How Gamification Has Crept Into School, Work, And Fitness

Game developer and author Adrian Hon explains the consequences of allowing gaming principles to creep into so many corners of our lives.

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a headshot of a man with glasses and a goatee wearing a blue and white striped long sleeve shirt with a pink background
Adrian Hon, courtesy of Adrian Hon

Gamers often spend hours embarking on quests, unlocking new levels, and collecting badges. But what about when aspects of games start popping up in other parts of life—like work, school, and exercise?

Adrian Hon created the fitness app “Zombies, Run!” and has thought a lot about how the principles of gaming have crept into so many different corners of our lives, and why it may not always be as innocent as it seems. 

Ira and co-host Kathleen Davis talk with Adrian Hon, author of You’ve Been Played: How Corporations, Governments, and Schools Use Games to Control Us All. Hon is also the CEO and founder of the game developer, Six to Start, based in Edinburgh, United Kingdom.

Read an excerpt of You’ve Been Played: How Corporations, Governments, And Schools Use Games To Control Us All.

Universe of Art is hosted and produced by D. Peterschmidt, who also wrote the music. The original segment was produced by Shoshannah Buxbaum. Our show art was illustrated by Abelle Hayford. Support for Science Friday’s science and arts coverage comes from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. 

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Meet the Writers

About D. Peterschmidt

D. Peterschmidt is a producer, host of the podcast Universe of Art, and composes music for Science Friday’s podcasts. Their D&D character is a clumsy bard named Chip Chap Chopman.

About Shoshannah Buxbaum

Shoshannah Buxbaum is a producer for Science Friday. She’s particularly drawn to stories about health, psychology, and the environment. She’s a proud New Jersey native and will happily share her opinions on why the state is deserving of a little more love.

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