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How Videogames Have Helped My Life ... and Yours

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Presented on 16 July 2013 at a Gamification Masterclass in Singapore. A brief history of gaming of all kinds, my personal history with videogames and 15 things we can learn and have learned from gamez. At least some of these "fine fifteen" should be a part of any game design, gamificiaton development or even online interactive content strategy.

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How Videogames Have Helped My Life ... and Yours

  1. 1. HOW GAMES HAVE HELPED MY LIFE … AND YOURS Phillip Raskin16 July 2013
  2. 2. Agenda ¨  Personal histories with gaming ¨  A short history of leisure, including games and gaming ¤ Humankind's ongoing need for relaxation, enjoyment ¨  What actually IS a game? ¨  What do we get from gaming? ¤ What are the reasons we game, and what are the benefits? ¨  What lessons do we learn from gaming? ¨  What's Next?
  3. 3. Who’s a Gamer Here? ¨  MMORPG WoW, Diablo, StarCraft, LoL ¨  Console XBOX, PS3, Wii ¨  PC/Mac Adventure, FPS, Strategy ¨  Device/Social Tablet, Phone, Facebook ¨  Sports Football, Rugby, Tennis ¨  Board You remember these, right? ¨  Physical/Skill Darts, Pool, Croquet ¨  Card/Tile Bridge, Mah Jongg ¨  Word/Puzzle Crossword, Sudoku ¨  Casino Good luck!
  4. 4. Me and Gamez
  5. 5. And …
  6. 6. Today …
  7. 7. Games/z throughout History ¨  Origins of gaming/leisure go back to at least 3000 BC (dice) ¨  Herodotus and the Kingdom of Lydia (TED Talk) ¨  Senet (3500 BC) ¨  20 Squares (2600 BC) ¨  Go (200 BC) ¨  Backgammon (500-600 AD) ¨  Snakes and Ladders (1500 AD) ¨  Videogames (1947)
  8. 8. What Actually IS a Game? ¨ "A game is an activity among two or more independent decision-makers seeking to achieve their objectives in some limiting context.” – Clark C. Abt, Serious Games, 1970
  9. 9. What Do We Get from Playing? ¨  Outlet for Competition ¨  Relaxation ¨  Release of Brain Chemicals (neocortex, BDNF, cortisol, oxytocin, seratonin) ¨  Pass Time (“pastime”) ¨  Socialization ¨  Strategy/Thinking
  10. 10. What Gaming Teaches Us 1.  Teamwork 2.  Problem Solving and Lateral Thinking 3.  Rule Following 4.  Rule Bending…and Breaking 5.  Cost/Benefit Analyses 6.  Competition 7.  Learning 8.  Real World Issues and Problems 9.  Stereotypes 10.  Societal Dynamics 11.  New Skills and Fields 12.  Resource Management 13.  Community 14.  Compassion and Empathy 15.  Morality
  11. 11. 1. Teamwork ¨  Many game goals require team approach ¨  Also require sacrifice or suspension of personal goals for the good of the team ¨  Gamers often favor teamwork and will self-select or choose other gamers with similar orientation ¤  And kick those who can’t hack it (downside) ¨  Cooperative teamwork involves strategy, communication, intuition and familiarity with the game and with each other (all stars)
  12. 12. 1. Teamwork – L4D2 ¨  “Forced” team – pushed to work as a group ¨  Sharing of responsibilities and resources crucial to survival ¨  Team dynamics and interactions
  13. 13. 1. Teamwork – World of Warcraft ¨  Quests to level up played in groups ¨  Progress slower by yourself but possible ¨  Rule-breaking dynamics also at play ¨  Community and groups work together to balance out
  14. 14. 2. Problem Solving/Lateral Thinking ¨  Game universe defined by choices and possibilities ¨  If it’s possible, it’s a solution ¤  Even if unintended by game designers (Matrix) ¨  Outcome can include how the game is solved ¨  Many games will require you to use tools and options in secondary ways in order to move on ¨  Also true of battles – finding different weapons, moves, tricks, options to defeat a more powerful character is half the fun ¨  Remember, Problem Solving = Creativity
  15. 15. 2. Problem Solving
  16. 16. 3. Rule Following ¨  Early childhood development – learning order ¨  Tutorial-based approach quite common ¨  Allowances for mistakes, faux pas, testing ¨  Sometimes instant feedback (AC, Infamous, Fable) ¨  Familiarity with the game world, including an understanding of actions, consequences, options
  17. 17. 4. Rule Bending (or Breaking) ¨  Tricks, gimmicks, workarounds ... all the way to outright cheats ¨  é é ê ê ç è ç è B A ¤  Kazuhisa Hashimoto (Gradius, 1985) ¨  Easter Eggs ¨  Hacks and developer modes ¨  Perversion or twisting of game environment, rules or play for personal benefit (TRON, WoW deals) ¨  Basically, the same lesson from “Breaking Away” – everybody cheats
  18. 18. 5. Cost/Benefit Analyses ¨  RPG characteristics most common example ¤  Strong, Fast, Smart – pick two! ¨  Force players into choices
  19. 19. 5. Cost/Benefit Analyses ¨  Good or evil? ¨  Impact of actions and in-game choices ¤  Bonus level or higher score more dangerous ¨  Timers, incentives, other factors ¨  Incorporates strategic approach to problem-solving ¨  Increases familiarity with decision-making, particularly in situations with no clear-cut solutions ¤  “Gray area” experience
  20. 20. 5. Cost/Benefit Analyses
  21. 21. 6. Competition ¨  Understanding winning and losing are key components in human development and socialization ¨  More opportunities CAN equal more grace ¨  Many people relish the thrill of competition and gaming can provide safe environment/outlet ¨  Competition sharpens our skills, thinking, ability to handle situations more than practice ¤  No longer in caves; rarely in life-or-death situations ¨  Winning feels good; losing feels bad
  22. 22. 6. Competition
  23. 23. 7. Learning ¨  Gaming teaches us how to learn ¨  Through the combination of visual, physical, auditory and mental input and stimuli, we are able to learn and remember combinations of action, thinking and strategy which would be harder on their own ¨  This model of learning – step-by-step – is used much more frequently with small children than with teens and adults
  24. 24. 8. Real World Issues
  25. 25. 8. Real World Issues ¨  Social ¨  Economic ¨  Environmental ¨  Business ¨  Political ¨  Historical ¨  Personal ¨  Psychological
  26. 26. 9. Stereotypes ¨  Unfortunately true though slowly improving ¨  Games reflect game programmers and their demographics, biases, backgrounds, opinions ¨  Race, gender, interactions – can be as elegant as a great novel, or as base as a cheap movie – it all depends on the author
  27. 27. 10. Societal Dynamics ¨  Do-gooders ¨  Cheaters ¨  Machiavellians ¨  In-betweens ¨  Miniature construct of different societies and their behaviors
  28. 28. 11. New Skills/Fields Things I have never done until gaming: ¨  Flown aircraft (MS Flight Simulator) ¨  Fired a wide variety of weapons ¨  Ski jumped ¨  Played rugby or cricket ¨  Lived in the past ¨  Saved someone ¨  Killed someone
  29. 29. 12. Resource Management ¨  “Budgeting” but in a game world ¨  Money but also things like food, medicine, supplies, weapons, more ¤  Moral choices can also become involved ¨  Limitations create interest and also inspire resourcefulness, creativity, actions and surprises
  30. 30. 13. Community ¨  WoW community boards ¨  Sense of obligation to “the game” and a set of ethics, behaviours, ethos and orientations to match ¨  Ability to connect with wider set of people with common interests, much like Internet in general
  31. 31. 14. Compassion and Empathy
  32. 32. 14. Compassion and Empathy ¨  Often “helping” characters do something ¨  Depending on the level of gameplay, you can develop empathy and even caring for characters ¨  Because of interaction and interactivity, the emotional bonds can be much deeper than in more passive media like books or movies ¤  The involvement in and control of actions and results, even tangentially, greatly increases our commitments
  33. 33. 15. Morality ¨  Sense of overall ethics and behaviours ¨  Important especially for kids but also jaded adults in the business world ¨  There is cost/benefit, but there are also deeper questions, deeper thoughts, deeper results here
  34. 34. 15. Morality
  35. 35. In Conclusion ¨  Games/z can teach us almost all of the things we need to know in life, both good and bad ¨  These are the real reasons we play games ¨  These are the real POWER of games ¨  To design and develop good games, we need to incorporate this thinking If we are to truly make something that will affect others
  36. 36. References ¨  A Theory of Fun (Koster) ¨  Gaming: A Book of Lenses (Schell) ¨  Serious Games (Ort) ¨  Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals (Salen) ¨  TED Talks ¤  Jane McGonigal ¤  Daphne Bavelier ¤  Tom Chatfield
  37. 37. PHILLIP_RASKIN@YAHOO.COM @ZIQUEMU Phillip Raskin16 July 2013

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