Handy App Turns Your Relationship into a Game for Mobile Device


Doing things that aren’t “playing games on an iPhone” can be really, really hard and boring sometimes. Thankfully, as technology continues to innovate and move forward, that’s something we have to worry about less and less. Everything can be a game for iPad or mobile device! Everything!

One such tedious and hard real-life thing is your relationship with your romantic partner. It’s tough to remember to always do nice things for your partner, and sometimes it’s so boring to listen to them explain the plot of third Matrix movie while you’re innocently trying to take a shower (shower is a strictly Keanu-free zone). So thank goddess that there’s an app for “having an intimate relationship with another person:” it’s called Kahnoodle, and it strives to gamify your relationship.

Gamification is a buzzword that refers to the use of game thinking and game mechanics in non-game situations. A typical gamification strategy involves rewarding players for accomplishing real-life things with badges, points, or the filling of a progress bar. For instance, Foursquare gamifies going to stores and restaurants; activity tracking apps gamify exercise; giving schoolchildren stars for good behavior gamifies not being a little shit.

Kahnoodle uses gamification to allegedly make relationships “open and easy.” According to The Atlantic:

Its options include sending push notifications to initiate sex; “Koupons” that entitle the bearer to redeemable movie nights and kinky sex; and, of course, the love tank, which fills or empties depending on how many acts of love you’ve logged.

During the sign-up process, each user is prompted to rank methods of demonstrating love (“affectionate touch,” “verbal compliments,” “gifts,” “sexual intimacy,” etc.) in terms of preference. The user’s partner does the same on his/her phone. After the partners link their Kahnoodle profiles up, they can give each other “Kudos” for good, loving behavior, designating which type of love-demonstration they’ve received. The types are weighted based on preference rank. The Kudos’es then fill up the Love Meter and can be redeemed for love Koupons, some of which are sweet (“Have a picnic together!), and some of which are less sweet (“Make a sex tape!”).

Does treating a relationship like a Starbucks reward system work, though? Maybe not (probably not), according to psychologists. According to Eli Finkel, a psychologist at Northwester University, “Much of the benefit of doing considerate things is linked to the fact that those things required thoughtfulness and effort. Take the thoughtfulness out of the acts and they lose much of their meaning.”

So you mean your significant other will see through it you say, “Here’s a hug! Your hair looks so good today! I’d like to redeem these Kudos’es for oral sex, please.” I cannot believe it.

“When a Relationship Becomes a Game” [The Atlantic]
Images via Tumblr.

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