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QZ&A

Gaming is about solving problems that don’t exist, and that’s a good thing

Pac-Man played on a historic Commodore 64 computer.
REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay
40 years after Pac-Man, we still don’t understand what games are about.

Ian Bogost has a job that wouldn’t have existed a generation ago: He’s a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology focused on games, and founding partner of Persuasive Games, a design studio that makes games about social and political issues. Bogost is also the author of a dozen books about the gaming world, and is teaching many of the next crop of game designers. We picked his brain about myriad issues he’s facing in the trenches, including the future of gamification.

The conversation has been edited for length. 

Quartz: You have written that gamification is bullshit.” Explain what you mean. 

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