Today, with finally a free minute between holiday commitments and work deadlines, I took a minute to hop over to Patrick Rothfuss’s blog, because I had not yet donated to the Worldbuilders charity and, as you can see on the right, Rothfuss and I (and my wife) are all pretty tight … and contemplative.
Anyway, so I go to donate to Rothfuss’s charity, only to be sucked in to a completely different fundraiser! Like Rothfuss, I need another project (or even another way to spend money!) like I need a hole in the head, but this one seems extremely worthwhile, so here it is …
The Game of Books
Why do I care? Because I have two sons, and I suspect that this project will help them find books that they love as they get older.
Here’s how it works: the Book Genome Project has vetted over 100,000 books in various categories, similar to how Pandora has broken down music. The Game of Books would use this information as an engine to fuel a game where, by indicating that you’ve read and enjoyed various books, you gain experience points in those types of books.
And Rothfuss is convinced that the guy in charge of this, Aaron Stanton, knows what he’s talking about. On his blog, Rothfuss outlines how he grilled Stanton for 2 hours until he became convinced that this guy actually knew what he was talking about when applying his methodology. Not having the background in literary criticism that Rothfuss does, I’ll leave that in his capable hands. If we assume that the breakdown is accurate, then the Game of Books provides a great way to understand your own reading interests.
For example, if you read and liked (or loved) Ender’s Game, you would gain XP toward categories like strategic planning, education & schooling, military campaigns, and coming of age, and if you read enough books of the same type, you’d begin to level up. So, for example, if you read Ender’s Game, the entire Harry Potter series, the Hunger Games series, and various other books of this type, I imagine that you’d very quickly begin to level up in the “Coming of Age” category.
And, like how Pandora does with music, the system would be able to take your interests and use them to find new books that it believes you’ll enjoy! If you think that Amazon does a good job at suggesting books to you (and they certainly do for me), then imagine how these suggestions would work.
The rewards are pretty cool: access to the early beta, individual or group kits, buying kits for schools and/or libraries, and some that give authors and publishers special badges in game for their books. There’s also a $10 reward in which you can reward your favorite books with the “Somebody Loves Me” badge, which is kind of cool.
I’ve reached out to the head of the project to get some clarification on a couple of points, such as whether the Game of Books will include both fiction and non-fiction, but since time is limited, don’t wait for me to post those updates. Go now and check it out, watch the video on the Kickstarter page, and if this seems like something you’d like to support, don’t hesitate.