If you follow ebook news then you may have heard of BookLamp. This startup burst on to the scene last fall with a new way to analyze the contents of a book. They call it the Book Genome Project, and it goes beyond listing the basic facts of a book. Their algorithms make scene-by-scene measurements of elements such as pacing, density, action, dialog, description, perspective, and genre, and more.
The Game of Books takes all this data and uses it to build a game. BookLamp has found a way to measure the major themes of books and translate that into a system of badges and skills which shares similar concept with both Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering as well as other games.
I heard about TGoB last week at the Books in Browsers conference, and I spoke to Aaron Stanton, the founder and CEO of BookLamp, over the weekend. I picked up a couple things from the conversation (besides a burning desire to play the game). In our conversation Aaron noted the lack of interest from the digital publishing industry in using the Book Genome Project to develop ways to engage readers. TGoB is BookLamp's response.
BookLamp is launching this game themselves because this is the kind of project which they had hoped someone else would develop based on the Book Genome Project. In order to develop an interested userbase, this game is going to be funded by a KickStarter project. The intended target group are librarians and teachers, not the average reader, but I think this could well be worth getting involved in.
My description above is rather bald, but this game sounds like it could be of interest to anyone who likes to log their reading habits. I have never wanted to bother with that kind of paperwork, but this sounds like it might inject enough fun that it could be worthwhile.
I especially like one of Aaron's long term goals, which was to develop specific targets for readers to work towards. For example, Star Wars happened to come up in the conversation, we started discussing what skills and XP you would need to qualify as Darth Vader. Aaron already had a high level in medieval combat, and he figured that he would need to match it with a similar technology rating. The debate broke down around the point of discussing whether The Force would qualify as magic or not, and I think the character of Darth Vader would likely also need some type of evil villain badge or possibly a redeemed villain badge. That last would depend on which of the 3 movies and numerous books you picked as the target for the character.
The KickStarter project launches today and the rewards for the various funding levels will be kits which librarians, teachers, and parents can use to encourage kids to read. The kits will take another 6 months or so to finish and they should be done in time for next summer's reading lists.