Sebastian Deterding has posted another spectacular presentation on gamification, but really on much more: the reasons why to make games, a great deconstruction of how they function from a social point of view, a lot of insights on game design in general… all in all, really wonderful.
Researchers measured and tracked the participants’ brain waves via electroencephalography (EEG) — one group played the games, and a control group didn’t. The study found that subjects who played casual games for 30 minute periods showed an 87 percent improvement in cognitive response time and a 215 percent increase in executive functioning. This makes it, according to ECU, about as effective as other medical treatments for cognition.
This comes on the heels of a BBC study challenging brain games’ efficacy. This new study was oriented around Popcap games like Bejeweled rather than custom-made brain games, though.
Apps for Healthy Kids is partnering with the IGDA for game jams this weekend in 8 major US cities. The idea is that game devs, artists, and yes, local kids too, will work together to make game prototypes for the Apps for Healthy Kids competition — basically, the theme of the jams is “Health Games Challenge.” Here’s the scoop, with locations and all:
WHAT: Series of 48-hour game jams (Health Games Challenge) bringing together game developers, graphic artists, and local youth to pool talent and creativity while developing nutrition-related games and tools
WHO: Hosted by IGDA and USDA; sponsored by the Games for Health Project in conjunction with the Health Games Research national program; funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Pioneer Portfolio
WHEN: May 21-23, 2010
WHERE: Details for each jam location are provided below:
- Boston, MA: Microsoft New England Research and Development, 1 Memorial Drive, Cambridge MA. Meals will be provided, but computers will not (so bring your own if possible). Boston announcement is here, if interested visit their registration page. For questions, contact the Boston organizer: Darius Kazemi (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Seattle, WA: Art Institute of Seattle, 2501 Elliott Ave, Seattle WA – Room 102 (enter at the main entrance on Alaskan Way, other entrances may be locked). Runs Friday 4pm-midnight, Saturday 9am-midnight, Sunday 9am-4pm. Be aware there is only street parking and paid garages in the area, so plan accordingly. Seattle organizer: Rusel DeMaria (email@example.com)
- Orlando, FL: ZeeGee Games, 1 Purlieu Place, Winter Park FL. Runs Friday 6pm-10pm, Saturday 10am-10pm, Sunday 10am-5pm. If interested, visit their Facebook page for more info and to RSVP. Orlando organizer: Dustin Clingman (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- San Francisco, CA: Google campus, 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA, Building 46. San Francisco organizer: Mark DeLoura (email@example.com)
- Pittsburgh, PA: Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University, 700 Technology Drive. Runs Saturday 10am through Sunday 10am (overnight), with an additional Physical Game Jam from Sunday 10am-4pm. If interested, visit their event page to sign up. Pittsburgh organizer: Jia Ji (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Troy, NY: Troy Boys and Girls Club, 1700 Seventh Ave, Troy NY. Runs Friday 6pm-11pm, Saturday 10am-11pm, Sunday 10am-4pm. If interested, visit their event website for more info. New York organizer: Ian Stead (email@example.com)
- Fairfax, VA: George Mason University, Fairfax Campus, Art and Design Building RM 1018. Fairfax organizers: Joel Gonzalez (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Scott Martin (email@example.com)
- Athens, GA: Mowerks Learning, 130 Ware Street, Unit A. Athens organizer: Jordan Lynn (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This is a fantastic project overall, so I hope some great games come out it!
The Games for Health conference has announced its keynotes!
Day 1: Wednesday May 26
THE MIND-BODY EXPERIENCE OF SONY MOVE: Relationships between Gaming, Play, Exercise, and More!
Dr. Richard Marks
Senior Researcher Sony US R&D group
Dr. Marks also known as the “father of the EyeToy” will discuss the relationship between gaming, play and exercise, referencing his work in the development of Sony’s new motion controller system, PlayStation Move, as well as his previous work with Sony’s EyeToy, PlayStation Eye and other interfaces.
Day 2: Thursday May 27
THE HUMAN PLAY MACHINE
Chaim Gingold, a longtime independent game developer and original designer of Spore’s creature creator will discuss how existing game genres map onto the human brain and body and how design decisions affect who will be attracted to the game and how they will play.
MIT’s Scratch is a tool developed at the MIT Media Lab to allow young people to learn the basics of computing and programming.
That means it’s also a development environment wherein you can run interpreted code.
Which means that it can’t be on the iPad or the iPod Touch or iPhone. So Apple has yanked it from the App Store.
As the Computing Education blog points out, these restrictions are ending up by saying that you literally cannot create procedural content on these devices.
Discussion on the Scratch forums suggests that it’s because Apple wants to focus on consuming media using these devices, not producing media. Want to be truly computing literate, where you write as well as read? There’s no app for that.
Brilliant, simple idea. Kick a soccer ball around, have it capture some of the energy, then give a plug so you can get the energy back out. Then give it away in Africa.
The ball uses inductive coil technology–similar to flashlights that power up when shaken. Each 15 minutes of play with the ball generates enough power to light up an LED lamp for 3 hours, so a soccer game could easily provide light for a day.
In most African countries, 95 percent of the population is living off-grid with no access to electricity. With sOccket, people in developing nations will no longer need to walk 3 hours simply to charge their cell phones. The power will—quite literally—be in their hands. The sOccket ball can be used to light an LED lamp, or charge a cellphone or battery.
(Via Jane McGonigal @avantgame)
I’d like a proofreading sim, please, that all my students could play…
— Andy Havens, in this thread on Terra Nova
Proofreading sim: slurp a text file, pop words on screen scrolling by, put randomized typos in them, require the user to buzz in when the word is spelled wrong. Sounds like a game to me! Bad spellers need not apply!
When I was a practicing journeyman letterpress printer (both my wife and I did this in college) we learned the way to proofread under those “no takeback” sorts of circumstances: read each word in isolation, one at a time, in a group, with a pause between each word, sometimes spelling out the whole word as you went.
…which is of course a big part of the challenge of proofing text, because that’s not how we read — we read words holistically, not by piecing them together out of letters.
In any case, it would be interesting to see if making a game like this would make someone into a more accurate proofreader.
Are video games good for your health? – CNN.com. It’s one of those slideshow dealies. Among the anecdotes:
- Playing games can cure “lazy eye” better than an eye patch
- Training with Wii Fit and Wii Sports improved balance in Parkinson’s patients
Always nice to see more of these studies…
Virtual World Watch has a request for information up — they want to hear from you about how you use virtual worlds in UK higher and further education.
How are you using virtual worlds (e.g. Second Life, OpenSim, Metaplace, OLIVE, Active Worlds, Playstation Home, Blue Mars, Twinity, Wonderland) in teaching, learning or research?
Things you may want to include:
- Why you are using a virtual world.
- If teaching using a virtual world, how it fits into your curriculum.
- Any evaluation of the experience of using the virtual world.
- Will you do it again next year? Why (or why not)?
A few side points
- Do you know of any other individual, group or project at your institution using virtual worlds for teaching, learning or research? If so, a contact detail would be appreciated.
- Do you have any interesting screenshots of what you’ve been doing in virtual worlds? If so, then please consider submitting them to the Virtual World use in UK Education Flickr group – thanks.
- — Snapshot survey #7 of virtual world use in UK Higher and Further Education.
I was lucky enough to be part of a podcast for Global Kids’ Digital Media Initiative, the RezEd podcast, alongside Daniel Livingstone and Joe Castille, who are two of the educators using Metaplace. It was a great conversation! Check it out here.
RezEd Podcast Episode 42 – Metaplace and Forecasting the Future of Virtual Worlds
Raph Koster, President of Metaplace, and two practitioners discuss the advantages of using Metaplace within the classroom, and an In Focus with Nic Mitham of KZero, discussing their new chart forecasting the future of virtual worlds.