Gamification 2013: A conversation with Neil Randall

Wednesday, September 25, 2013
by June Macdonald

It’s the classic cry of parents trying to pry gaming consoles from the hands of kids everywhere: ‘Stop playing so many video games. You’ll never find a job some day if you waste all your time on that.’

Sorry to break the news to mom and dad, but Prof. Neil Randall is living proof that it ain’t necessarily so. He’s spun his lifelong love of words and games into a dual career at the University and Waterloo, where he’s an associate professor of English and director of the groundbreaking Games Institute. He’s also co-chair of Gamification 2013, an international conference that will play out at the university's Stratford, Ontario, campus from Oct. 2-4.

Neil Randall

We caught up with Prof. Randall to ask about the conference, get his take on Canada’s place in the global gamification arena, and figure out how an English prof lands a super-cool side gig designing board games.

Q: What do you hope will make Gamification 2013 unique from all the other gamification conferences out there?

A: Most of the gamification conferences have been focused primarily – and understandably – on industry applications or sector applications of some sort. This is aimed primarily at a merger of those kinds of interests but also the academic research component. We wanted to have (a conference) that focused directly on gamification itself, then merged academic research with industry research as well as non-profit research.

So in that sense, it’s very much a university-style conference. But it also brings in the industry element and the other people who are out in the field, actively creating gamification systems for either their companies or their organizations.

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