Monday, August 17, 2015

Inventory Item: Habit RPG

What is it?

Anyone remember playing those old 8-bit pixel video games and wishing they were real?  That's what Habit RPG is.  Only instead of quests like obtain and fly a zeppelin or kill the dragon plaguing the village of nosy loiterers, its cleaning up the dish monster of Washed-Up Lake.  I know, it sounds dumb, but bear with me.

First, you create a customized 8-bit avatar.  Then, by creating a to-do list and daily tasks and completing them, you get in-game money, experience, equipment, and pets.  You can join guilds and parties to take on quests for extra prizes.  You can also set up real life rewards to work towards in the game.  

I expected to try this out once for nostalgia's sake and never pick it up again.  The tongue-and-cheek humor and adorable graphics have kept me using it for everything from tracking healthy habits to managing chores.  We even started our own party, the Jaegermonsters (cause ve have nize hatz, ja?).  Habit RPG is available as a browser game, iOS App, and Android App

Why does it work?

Habit RPG is based on the same behavior principles that make video games so addictive: continuous, variable positive reinforcement.

Remember how people complained about how Diablo 3 was basically a pinata disguised as a video game?  You basically hit things with sticks to get pretties to fall out?  Did that stop you from playing it? Me either.   

This is because Habit RPG and Diablo 3 both give players randomized rewards for doing something, known in the behavior business as  variable positive reinforcement.

Experimental trials have shown that this is the most powerful way to get someone to do something.  So, if you find yourself spending hours ordering your Sims to do housewhork while your own dishes sit rotting in the sink day after day, Habit RPG may be for you.

BREAKING NEWS: Habit RPG just rebranded to Habitica, new name, same great app!

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