MIT + Microsoft = The love of the game

MIT’s Technology Review reports that the number of Computer Science students is dropping and academics are looking to gaming software to lure them back.
I was very suprised when the article continues to mention projects such as Alice (just when I think I know it all – Wonderland comes back to bite me in the ass). I suppose it’s not exactly a game, but it’s a program that teaches computer programing in a very fun way. Now…I’m no computer programer, infact I’m way too technologically dyslexic to even have a blog, so I’m not sure I understand what they’re on about. It seems like fun however, and maybe I’ll have a crack at it myself, and come one step closer to attaining my nerd license.

Note: I’m at work right now and I’m soooo freakin’ bored…so excuse the excess use of words and not in the least opinions…I’ll come back and delete and edit a bit later, make it more pleasing to read this pile of crap.

So, depending on your definition of game (for is not a game fun while learning patterns and puzzles a.s.o), this isn’t one…but it has inspired others to start using games to teach programming. Ofcourse, Microsoft has a splendid financial initiativ; “rewrite computer science around something everyone knows students like: computer games.” Microsoft’s given $480,000 to universities encouraging using computer gaming software to learn programming techniques.

Among a few mentioned is the Games-to-Teach Project, MITs own project since 2001 which has also developed ‘Replicate’, ‘Biohazard’ and ‘Revolution’.

I think this is a super dooper initiativ and I’m hoping to see more of it!!!!

Who wants to play with me?

After asking a few (normal) friends who just laugh, point at me and scream the words “You’re such a nerd!!!”, I’m forced to ask you, dearest reader…if you’d like to play this game with me!

The GameGame! An absolutely excellent contribution by Aki J√§rvinen! It’s a game about game design!! So you have to be a little bit of an academic nerd as well!

No?! Damn…this world is so lonely! I’ll just have to read my way through it!

Hmmmm….maybe I should print this out and leave it in ‘pauserommet’ on the 6th floor and see if someone’s interested enough….hmmm….just might do that!


Well this just has Aarseth all over it (maybe because I’m reading his work at the moment, FINALLY) and of course the marvelous Jill Walker! Uncyclopedia is the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time. And I find myself clicking through it, getting completely lost, yet loving it! A true form of cybertext, I think…though I’m still unclear on these definitions! But linearity completely escapes my enjoyment of it. For each new click there’s a great…well, still unsure of my literary definitions here…story! Definately a site to visit when I feel my whole world is a farse! My fellow MEVIINFO bloggers introduced me to it…and I will forever be greatful! I just love being inspired by these people that I probably see every day…but I have no idea who they are!!

Are things getting serious?

So here’s a new group of words for you to ponder; virtual reality medicine. There’s just been a conference in Baltimore hosted by the University of Maryland School of Medicine called Games For Health. Ian Bogost has a generous coverage of the event at Water Cooler Games, I’ll leave it to his words, since he was actually there, to give you an indept perspective of what it was all about. Of course my eyes welled up when I saw Ben’s Game, but otherwise this was just exciting to see. Health professionals and educaters taking games seriously, for Brain Training, anxiety and health awareness, to name but a few.
South Carolina’s WIST-10 also reports that three dimensional computer gaming software helps to analyze a tumor’s exact location. Doctor Brian Butler worked with video programmers based in Dallas (annoyingly they don’t mention who) to create the technology.
I’m so impressed and I’ll have to write more indept about this and try and wiggle it into some Norwegian media. Maybe this is the kinda innovation we need for Norway to take games seriously? (Expect a new post soon on the discussion of ensuring computer game growth in Norway, it’s just craving more time and effort than my googling abilities – which is sad in itself)

Being a part of a community without knowing it!

I was kinda…well…intrigued and positively suprised when I realised that there’s a whole community of bloggers at my University department…and well…it seems I’m a part of it. It really is bizarre having my blog on live feeds and seeing my posts on other sites. I think it’s incredibly sad that I had no idea that this was going on. I really do applaud this little community and I’ve skimmed through some of the blogs and they’re great (but omfg I feel old), there’s some voices out there that definately deserve to be heard! I’m wondering if I’m too secluded, however. Why did I not know about this?
But oh well…all depression aside…need to finsih a chapter to remind my advisor that I’m still alive!

Am I pretty enough for gaming?

So Guardian Games Blog and Wonderland….Alice’s place have steered my attention towards Watch us Game. And well….OMFG! This reeks of advertising desperation! Look at these beautiful young gamers. I applaud all female efforts within the gaming comunity…but come on!!!!!! Hell! I’m even afraid to apply for membership just in case I’m not pretty enough! Imagine that…being excluded from an online community cause of looks. But you know that I HAVE to apply now! Dreading the ‘you’re too old and ugly’ reply, but I just have to see how they filter this stuff or let us ‘regular’ girls down! Mind you…I imagine these girls are getting a lot of attention from the male gamers rather than the female population!
I have to say, though, there’s some interesting stuff on this site despite the ‘looks’ issue! So maybe it will prove to become an interesting site! Not completely discouraged…but maybe a bit insulted? And then there’s the name…”Watch us Game” – umh…what’s that all about?

Political Games

I love this! La Melleindustria – Political Videogames Against the Dictatorship of Entertainment. I’m actually at a loss for words! This is just fabulous!! TuboFlex is my favorite – excellent way to protest today’s society!! And then there’s this ever growing fear we all live with! They’ve created Where-Next, which is a site dedicated to betting on where the next terrorist attack will be.

“Unfortunately you still can’t destroy cultures different from yours by using dollars, McDonalds or Paris Hilton videos; you can’t bomb the nation you want, pretend to provide humanitarian aid, and then install brand new governments. Unfortunately you can’t even restrict the civil rights of your country proceeding with indiscriminating arrests of new citizens, migrants or activists. Sorry!

What you can do though, is bet on where the next terrorist attack will strike!”

Oh how I adore such outcries!! I bow my head with respect…much more so than those so passionately involved in keeping my city commercial free (sorry…have to be a Bergenser to understand that one).

Aesthetics of Play

The Aesthetics of Play conferance is coming up here in Bergen and if you’re reading this and sitting cozily in good old rainy Norway, you should definately sign on!!
I’m so glad that this is happening. There’s some truely brilliant experts coming and the topics are so extremely relevant to today’s gaming culture that it’s a must for anyone geniunely interested in games!

Commercial gaming in games

BBC Technology reports that US bank Wells Fargo has created a game within Second Life to teach about saving or something. They quote Well Fargo’s chief marketing officer Sylvia Reynolds saying “the aim was to reach young people who were leaving home and becoming financially independent for the first time”. I’m not sure what to think of this….I’m sure it’s a good thing for those of us looking for funding for research….but what will all this mean with the evolution of games?
It is still a choice to play or not, I suppose. But it has to be a bloody fabulous game for these ‘young people’ to actually go there, and answering trivia about financing (which is what the game is based on) just doesn’t seem to have the luring appeal. Very typical adult to children game design that is just a waste of time, in my opinion. But…I haven’t seen the game yet…so I really shouldn’t say anything.
I honestly can’t decide if this is a trend I wish expands or if this is the end of all MMORPGs as we know it….there will be advertisements crawling all over the place!! Urgh!

Immigrants’ associations in MMORPGs

Mark Wallace has an interesting piece (although wordy) in The Escapist where he explains Eve’s organisational development in dealing with newbies. Eve is divided into corporations and when you first start playing Eve, you are automatically signed into a newpie corp. One of these is SAK (The School of Applied Knowledge). In the article he goes on to explain the economic benefits of gaming together or being a part of a corporation and how extremely helpful we MMORPG gamers are and well, a lot of blah blah blah if you ask me. But I was, however very interested to learn how Eve deals with newbies. They must be an increasing concern in all MMORPGs and I think the corporation model looks good for now (it will of course become dangerous, but we’ll come back to that another time). When online games have existed a while it becomes more and more daunting for new players to join, being a newbie is never fun (at least, I’m not a fan) and having a support network around you at that time is excellent, not only for the enjoyment of the game, but also for economic benefits and skill advancement. Of course, he quite rightly compares this to the mafia as they take you in and demand your allegiance to the corp. It’s an interesting and informative read, so I recomend you look at it if you’re interested in this stuff!! He also mentions some of Mr. Glorious Nick Yee’s work! Just a bit too many words and useless information for my taste (but then again, I read it at work and my concentration may have wandered a few times)!