Nerdsworth Academy


Chorewars: Making a Game Out of Making the Bed

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Hey all,

It’s a wonderfully dreary Sunday, and on dreary days I like to play games (okay, I like to play games on most days, but dreary days especially). However, sometimes there are also chores to be done. Luckily, today is not one of those days, but if it were, I could take solace in the fact that I would be leveling up my character on Chore Wars.

Chore Wars has a standard list of chores, but you can add more specialized ones if you'd like.

Chore Wars has a standard list of chores, but you can add more specialized ones if you'd like.

One of my co-workers pointed me to a cool little game called Chore Wars. The game is designed as a chore inspired RPG, where the player creates a character and earns in-game experience by going on adventures, real-life adventures, of daring and perseverance, of cunning and of strength, all for the good of the party. By this, of course, I mean by doing household chores.

Sometimes you'll encounter wandering monsters which will drop extra loot.

Sometimes you'll encounter wandering monsters which will drop extra loot.

When you log in to Chore Wars, you are asked to create a character, choose a portrait, and then either start or join a party. The game has a standard list of “adventures” that the player can go on, and the Dungeon Master can make custom “adventures” as well. After completing an adventure, the player logs in and claims the adventure, as well as some percentage (some over 100%) of the experience associated with that adventure depending on the adventure’s difficulty. Were the dishes particularly grimy? Take double experience. Was it a light load of laundry? Take half.

Party members will be able to see who has claimed what adventures, as well as any notes that were added by the adventurer.

Party members will be able to see who has claimed what adventures, as well as any notes that were added by the adventurer.

I haven’t done enough chores of my own to get very far in the game, but I could see it being a great help for parents who want to get their children excited about doing chores. For one, it creates a log of the work that the child is doing and this can be a helpful for showing children how the amount of work involved in doing chores adds up quickly. Secondly, I can see the game becoming a source of competition to see who has done the most chores.

You can also get a neat little badge to add to your signature online, like so:

Sunhawk, my Chore Wars character

I think that Chore Wars is a good example of the kind of game that Jane McGonigal was talking about: it’s a simple game, but it can be used to affect behavior in a positive way. Chore Wars uses the language of games to make fun something which isn’t generally considered fun. Hell, it’s basically a chore log book. I may not like doing the laundry, and if I know I’ll get another few experience points and the chance to slay a rat, then maybe it will make it just a little bit better. I’d be interested to hear of success (or failure) stories about families using it, or other productivity-related games.

Till next time,
-S


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