John Willshire, Chief Innovation Officer at PHD and a great, down-to-earth guy if ever there was one, was recently part of the team that built Pocketgame for Cadbury. At Playful last year, I remember James Wallis and Sally Manning demonstrating their respective game entries for the competition (Sally eventually went on to win), and I remember thinking what a fun way to get into people’s lives Cadbury were backing, and what a great project it was. Games are more important now than ever; in Jane McGonigal‘s Reality is Broken which I’m currently reading, she mentions high-level executives who say they play during work “in order to feel more productive”.
Now this is a statement that sounds crazy on the face of it – playing games to feel more productive at work? But this speaks to how much we all crave simple, hands-on work that feels genuinely productive. We turn to games to help us alleviate the frustrating sense that, in our real work, we’re often not making any progress or impact.
She also quotes another author (and book) that I’ve read and enjoyed, Alain de Botton’s ‘The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work’. She then says:
In casual games, there is no greater purpose to our actions – we are simply enjoying our ability to make something happen.
And Pocketgame is a rare example of a small but truly nice brand campaign.
The Pocketgame team have just created a documentary which is a nice insight into the whole process. Take a look.
And by the way John, I recognised your voice in the voiceover!