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Living with a Gamer: How to turn cleaning into a game

By Edited Apr 20, 2016 0 0

Gamers are awesome people. They make great roommates, and fantastic lovers, but sometimes you notice a pile of dishes that hasn't been touched in weeks, or a stack of pizza boxes that might be empty collecting dust.

Games are socially wonderful in that they contain a very simple reward system. For X effort into the game they get X experience which levels them or gives them the means to purchase a new canon. A person can see their hard work getting them somewhere instantly.

The big question to us non-gamers is how is that so different from doing the dishes? Doing the dishes takes anywhere from 5 minutes to a half hour, and the reward is clear, a nice clean kitchen. How can they spend 2 hours in front of a screen to get a make-believe sword that might help them rescue a make-believe princess?

The answer, while grinding or fruitlessly dying trying to get a sword seems tedious, in the mind of a gamer doing dishes or cleaning the shower is more so. Instead of having the dishes become a chore, turn it into a game.

The game doesn't need to be complicated. Depending on the age of gamers involved of course, this is a game I came up with that might work as a template for you.

Every person in the house contributes $5 at the beginning of the week. This is the prize everyone is working for. If it is a tied, the beer bought with the jar money is split evenly.

Each house is different, in mine I have it divided into three zones: kitchen, living room and washroom. Each person is responsible for their guests. The kitchen is the highest scoring, 3 points available with garbage, dishes, and counters. The living room and washroom are both 1 point.

Now clever gamers out there are thinking, "Perfect! Five bucks a week, my house is clean and I get a low score, so what!" Well, this is true, and depending on the dynamic in the house, the best thing I could think to do is a $1 fee per point in the minus at the end of the week. So at an arbitrary time, such as midnight, everyone who made a mess that they have left gets a minus point. At the end of the week, each point in the minus goes into the jar to buy more beer for the winner.

This is not a perfect system, and there is no real way to enforce it. It is just a reward system for the person who feels they do too much, and a top score board that might entice competitive gamer roommates into helping out a bit more. The best thing to try is to get a reward system of sorts in place. Small, easily attainable goals are what the games have trained them for. Instead of fighting the training, accept it and have a cleaner, happier, gamer house!

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