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Games & Impact Web Roundup – 9.21.2012

Here’s what we were reading and chatting about around the water cooler this week at the Center for Games & Impact:

Kinect in the Classroom
“One of the most interesting ways game-based learning (GBL) is being implemented is with the use of Microsoft’s Kinect. Kinect specifically is an accessory to the Xbox 360, where motion and gestures control game functions. From sports games, to “hack and slash,” the Kinect physically involves the player in gameplay. But why use it in the classroom? And how should you use it in the classroom?”

MMO Family: First Impressions of Pora Ora
A first look at an upcoming online multiplayer games designed to present kids with educational games. The articles describes this game’s attempt to add more depth to the area of ‘educational’ games, while emphasizing things such as internet safety.

Rise and Shiny: There
This article discusses the social allure of MMO (multiplayer online games) by discussing the re-launch of an old MMO called “There”, which despite the re-launch seems mostly empty of players these days. Touching on differences between these games ten years ago and today, the article points out that the socialization that these online games allow is a vital part of the experience.

Video: Journey’s creative challenges
“Thatgamecompany has developed a real habit of taking risks. From the abstract flOw to the whimsical Flower, the studio’s gone out of its way to explore new design ideas and break away from industry tropes. With Journey, the studio’s most recent creation, the team aimed to create an unusual co-op game that focused less on mechanics, and more on creating a meaningful, emotional bond with another player. It was a tall order, and realizing that vision was no easy task.”

Storyboard: Private party
This is a brief article about privacy in role playing games. It discusses the concept of what actions in a game might want to be free from random interlopers, and what are not. Since these actions take place in games, the line of what a person might want to keep to themselves is a bit different than in reality.

Seeing Games as A Vital Part of 21st Century Literacy and Assessment – A Few Moments With Katie Salen
Game designer Katie Salen looks at the progress of students in a new type of school based on game design ideas, Quest to Learn, over the past three years. She talks about how their students are feeling engaged in classes once again. They have partnered with Electronic Arts to create a game lab designed to assess large ranges of skills from empathy to traditional common core skills inside of game environments.

Serious games could be integrated into surgical training subject to validation
Research results from the Netherlands about the potential effectiveness in using serious (or educational) games to help train surgeons. Different types of games besides those developed for purely educational purposes were also evaluated and shown to help teach skills related to a medical profession. While there still needs to be more studies before these games can become a common educational tool for doctors, the research looks to have promise.

With Hands Outstretched
A really lovely editorial on video games and desire, particularly looking at the way that video games rely on teasing their players, coercing them into playing longer and potentially becoming addiction forming. It notes Spleunky (greed for items), Diablo III (microtransactions), and Gears of War (releasing aggression) as notable examples for their habit forming natures.