I follow a blog for psychology, and couldn’t help but making a connection with much of the advice of parenting to that of player interactions in game design. Change the situation to that of a quest, and many of the situations (Prevention, Distraction, Explanation, Appreciation) described can be applied. Just an interesting cross-over.

4 Effective Alternatives to Punishing Your Kids

An interesting article summarizing many thoughts regarding the gamification hype and the need for player experience as it moves forward.

Messification: Why Games Should Be Designed To Be Games First

http://cdn2.themis-media.com/media/global/movies/player/flowplayer.commercial-3.2.5.swf

http://cdn.livestream.com/embed/liftconference?layout=4&clip=pla_3fb43ab3-ca84-499e-bf56-586776918d85&autoplay=false

Watch live streaming video from liftconference at livestream.com

The video below is a discussion from GSW with Jenova Chen of Thatgamecompany, discussing the past games, Flower and Fl0w, and the upcoming, Journey.

Two factors that I found particularly interesting from the video was that in each game produced, they focus on integrating just one emotional focus, to keep things simple. However, throughout the process other emotions are integrated to aid with the narrative. I really like the idea of creating with a focus of just one aspect. I’ve created board games with themes in mind, but never explored emotions. That might be an interesting challenge to take on in the future.

The other factor was that they started playtesting with their prototypes on week one. That’s awesome. So many times it seems like design gets overshadowed with the designer’s ideas and the actual player experience is left until later in the process. Playtesting can change the design aspects and focus so much, it’s great to see it being incorporated so early in the development process.

Jenova Chen’s Journey – E3 2010 from Jeriaska on Vimeo.

While looking at some of the TED Talks, I ran across one by Brenda Laurel who did research on girls and gaming in the 1990s.

Brenda Laurel on Making Games for Girls

I find it interesting how they went about their research, to record girls just talking and taking pictures of things that are important to them. Another interesting aspect to point out is in the game, Rocket, the main character, makes her decisions via emotions rather than strategic data. An interesting game mechanic choice. I had never heard of the game when I was going through school, and find it interesting as I was in the right age group at the time. I would be interested to find a copy now that I’m older to see what resulted from the research performed.

EVENT: Monday, July 28, 2008, 10:15-11:45am @ IBM

Every year, IBM coordinates a camp for about 20 7th-8th grade students who are typically under-represented within the sciences. This year, IBM Poughkeepsie organized IGNITE camp for boys. The boys attended the camp daily and were presented with various topics and projects throughout.

I volunteered to present on “Introduction to Game Design”. I should have considered my audience a bit more, as I didn’t realize the short attention span many boys at that age have. However, I presented them an overview of game mechanics and how they are implemented, allowed the boys to design their own games based on the card system Mary Flanagan uses, and then explained some typical positions available in the game industry. Hopefully it gave the boys some motivation and some variety.

The presentation was a good experience for me. I was able to get the feel for what teaching children was like, instead of just conferences. Education is important for me and hopefully I helped convince them the point of doing well in school. Having a goal definitely helps to push one through classes. Another interesting realization were the games the boys played. I attempted to use fairly generic games, assuming they had not played some of the popular games out there, but when asked, they quickly shouted Grand Theft Auto IV and World of Warcraft.

When presented with an environmental game, the boys constantly requested guns and cars. They could care less about talking to avatars in the world. They just wanted to explore and blow up the terrain. It took a lot to convince them to just keep playing the game.

Overall it was interesting to observe how each group interacted and the different levels of maturity level. It was interesting to see how each obviously had their own story and how each responded to their situation.

It’s important to remember everyone has their own back story that makes them who they are.