The gamification of football

Part of my ongoing, half-assed attempt to get myself into shape involves playing indoor football every week with some of my colleagues.

We aim to have five people per team, but we rarely hit that number. Sometimes we play an exhausting three-a-side game. We once played seven-on-seven, which was like trying to move a ball around a crowded nightclub. Often one team will be bigger than the other.

All in all it’s a pretty non-competitive event. We don’t make much of an effort to keep track of the score, and even when we do we’re still very likely to give up on scorekeeping at the end and just declare “last goal wins” when we’re about to run out of time.

Our relaxed approach to the game means that we’re more likely to try a manouvre that might look cool—like a bicycle kick or a diving header—than to do something that will actually lead to scoring a goal.

Chatting after the game today we came up with the idea of ‘gamifying’ the game. Just like many parts of life are being ‘gamified’ these days—like unlocking points and badges for visiting certain places in Foursquare—you can imagine getting achievements for things that you do in a real football game.

Some badge ideas:

  • Head boy: Score with a header. This is the achievement I spent most of today’s match trying (and failing) to unlock.
  • BFFs: Set up the same player for a goal, or have them set you up for a goal, 3 times in a match.
  • Poultry farmer: Be on the receiving end of a foul. (Is that too bad a pun?)
  • Postman: Hit the post 5 times in a match.
  • Greg Louganis: Take a dive!

Any other ideas?

The next step is to write the image recognition software to analyze video footage of a match and assign achievements (thereby earning the ‘Spent altogether too much time on such a silly idea’ badge).

One Reply to “The gamification of football”

  1. Are you trying to provoke me?

    Clearly the increased entertainment value for the player in 5-a-side comes from successfully using a piece of skill to go past an opponent – a drag-back, a panenka, a roulette, a stepover or similar.

    Scoring a goal is the achievement badge – it’s the many ways of doing so that make it fun.

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