For many of us, September signals a return to school, which means more responsibilities and homework. And while we all know that getting organized is the best way to stay on top of our responsibilities, staying organized throughout the school year can be a real challenge, especially for individuals who struggle with executive functioning and other organization-based challenges.
That’s the motivation for Habitica (new window), a browser-based role-playing game that rewards players with in-game currency and experience levels for completing everyday tasks. These tasks are assigned by the player, and are categorized as either “Habits”, “Dailies”, or “To-dos”. Habits are divided into two categories: good habits, and bad habits. Good habits are positive tasks that players complete often, such as productive work or exercise. Completing these activities earns gold and experience. Bad habits are the opposite; they represent activities that you should avoid doing, such as eating junk food. Whenever a player indulges in a bad habit, it takes points off a player’s total health, allowing players to see the consequences of their choices. Daily activities or “Dailies” are tasks that repeat every day, such as brushing one’s teeth. If these tasks are not checked off at the end of the day, your player will lose health. If they are completed during the course of the day, your player will earn gold and experience. “To-dos” are a bit more broad, and generally include larger and less common tasks. Because to-dos fall outside of daily tasks and habits, you do not lose anything by not completing them. However, you still earn gold and experience if they are completed.
As soon as a task is created by the player, it shows up on the Habitica dashboard where it can be later edited, deleted, or marked as complete in order to gain gold and experience. Designed with organizationally challenged individuals in mind, the various task groups are well placed and easy to access, allowing users to quickly access the information they need without spending time unnecessary time searching for them.
Habitica also features a highly customizable character creator, which allows users to create pixelated versions of themselves that they can then customize with higher level accessories as they become available. As players level up by completing daily tasks, habits, and to-dos, they unlock new features, clothing, accessories, and styles which they can then apply to their avatar, thereby motivating players to continue to level up their character.
However, in order to purchase these unlocks, users must spend in-game currency, known as gold. Gold is earned alongside experience, and can be used to customize your avatar, purchase items for pets, purchase new weapons and armour, and more. Gold can even be spent on custom-made rewards that can be enjoyed in the real world, such as 15 minute breaks, or a trip to the ice cream parlour. And because gold can be earned through player-assigned tasks, players are motivated to include as many tasks as possible in their list, as more tasks to complete means more gold earned, which translates to more rewards.
Habitica is a great way for students to stay motivated and organized throughout the school year. It reinforces good habits and shows the consequences of bad habits, while still keeping within the realm of fun and fantasy. Not only that, but Habitica assigns value to everyday activities, turning mundane and repetitive tasks into exciting and rewarding opportunities to build ones character, thereby teaching its users the true value of organization and responsibility. For organizationally challenged students, or for people who simply want to “gamify” their responsibilities, Habitica will surely leave them questing for more.
*Note: Habitica is now also available as a free download for android and iOS devices.