Jesse Schell, professor at Carnegie Mellon University, presented “Design Outside the Box” at the DICE Summit 2010, held February 17-19, hosted by the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences. I found it through Ze Frank.
First Schell explains how the new generation of online games work. He explains how surprised game designers are that non-traditional gamers want to play these new social games, each of which has some element that meets a need, as Schell details. People are actually more than happy to buy into the initially free games to raise their score and beat their friends.
Schell suggests that the gaming model of playing for bonus points could become an essential driver for social, economic and political participation. One teacher he presents uses the gaming levels system instead of grades for progression, which certainly gets him points for coolness. But Schell goes on to develop a Brave New World scenario in which RFID chips will be embedded in everything, and where the points you win will be added to your account, sponsored by institutions and companies who will later reward you for buying into the game. Very unnerving. Is this where we are going, letting corporate marketing get inside our relationships, inside our lives? Where does all of this leave data protection and privacy?
This talk moved me to write a grammar exercise a while ago. The exercise part is purely descriptive, just to practice verb expressions with -ing forms, to-infinitives and bare infinitives.
I don’t know if this has got anything to do with this (or anything- i’m feeling very dopey) but my son, suddenly , got into The Sims and started explaining the attraction to me.
“It’s great, you can put the rubbish out, clean the toilet, tidy up….” he said excitedly.
I looked around the disaster zone known as his bedroom….
I don’t get these domesticated games either. World of Warcraft I understand, that’s adventure and fantasy. Playing virtual basketball and guitars, OK. But keeping house? Farming? Huh?!? But Jesse Schell is one smart dude, he has a few explanations to start off on. I particularly like his take on Webkins, which are the most insidious game there is – I’ve seen what it does to one of my nieces – and in fact I think it should be banned for the way it turns kids into addicts. Webkins sells stuffed animals, but the kid who buys one also gets this little avatar of the stuffed animal to play with online, essentially the soul of the stuffed animal, a being that needs to be fed and clothed and installed in a flat. Kids subscribe to Webkins, and have to keep buying new stuffed animals to keep their access to their old online ones. The moment they give up their subscription, they abandon all of those little online characters … and the poor things “die”. Webkins turns kids into serial stuffed animal killers!! ARGH!