I gathered some notes the other day and organized them into 4 main categories. I note that my summary overlaps serious games and virtual worlds. Wishful thinking on my part. I'm looking forward to when serious games begin to overlap more fully with virtual worlds.
I feel compelled to paraphrase after reading the welcome thread and our varied interest in these topics. It seems Serious Games engage us and help develop our skills While Virtual Worlds help us explore to our creative side and our sense of self.
I invite you reflect and refine.
A Pathway For Learning
- Allows learner to create a unique mental model
- Empowers through governance of game play
- Enables a clear learning pathway
- Internal versus external control
- Provides a blended learning in a socialising environment through audio, visuals, avatar P2P
- Challenge attitudes and assumptions
- Identify blind spots and knowledge gaps
- Build knowledge, decision making, contingency skills
- Create excitement which anchors retention
- Providing individual and organizational ROI
- Develop confidence, self-esteem and identity.
- Especially true in role playing games, 3D, persistent multiverses where the player develops and projects an identity
- Player may assume different character traits and experiences the results first hand.
- Practice makes perfect.
A Safe Place To Explore
- The more closely a game simulates the real world the more we engage and benefit from our virtual experience.
- 3d technology provides improvements in engagement, interactivity and thinking skills.
Can make mistakes without any real-life consequences, can try different strategies/experiment in safe environment
eg flight sims - can crash the plane without endangering life,
business sims - can lose billions of pounds/dollars you don't actually own if you use wrong marketing strategies etc
Also can experience situations you wouldn't normally come across - eg practise what you would do in a nuclear attack situation or your survival strategies in Antarctica.
In 'Virtual Liberty: Freedom to Play in Virtual Worlds', Jack M. Balkin predicted that MMORPG technologies will soon be adopted for non gaming enterprises, leading to a more diverse future for virtual worlds:
'As multiplayer game platforms become increasingly powerful and lifelike, they will inevitably be used for more than storytelling and entertainment. In the future, virtual world platforms will be adopted for commerce, education, military, professional and vocational training, for medical consultation and psychotherapy, and even for social and economic experimentation to test how social norms develop. Although most virtual worlds today are currently an outgrowth of the gaming industry, they will become much more than that in time.'
Many virtual worlds already defy strict categorization as games, serving more as extensions of reality than escapes from it. Edward Castronova has defined two memes at work within virtual worlds: virtual worlds as play spaces and virtual worlds as extensions of the Earth. He posited that official knowledge of each world's status as 'open' or 'closed' could help closed worlds guarantee their users' rights to play by protecting them from the interventions of Earth law. While it may be a useful exercise to define the open or closed qualities of MMORPGs, the worlds know as 'social virtual worlds' actively resist this type of binary classification system by maintaining deep ties to the offline world while still functioning as play spaces. In this paper, the author discusses the ways in which the cultures of play in social worlds differe from those found in gaming worlds and provide several examples ofhow these cultures of play rely specifically on constant reference to the offline world.
I wonder about the value of 3D technology when balanced with the technical overhead. I think I need some examples of effective low-tech games -- the kind where imagination is key. Anybody have any examples to share?
Sofar I had been defining serious games as computer games. But those games are really just modelling some sort of real world experience or existing game.
To look at the value of the game. We need to consider the game itself and what it gives us.
Lets take for example, a party game like Charades. Charades develops our non verbal communication skills and encourages social interaction . We could play charades virutally using video cams. It would be a hoot - but I don't own a video camera. So perhaps a game like Charades is better played in person.
Where we are now with our Virtual worlds and awesome graphics is a far cry from the days of Pong on a vic20 (Yea I had one) Still the latest technology is not available to everyone and even for those who have the hardware, the time required and ease of use are other barriers that stop us from participating.
On Sunday, I took a field trip to Old Fairhaven just south of Bellingham . We were hanging around the Village bookstore and the few places that weren't closed for easter.
The toy stores were closed but I stopped to admire the window displays- felt like I had gone back in time . What struck me was "delightfulness" of the toys in the store, Brightly colored children's garden tools. A carved wooden toy house right out of lord of the rings and lots of boxes with models, board games and science experiments.
Got me to thinking about how we can capture that wonderful sense of delight and discovery that seems to be missing online. Our attention spans online are very short and I find that I am always in a hurry.
I guess one way is to keep them simple and to encourage the user to slow down and think about what is being presented.
I am adding a few snippets from the original document. by Michael Heim
Snippet 1 describes the move from a user using a tool to the user creating new tools to fashion their own reality which is readily apparent to most in virtual worlds.
Snippet 2 was from a section that was interesting (and news) to me. How a group's conversation and interactions changed in the virtual worlds depending on the virtual environment they were in. The "atmospherics" of the place.
Many aspects of flow affect events in the CyberForum. The impact of flow on the events first became apparent when the Forum ran up against stops or blockages in the flow. These blocks became a problem to be solved by the team. Over time, the team found ways to re-establish flow in problem areas, which then confirmed the initial intuition that this or that aspect of virtual environments held important issues of flow. This paper looks at four aspects of flow:
- flow of words with visuals
- flow of atmospherics
- flow of group dynamics
- flow of virtual with physical architecture (avatecture)