germany, and Russia.
  3. I am J, I have a strong opinion, I can stand my point and I will not just give up.

For sure more than one

In the book, “Incognito” David Eagleman writes about our brain and how it is working. As well he gives us some answers to the question: “What makes me?”. We are a collection of what we learned, experienced, gathered as information and generated our own ideas our own “digital twins within our selves”. Our brain links all this information to paths or building up new ones. It builds analogies and tries to understand the world, humans need to categorize and needs to decide fast and right in stress situations. For this, we are building up to something like a “behavioral pattern library”. This is crucial for us to survive, to think fast, the right things in stress situations.

In her book “The Transformative Power of Performance – A New Aesthetics” Erica Fischer-Lichte writes about the peculiar mode of experience that a performance provokes – blurring distinctions between artist and audience, body and mind, art and life – is here framed as the breeding ground for a new way of understanding performing arts, and through them even wider social and cultural processes.

It is all about the role, the frame and what you explore while it. Games are actually a bit like a performance, with the audience, in case of a multiplayer game, or without. And here we go. This is why I think games can teach us, can transform ourselves and so a good Gamification, which will focus on this special area and is well designed could have a great impact on personal development.

The power of roles

Games and so Gamification could give us the chance to explore a new role, a new mindset, a new me – I can explore this new me in a “safe zone”, as it is within a system, in which I know, I am somebody else, I am just this role. I am Elysea, the 46 level, night elf mage in World of Warcraft or Elyseum, who kill the whole world population with a virus in “plaque inc.” It sure depends, how intensive I can experience this role and how much I can project myself on the character or my avatar. The more I can adjust the figure – my avatar, the more I will see her as an expanded me, and all that she/he will learn, I will learn and will automatically get more linked to me and myself and my various characters I have within me.

This is the kind of learning you experienced in Kindergarten by playing “father, mother, child” or while you were a hero an imaginary world. To learn new roles, we need a safe zone to experiment, to get guided, self-explore, to learn.

In Gamification we use roles and mindsets, avatars or profiles. This is as well the reason why it is so important when you design something for somebody, to really explore the one you are designing for – and you need to learn with your own body and mind, what it means to be the other person, to help you to design for the persons’ needs.

The good or bad news is, the things we learned, experienced or saw through the eyes of another role, will get attached to us, the more often we will go in a certain role, the more we will observe, the more the other person will get us, or get a part of us.

We are many and we are all us!


Follow me on my journey through the design & gamification world – let’s play!

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

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Also published on Medium.