When our Turkish ambassador Ercan Altug Yilmaz invited me and Sabrina Bruehwiler to deliver our ‘How to design your gamification solution’ workshop at the first GamFed conference happening in Istanbul I was extremely happy and honored. I had never been to Istanbul even though Thessaloniki, my hometown, is just a few hours away. I was very excited to go there and meet the gamification community that is constantly growing.
This is not a review of the event as a big part of it was in Turkish and I could not even learn how to say thank you in the two days I spent in Istanbul. This is my personal experience from these two days I spent in Istanbul and the fun we had.
First, the thing that struck me the most was how welcoming people from the Turkish gamification community were. They were waiting for me at the airport on Friday, picked me up and took me to do some sightseeing. Istanbul is a beautiful city with lots of history and impressive monuments. Very rich culture that is definitely worth exploring more next time. It’s a huge city nonetheless and that means that it’s full of problems that huge cities have like traffic!
Saturday was the day on the conference and we arrived at the venue, a great co-working space called Habita at around 12 and did a short interview with a media agency that owns a popular Youtube channel about games. After the interview, we went to where our workshop would be held and organized everything so we were ready to go when people came through the door. From what people tell me the panel before our workshop was fantastic and people were very engaged. Seeing a lot of posts on Twitter about it I think it’s a proof that people like it. After the panel was done at Habita, our workshop attendees showed up and created random teams to start the workshop. Again, what was a very pleasant surprise was how much people tried to make you feel good. Everyone was very relaxed, talking about gamification and being creative. All teams worked a specific problem that they thought needed solving and they designed a gamification solution for it. Prototyping and play testing is always fun as people can get creative and afterwards talk about it!
Everyone was eager to hear about the other team’s ideas and how they tried to solve the problem they had chosen. It all ended with a lot of group photos, signing certificates and of course a superb dinner at a great restaurant. Food was a big part of this short trip to Istanbul, which is always good of course!
I really hope more event like this will be organised in other countries as well and we can go and meet more awesome people and talk more about gamification! If you have ideas for future GamFed events, please let us know!