Re-mission 2

I recently had the privilege of giving a presentation on what games are, how they’ve IMG_0765grown to a serious medium and the potential of what games can bring to different forms of communication to a group of proffessionals in the health industry. The wonderful Ricki Sickenger from Sonat Consulting followed me to talk about the process of gamification. My main focus through the presentation was on gaming systems. True – the graphics within the industry have become “almost real” and truly beautiful but so has the system/game design. And I wanted to emphasize on this to point out that game developers should be involved early on in development processes and not brought in in the end with a simple note of “gamify this within 2 weeks”. At least I think I did – but this may also be the conclusion from the wonderful conversation we had after.

It gave me an opportunity to dip into some health games and I’m absolutely smitten with Re-mission 2 by HopeLab! I love this project! They put game developers together with kids who are going through cancer treatments to make games that are absolutely joyful and so much fun. The games helped kids visualize what their bodies are going through and understand what all the painful treatments were fighting. I love this idea! First of all just using kids that are already going through this to help create games must be such a great program in itself. Second of all – the games are gleefully great! They made me giggle.

I wanna do something like this in Norway! Who’s with me and where do we start?

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Programming with children

(Pictures shamefully stolen from Lær Kidsene Koding)

Last summer I was at Edinburgh Interactive and was for the first time introduced to the highres_245711632wonderful organisation Coder Dojo, which is a program or space for young people eager to learn about programming and technology. Bill Liao, one of the founders, took the stage and started reciting a poem which really moved me. He concluded with the statement “We’re teaching our children how to read but not how to write. We’re teaching our children how to use technology but not how to create and express themselves with it.” – it really got to me.

Ever since then the subject just kept on popping into a lot of discussions and meetings I was having last winter. Of course, a lot of the meetings I was having, were with very engaged technology enthusiasts. But it was uncanny the way I could be sitting in an introduction meeting between Jill Walker Rettberg and Henchman and Goon where w ended up having an opinionated and enthused discussion about the lack of programming in Norwegian education. And this just kept happening. General consensus was that something had to be done and we might as well be the ones to do it. Meetings were had between me, Jill Walker Rettberg from Digital Culture at University of Bergen, Anne Marthe Dyvi from Bergen Center for Electronic Art, some sporadic members of The Game Developers Guild, Martin Lie, Trygve Trohaug from HackBergen and one of my favourite librarians Sverre Helge Bolstad.

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