Understand the freelance industry through gamification


So I just want to talk briefly about games and how they can used for educational purposes, with particular reference to my game – Expose Yourself.

For some reason, games don’t seem to have a place which has been allowed for learning within the older generation(http://www.recode.net/2015/4/24/11561860/where-are-all-the-educational-video-games-for-adults).  The general stereotype is that games are for kids, and so the older market seems to be pushed to the side and forgotten about.  The fact is, that this in untrue.  I have found this pdf (http://www.igea.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Digital-Australia-2016-DA16-Final.pdf) which I’ll link below which showcases the average game consumers, including playing, watching and streaming, and it shows that the average age of game consumers are 33 years old.  Why then is there not a market for education aimed at an audience outside of school?  Is it because games are considered fun, and the idea of learning being fun is a taboo concept?  Surely if you have fun while learning, you are more likely to retain the information which you have picked up (http://www.igea.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Digital-Australia-2016-DA16-Final.pdf).  So my question is this: why is gamified learning something that is not present in workplaces (https://hbr.org/2015/09/games-can-make-you-a-better-strategist)?

My game Expose yourself tries to educate players about the state of the freelance industry, in a fun satirical way by placing the player in the shoes of a freelance worker.  The player is then forced to think about what is more valuable to them as something to earn: money to live, obtained through part time jobs, or exposure which stacks up towards a full time job in the industry.  The use of exposure as the only payment method for freelance jobs looks to highlight the lack of value given to the workers within this industry.  If people don’t want to do it for free, they will just ask someone else.  The fact that these cards need to be played along side part time job cards in order to earn a consistent living, aims to demonstrate the fact that it is difficult to survive on freelance work alone.  When playing with Dan McGrath, he came to this conclusion: “Designers are used as resources, not valuable people”; that is to say that the construct of the game highlights the lack of care for the individual, so long as they get the job done quickly, and cheaply.

One of the elements in my game I’m having trouble with currently is the difficulty in being able to complete the full time job cards.  To date, not a single game has been won through this means, instead the player with the most cash/exposure ratio has been awarded the win.  I think I’m struggling with this element as making it difficult to obtain makes a clear statement about the industry: getting a full time job in the field is not easy.  There are certain job cards such as the #Bribery card which suggest that money can get you places, and I was considering introducing cards which state you must have started with a certain character, and have some exposure in order to get the job, to bring home the idea of “it’s not what you know, but who you know.”

I’ve drawn a lot of inspiration from the website Clients From Hell (http://clientsfromhell.net/), as they detail horror stories of clients freelance workers have had to deal with.  After discussing the idea with another friend in the industry, she linked me to the website of The World’s Longest Invoice (https://www.worldslongestinvoice.com/), which lists jobs which were simply not paid for by clients.  Another website which has cropped up since beginning my development is the site Who Pays Influencers? (http://whopaysinfluencers.com/), which looks to highlight both positive and negative experiences of the micro-celeb/insta celeb/social media celeb, who are paid to promote certain products.  As someone who has worked occasionally as a freelance designer since 2013, I’m also drawing upon my own experience, as it is very easy to undervalue your work when the entire system is telling you to.  The social utility of this game is as such, to educate those who are not in this industry, and create an understanding of what it is like.


  1. I would love to have a game for my workplace!! I think it would be awesome to play games in any industry for educational purposes!
    I wish my game had more purpose than just a fun entertaining board game, this is actually a potential “game changer” – get it – in terms of bringing some light to educating people in the freelance industry through this game!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your game not only highlights the on-going struggles and experiences of a Freelance worker, but also adds a dimension of great gameplay! I am really excited to have a play-test on this – do you think you will have a final version of the game by the end of the week?!

    As I am a freelance designer myself, I understand the quarrels and dampeners this game is trying to highlight! Exposure is key, and try to gain that exposure is like pulling brand new teeth out! I am really interested to see how you as designers can bring personality to this game and allow it to resonate amongst others who aren’t in the same industry! Keep it up!


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