Game writing and game design incorporate concepts that can be applied to regular life quandries. Here’s an example: recently I came across a question at Quora that cried out for a good gaming kind of strategy. The question: “What are some clever ways to mess with people with expensive cars who consistently park in two parking spots?”
Obviously, this applies to people with cheap cars too, and people who park across the line rather than trying to hog two spots. Basically, anyone who parks like a jerk.
The answer: I flip their wipers up.
This draws attention to the car and makes it stand out from all the other cars in the lot, which is what we want. The car then looks like it’s got its hands in the air, waving.
And hopefully it makes the driver think about what they might’ve done to warrant such attention. It’s quick, it’s non-destructive, and if the driver was forced to park that way because of someone else’s crappy parking job, well, no harm done. I’m hoping that more people use this method until it becomes the common way of notifying bad parkers that they have been seen and found wanting.
Not all cars/trucks have flippable wipers, but most of them do. It’s a convenience for the owner, who can replace the wiper refill when it’s flipped.
I’ve seen a number of different approaches to this problem, and most are a little more elaborate and honestly less effective. For example, Amazon has a variety of parking notes and fake tickets which you can keep in your car and leave on problem vehicles. And Lifehacker has highlighted the You Park Like an Asshole folks, who sadly seem to be out of business now. These methods are useful in communicating your displeasure, but I think it helps when the driver knows that others have been walking by their atypical car and scoffing at their parking job.
The gaming principles at work here are mostly social. Just like Ebay ratings or bad player reports. Social pressure – or even the possibility of social disapproval – is a powerful motivator. A lot of people will misbehave if they think no one’s paying attention or can rationalize themselves into thinking that “I’m not hurting anyone.” Knowing that their car has been the object of speculation and mockery can definitely influence a bad driver’s behavior.
And if you ever want to take it to the next level and report a bad parker or bad driver over the internet, there are several possibly defunct apps and a website for doing exactly that. These tools are definitely a satisfying way to share your woes and laugh at the ridiculous antics of others. And they make a permanent record of the bad behavior that’s linked to the driver’s license plate number. However, the chance of the report making it to the driver in question is pretty dang low at this point.
Anyhow, here’s the original Quora post. If you like it, please vote it up and share it with your friends!