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SBGames 2010 [Day 3]

SBGames 2010 [Day 2]

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Quinta-feira, 18 de Novembro de 2010
SBGames 2010 [Day 2]

Scot Osterweil presented the main keynote of day 2. Osterweil – creative director of MIT’s Education Arcade – talked of ‘Meaningful Games’.

He began his talk by asking the audience to turn to the person next to them and play the famous ‘tic-tac-toe’. After a couple of minutes of play, everyone stopped and he asked: ‘who actually wanted to win?’ everyone raised their hand. By the audiences’ attitude and behavior – there was lots of smiling and excitement – he concluded that ‘games do matter’… and ‘they have for a very long time’.

He continued his talk by asking a couple of questions for the audience to reflect upon: ‘why are games important?’ & ‘what does play mean?’. He stated, with reason, ‘all vertebrates play’. Exemplifying: even mountain goats, hundreds of meters up in the mountains play too. Some of them will die… but ‘playing is worth the risk

Scot Osterweil continued indicating that ‘playing teaches interaction and is all about creativity’. He referred to ‘4 freedoms of play’: freedom of experiment, freedom to fail, freedom to try on identities and freedom of effort.

 

 

Continuing with games, he asked ‘why do people play challenging games’? In a sentence: ‘people like to be challenged’. I think this idea ties in closely with the work of known psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi on the concept of ‘flow’. Flow is all about balance; it’s about being in a state of total immersion. It’s about doing an activity and finding the right balance between being challenged and having fun.

Osterweil then asked the key question: ‘are all games meaningful?’ He spoke of the very popular ‘FarmVille’, a game many of you know or even play; an online game that a couple of months ago was played by an excess 70 million users.  So is ‘FarmVille’ a meaningful game? His thoughts: ‘while it’s easy and keeps you in touch and interacting with friends, it doesn’t really challenge us’. ‘FarmVille’ at its core is basically a clicking game. Click here, click there, click everywhere. In fact, another known game on Facebook that ‘mocks’ the concept of ‘FarmVille’ is ‘Cow Clicker’; a game where you simply click on cows. It’s as simple as that. It’s not very challenging either.

‘Tetris’, on the other hand, IS a meaningful game. It’s not only about blocks and rotating them. It’s about spatial relations and to an extent, deals with math.

 

Osterweil then went on to talk about a couple of games he thought were meaningful before he exemplified with a game that had been developed at MIT; a game where the rules weren’t present and where kids had to explore, experiment and fail to understand and win the game. The game was unique because it was never the same. That is, when one player finishes the game, the variables of the game will change and whatever strategy the player might have thought of to resolve the game won’t be applicable a second time.

He finished stating that games that challenge are good and therefore so is failure. With failure comes learning… and learning is all about getting better! Or something like that :)

 

During day 2 of SBGames 2010 I also had the chance to play Taikodom, a Massive Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) developed by Brazilian game company Hoplon Infotainment. During the event, Hoplon set up a Taikodom tournament and prizes were distributed. Taikodom is currently Brazil's biggest video game project with a cost of around 15 million USD.

I enjoyed playing the game... although I kind of sucked at it :(


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published by sja às 16:48

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