Looking for something fun or educational to do this weekend? A just-launched site called GameMaki aims to be your guide.
The basic mechanics of the site look pretty straightforward. Users can post suggestions for worthwhile activities and assemble some of those activities into a set of suggestions called a GameMaki. Then if you’re looking for something to do, you can browse the site or see what your friends posted, vote suggestions up or down, and add items to your to-do list. Once you actually do the activity, you claim it on the site and win points and badges.
With its application of game mechanics to real-world activities, particularly the way it awards points and badges, GameMaki has probably taken some inspiration from location-based app Foursquare — and Foursquare includes activity tips too. The difference, as pointed out by co-founder and chief executive Keith Ng, is that GameMaki isn’t tied to your location, so you can include activities that take place anywhere, like “Run 10 miles.” (Foursquare has dipped its toe into rewards that aren’t tied into location check-ins, but I don’t think it has gone very far in this direction.)
That’s not to say that GameMaki challenges can’t be location-specific. The company has created a special set of activities related to the South by Southwest conference that’s just starting up in Austin, and most of them involve visiting a particular location, whether it’s the GameMaki booth or the conference kick-off party.
I’ve played with the site, and the challenges definitely cover a lot of ground — they include everything from “revive the 80s tomorrow” to “abstain from shopping this weekend” to “create your own variant of Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night.” That could be an advantage, if GameMaki users find lots of fun suggestions that aren’t available elsewhere, but it also risks making the site feel a little random.
GameMaki opened to the public today, and it’s still in beta testing. Ng said his team is also working on a mobile application.
The site was created by Singaporean startup Socialico. Investors include Myspace founder Brad Greenspan’s Social Slingshot Fund and Robert Bong, the chief executive of UCSI University in Malaysia.