Ever wish that someone besides your Twitter following cared how many books you read last year? Or was willing to give you more than a pat on the back in the coffee room at work for reading more books than anyone else in your office? Here’s your chance. Aaron Stanton’s recently fully-funded Kickstarter campaign was to create the online game, Game of Books, in which readers earn badges and “experience points” for advancing through the levels. Players advance by reading more and more titles, which is information they can share through existing social media and reading-focused online communities like Goodreads.
“The Game of Books combines the physical world of books with the digital and imaginary. It is a website and mobile app that combines ‘Foursquare for books’ and Xbox Live-style gamer achievements, earning you badges and points for the rare themes you encounter in books,” said Stanton’s Kickstarter page. “At its heart, The Game of Books allows those of us that love reading to earn something extra for what we already love, to become the master of themes that we visit more than others, to discover books we’d otherwise miss, and to track how we have grown as readers over time.”
While it sounds like standard Facebook-game fun for the run-of-the-mill bibliophile, this concept has actual real-world educational applications. Since the game will be built on having readers complete “journeys” through various genres, sometimes the journey will require a book that a reader might otherwise not have chosen to read. With librarian and teacher verification in award the badges, students–especially reluctant readers–can find themselves seeking out whole new books or genres in order to complete their journeys.
After the successful Kickstarter campaign, which was helped along with a great contribution from Lulu.com and had some support from names like Warren Adler, the Game of Books is now available in demo mode only, allowing readers to see a very basic framework of how the concept will work in full more. This basic idea doesn’t even save data from session to session, so it is a very small glimpse of how it might work when fully operational. The demo can be found at gameofbooks.com/level_up.