Monday, November 03, 2008

Notes from FuturePlay conference in Toronto 2008 pt1

View of skyscrapers in the financial district ...Image via WikipediaThis is the first of a couple of posts about the FuturePlay conference in Toronto in November 2008. It started on a good note - lots of tasty fresh fruit and yummy soup for lunch. The picture is the Toronto skyline from the CN tower (which I went up in. I have some of my own pics from the tower that I"ll post later. Now for the relevant stuff.....

The morning keynote was Ben Sawyer talking about serious games. He started Digital Mill. He started games for health and the serious games initiative. He has the experience to back up his thoughts, predictions, and suggestions for future work. I have a lot of notes but here are a few cool things.

  • they have a serious games taxonomy with definitions and examples - handy reference
  • most people are working with uninformed opinions about serous games - it's not just games for education
  • most people talking about serous games have a poor sense of what's a game and have little experience with modern games or what people expect when you say something is a game now a days
  • serious educational games shouldn't think that one measure of success for htem is that people will just pick them up and play (like they do halo or gears of war) - as long as the games are a little more interesting/motivating than the alternative that's a success - because content matters and fisheries management is just not as inherently interesting as is blowing up space aliens - i hadn't thought about this before - you can't just say oh it's a game kids will want to play it without it being assigned as homework --- that's just not true for most games for education and that's ok since they will play them a little more frequently, will actually do their homework, will get a little more practice with a game than a regular workbook for instance
  • people shouldn't assume that serious games = boring games; bad games regardless of whether they're serous or not are just boring, don't make bad games
  • games play into the idea of learning as behavior change
  • we need more research - especially design research relaqted to games - about serious games, need to organize a foundation of research literature, need more theories than just hwat James Gee has proposed
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