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University of ontario lecture


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University of ontario lecture

  1. 1. Serious games and how they can do great things in the real world John Ferrara Creative director, Megazoid games Author, Playful Design @PlayfulDesign
  2. 2. Playful Design
  3. 3. Gamification Embedding elements borrowed from game design (usually PBL) within things that aren‟t games. Serious games Creating true games that achieve some effect beyond the boundaries of the experience. … or at least that‟s the theory. Let‟s get a few things straight
  4. 4. “I don‟t do „gamification,‟ and I‟m not prepared to stand up and say I think it works... If the game is not about a goal you‟re intrinsically motivated by, it won‟t work.” –Jane McGonigal “Gamification is bullshit.” –Ian Bogost A growing backlash
  5. 5. What‟s wrong with gamification? Mostly it‟s the “ification”. It’s reductionary. Gamification robs games of their fundamental appeal. It’s backwards. It‟s about how players can serve the designer‟s ends. It’s unrealistic. Not everyone will be charmed.
  6. 6. Serious games are the way forward
  7. 7. Games for... Health Games for Health Conference June 18-20, Boston Education Games, Learning, and Society June 10-13, Madison WI Change Games for Change Festival April 22-24, New York City
  8. 8. Capabilities Games can… Explain Motivate Persuade Games for… Education Health Change Purposesvs.
  9. 9. Games can explain
  10. 10. Learning by doing Practice is rolled in with theory. Helps illustrate ideas in a concrete way.
  11. 11. Getting it wrong builds greater understanding. Totally safe “virtual lab”. Failure-based learning
  12. 12. Agency You‟re in charge. Players feel driven toward mastery.
  13. 13. Working with dynamic interacting parts “21st century thinking skill” Systems thinking
  14. 14. Living thought experiments How might the world be different if... “What if”-ing
  15. 15. Demo:
  16. 16. Your performance in the game is a test. Easy to track individuals‟ progress. Built-in assessment
  17. 17. Games can motivate
  18. 18. Human computation Useful outputs as a by-product of play. “Games are algorithms that run on people.” –Luis Von Ahn
  19. 19. Reframing Casting actions in a different light. Builds a sense of self-efficacy.
  20. 20. Reframing in-the-moment. A fantasy world is superposed on reality. Real-time overlay
  21. 21. Intrinsic rewards for extrinsic actions. If people value the game, this can be very motivating. Optional advantages
  22. 22. Games can persuade
  23. 23. Games are a form of procedural rhetoric Procedurality makes games unique as a communications medium
  24. 24. Example
  25. 25. Virtual pets. Real nutrition.
  26. 26. Player is responsible for maintaining the health of a virtual pet Must shop for the critter's food, cook for it, and feed it Each day the player must fill the critter's green bars without filling the red bars
  27. 27. Pilot StudyRun by Univ. of Mass. Medical SchoolNorthbridge Elementary, MA 100 5th graders, 4 class periods Significant increases in positive attitudes toward nutrition and fitness Significant increases in students' self-efficacy Moderate increases in nutrition knowledge (They tested well initially)
  28. 28. Games for… evil?
  29. 29. Games for… Gatorade “Bolt” game‟s goal: “ position Gatorade as the hero helping drive better performance and higher scores with water as the enemy that hinders performance.” Media agency OMD‟s case study video evil?
  30. 30. Games for… evil?
  31. 31. Serious games need ethical guidelines
  32. 32. Thank you! By the way, you can get 25% off of Playful Design when you enter the code “ferrara” on