Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Week 5: Digital Games and Controversy

9am-10am: Play Bully NOTE: The graphics cards in some of these computers aren't quite able to display all the cut-scenes. For instance, when you start your game running, there's a short movie introduction - the visuals may lack colour and show up all wonky. You can skip it or listen to the audio. Once the gameplay starts, everything seems to be okay - so just get through that first part and you should be good to go!

10am-10:45am: Discussion about videogame controversies; how this links back to our discussion last week, as well as earlier discussions about ESRB ratings, story, accessibility, etc.

Q: Should the library take a more active role in addressing and/or responding to these types of controversies? e.g. Libraries protect challenged books, and increasingly films, audio, as well. Should they take a more active role in protecting challenged games (against bans, censorship, etc.)?

10:45am-11:00am: Talk about presentations (and group assignments if any questions/issues) - assign presentation order for next week

11:00am-12:00pm: Group work! (reminder: this is our LAST CLASS before presentations)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Pipe Trouble Controversy (Updated!!!!)

©2013 Pipe Trouble
In lead up to tomorrow's class, you might consider checking out some of the stories about the current controversy surrounding the serious game (i.e. game with a larger political, social, ethical message and purpose) Pipe Trouble. As The Canadian Press describes:

An online game funded by Ontario taxpayers that shows the bombing of a gas pipeline and drew criticism from the premiers of Alberta and British Columbia is being reviewed.
TV Ontario, the province’s public broadcaster, spent money to create the game “Pipe Trouble” to accompany a documentary about the pipeline debate in British Columbia.
A TVO blog described “Pipe Trouble” as a “companion ethical game” to a documentary that deals with local opposition to pipelines and the bombing of pipelines in the Peace River region of B.C.
Play the game for yourself on the official Pipe Trouble website, and consider whether you think the controversy and complaints are warranted.

Read the creators' response to the controversy here.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Articles of potential interest from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center blog

Perusing the Joan Ganz Cooney Center blog today, I noticed a number of recent guest-written blog posts that will likely be of interest to many of you, particularly in relation to the Design-A-Game project. These are also highly relevant to last week's class discussion about rhetoric and discourse around games for learning.....

*****Full disclosure: I regularly collaborate with the Joan Ganz Cooney Center*****

Monday, March 18, 2013

Week 4: Children's Games for Education, Hope & Celebration

Today's Agenda
  • 9:00am: Play Portal or Portal 2 (Via the "Steam" platform (application on your desktop/netbook). Download Steam if not already on computer: http://store.steampowered.com/about/) (Use username & password Percy sent you for access to Portal and various other games).
  • 10:00am: Discussion:
    • Debrief on the gameplay experience. Discussion of the game in relation to this week's readings, discussion of the concepts of "educational" games and "games as learning engines" (James Paul Gee's arguments about informal learning vs. "edugames"), etc.
    • Discussion of the role of educational (formal/informal) games in the library - how important (or unimportant) is this idea in building collections? For your playlists? In your game designs? Why?
    • What is "educational" - who defines it? how is it tracked/regulated?
  • 11:00am: Group work.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Agenda for Week 3: Games and Storytelling

Today's Agenda:

9-10: Playtime:
- This week's workshop starts with a session of Nancy Drew: Curse of Blackmoor Manor (Hint: PLAY ON JR DETECTIVE SETTING - it's way easier). For anyone who doesn't have a terminal, run up and get yourself a notebook - they should already have the game on them.

10-11: Discussion:
- Debrief on gameplay. Thoughts about linkages to readings and this week's themes (narrative)
- What's the linkage between narrative and gender (girl games, Storytelling Alice) - or is there one?
- Chat about the more theoretical aspects of this week's readings (Bizzocchi)
Q: What role will narrative play in your design-a-game projects? In your playlists??

Reminder: Game change for next week's workshop - now playing Portal and/or Portal 2 via your class Steam accounts (see email from Ivan for log in name & password).

11-12: Work on Projects:
Design-a-game - finish playing through the tutorials, get started on your game/level!!!
Playlist - should have a theme established by now. Start narrowing down your choices

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Week 2 - Agenda

Agenda for Week2 Workshop:

1. 9am-10am: Play "World of Goo"!!

2. 10am-11am: Group Discussion
  • Bryant article - thoughts on designing for particular users - special needs and vulnerabilities - troubling notions of "gamers" and/or "children" and/or "expertise"
  • Thoughts on the ESRB rating system - particularly the category "E for Everyone" (what does this mean, what are the underlying politics, etc.).
  • Meeting the groups: what are your initial ideas for playlist topics & design tools
3. 11am-12pm: Work on Projects

- Bryant et al.'s designing for preschoolers article (usability, design strategies, & later on...assessment)
- ESRB Rating Systems: thoughts on process, uses, problems, oversights, etc.

Possible Discussion points: 

  • Thoughts on designing "for kids" - determining whether something is "age appropriate" - and all the many, many problems that arise out of these processes.
  • Difference in the "process" each team goes through (Bryant et al. user-centered design, informed by theory, iterative process involving kids, parents) (ESRB coding videos of the games for certain types of content - yet "E" comes to mean so much more)
  • From preschoolers to elementary-age....big developmental changes. How would the challenges Bryant describes change over time - how to accommodate for this - how to anticipate without training in child development theory, child education, usability, etc.
  • Assessing and selecting - issues these articles might raise
  • Usability and user-centered processes - how can these concepts be incorporated into collection development OR research OR tech assessment