Happy Monday! Most of us here in Seattle spent our weekends enjoying some rare but much needed sun. If you are like us and didn’t spend as much time as normal in front of the computer, you can catch up on some gamification news below.

Gamification beyond badges and leaderboards Vator News 4/18/2012 Vator is hosting a full-day learning event May 1 which will feature many different discussions on gamification (including one by our own Keith Smith). In preparation for that they have been releasing quite a few great articles on gamification, including this one about motivation and engagement. Understanding what motivates your users and how you can use that to create deeper engagement is at the heart of any gamification solution.

The Serious Business of Games Forbes 4/19/2012 Still not convinced that gamification is here to stay? This Forbes piece talks about the benefits of using game mechanics to connect with users, and use that interaction to collect valuable data that marketers want. Incentivizing users to provide relevant feedback to brands can be done in numerous ways, but even worldwide brands like Burberry are employing some of these strategies to gain insight from their customers.

Olympics Unveil Social Media Hub to Connect Athletes and Fans Mashable 4/18/2012 With only a few months to go before the London Olympic games, the International Olympic Committee has announced an online community for competitors and fans. The Olympic Athletes Hub will give fans access to training-tips, enter to win prizes as well as the possibility to directly interact with competitors in real-time during the games. There will be a gamification layer, to increase incentives for fans to engage.

Food Fight gamifies restaurant ratings, wins Hack Omaha Silicon Prairie News 4/16/2012 Ever wondered what the food inspectors rating of cleanliness is for your favorite restaurant? Omaha Food Fight can tell you! The app challenges users to guess the cleanliness of local restaurants and guess which restaurants rank better than others. As users play through the app, they gain ‘inspector’ points. Co-Creator Matt Steele said of the project, “We wanted to try to find a way to take the data that was already available, which is kind of bland … and make it more interesting,”. We wish Seattle had an app like this!

SuperBetter Is a Game that Rewards You for Healthy Living and Working Towards Your Goals LifeHacker 4/17/2012 Jane McGonigal is well known in the ‘gamification’ world for her passion towards applying game mechanics to ‘make reality better’. Her newest project SuperBetter is trying to do just that. The site is a free game, where you can choose goals, add quests and work in groups (or alone) to achieve them. This sounds like a great way to encourage yourself to meet those long set goals and keep those kinds of goals organized online.