Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Looking for a way to level up

I'm trying to shift gears and look at ways to get to the next level. Or a few levels. I'm not sure if that involves reading more theory, more examples from other libraries, learning more about game mechanics, or learning more impressive software/programming skills. I know I need to find a way to play more games, that's for sure.

This recent NASAGA experience has encouraged me to shift my perception of game development. I have been focusing on the game rather than the experience. This shift intimidates me. When I focus on the actual game, I can accept my limitations. These limitations are great for my online and offline games- time, money, technical ability, software, colleagues with whom I can bounce ideas... But focusing on the experience seems mystical and impossible. I think I've already been doing it to some degree, but not intentionally and not fully.

I am okay with "gamification" and focusing more on the educational end of the education-entertainment spectrum. I have evidence that students enjoy the experience (in most cases, a few games were scrapped), and evidence that they learned something. I see my games as a work in progress, and hope to become more sophisticated in the future. But for now I'll just be looking for a way to get there.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Back from NASAGA

My experience at NASAGA last week was incredible. I have never experienced such an intellectually-stimulating two and a half days, nor have I ever enjoyed meeting new people as much. Perhaps because this was one of the smaller NASAGA conferences as far as attendance numbers, I got an opportunity to have a meaningful one-on-one conversation with nearly every other attendee. This is normally difficult for me as I am very shy, but the conference is designed to enhance participation and encourage communication, both on a professional and personal level. And while at other conferences I am impressed with some sessions/people and feel others are less than impressive, every session was well worth the time. Indeed, I usually wanted to be at multiple sessions at once, so the chance to talk with others afterwards meant I got a taste of the sessions I couldn’t go to. I really can't rave about it enough.

I got a ton of ideas. A few I will share here include:
  • Games are an experience more than a thing
  • Games should strive to empower players
  • Debriefing is CRITICAL
  • Collective intelligence is infinitely better than individual intelligence
  • We should strive to promote oxytocin (the cuddle hormone) in the brain, not cortisol (anger, stress hormone)
  • Got some ideas for pirating other people's games for work purposes
More to come as I continue to make sense of what I learned there.