If you’re looking for a great multi-player game to play on your PC or Xbox 360, try the new Valve game Left 4 dead 2. What a great product pitch huh?You probably saw some sort of advertisement for this game during the last month, I know I did.
What I’d like to share with you is not a review of this game, there are probably more then a dozen credible gaming sites which already have them, so go check out ign or gamespot. Rather, what I’d like to talk about is how this game fits into one of the motivational theories encompassing this class and games in general. In addition I’ll be talking about how Valve, the creators of the Half-Life series, Team Fortress series, Counter-Strike, Portal, and of course Left 4 Dead series, is revolutionizing how you buy games and creating a community all at the same time with their virtual store / community interface called Steam.
Left 4 dead is a gore fest first and foremost, there are survivors with guns and zombies. If you’ve seen the movie Dawn of the Dead, you have a pretty good idea of what happens. Although some will say its ruthless and repulsive, I think its genius, here is why. This game has the capability to play up to four people in Cooperative mode playing against the computer. The team has to work together to play through each level and use strategy and communication or else, the team will be left for dead. Having a headset with a mic is almost necessary playing this game. The team will work together to advance, they will need to heal each other, give each other medicine, rescue each other, and stay close. Evil lurks with every turn, and random hordes of zombies always keep the game play on edge. In addition to Cooperative mode, there is also many other modes which also rely on communication and team collaboration such as verses mode, where four players play the campaign while four other players, playing as the zombies try to attack them. Each team needs to work together to advance. Although it’s played with a controller or keyboard and mouse this game displays alot of interactivity.
This game has everything that Lepper & Malone want from a gaming experience. Challenge, the game is very fast paced and always changing. Although there might not be 80 hours of unique levels, or a free flowing world such as WoW or other mmorpg, this game has great replay value. On top of that, Valve includes over 50 achievements into the game, to keep you going back for more. Curiosity, Evil lurks around every corner, there are always new things to find. Better guns, ammo and medical supplies are randomly scattered every time the game is played. Players need to venture to new area’s to find these items to aid them in their adventure. Control, the player has many different game modes, guns and characters to choose from. Each game mode gives the player something unique to achieve. The player has control of their character through a first person setup. They are in direct control of what their in game character is doing. Fantasy, this game is built around the zombie movie format. You are in a movie while playing this, the game has options that come straight out of a zombie movie such as adjusting the level of film grain. This is a great all around story which puts you in the place of a non infected human trying to survive the onslaught.
Valve has created a gaming network to allow its players to play games such as Left 4 Dead in a program which melts, friends lists, personal profiles, forums and a online store all in one. They have had great success with this and it grows every day, with Many of the game developing companies a part of the system, Dell recently signed a deal with Valve to have Steam pre-installed on every Dell computer and to include the game Portal.
The greatest part of this is having the ability to have all your games at your fingertips without having to find each game disc. When purchasing games through steam they are downloadable and recorded as a virtual copy. As long as you have your password you have access to all of your purchased games. If you move, lose your hard drive or just want to uninstall the game, you always have the ability to quickly re-download the game and start to play. The friendslist and forums allow players from one game to collaborate and perhaps play more in other games, without losing that friendship. The friends-list also has a built in voice messaging system. Steam also keeps track of all your game statistics, from achievements to how many zombies you’ve killed, which gun is your favorite and your accuracy. This program also meets Lepper & Malone’s theory on Interpersonal fun.
Left 4 dead through Steam is a great experience for anyone looking to play an intensely fun game, as well as have access to many games in one spot.
Attention Game Players!! It’s brand new – released on November 17, 2009. NCAA Basketball 10 uncovers the core of college basketball with an all-new strategic motion offensive system, innovative broadcast presentation, the excitement, emotion, and pageantry that makes the college game unique. It introduces full integration of CBS Sports and ESPN broadcast elements, allowing gamers to choose their broadcast presentation for every game. Electronic Arts Inc. announced the availability of this game, developed under the EA SPORTS brand for the PlayStation3 and Xbox 360.
Yes it has relevance in the new broadcast-style and graphics just like one would see while watching a college basketball. It boasts confidence simply by pressing a button as the teammates can get initiated into whatever offense the player decide to run. It provides the ability to track players’ progression, make improvements to facilities in school and go through the standard recruitment process that every college sports game brings to the table. Yes it is satisfying and involves all 4 steps of Keller’s ARCS Model of Motivational Design.
Oh yes!! Even Malone and Lepper’s Characteristics of a Learning Game applies here. The player enjoys control over a team’s strategy and can mimic real-life style of play and adds curiosity and fantasy with the authentic broadcasting presentations from the all-star announcing crews like Dick Vitale, Brad Nessler, and Erin Andrews of ESPN, and Gus Johnson and Bill Raftery of CBS Sports by choosing regular season games and its exclusive broadcast of ‘March Madness’. Everything that fans see and hear on TV when watching college basketball will be mirrored in here, including graphic packages and highlight reels. It adds challenge with Improved Coach Feedback System and Team Tempo Control which enables the execution of game-plan to perfection.
The curiosity maximizes with a new offensive system that allows users to maximize ball movement, utilizing every player on the court, and executing team-specific plays, designed to control an opponent’s weaknesses. With the touch of a button users will be able to play fluidly and successfully. It increases the strategy behind team styles of play by introducing eight authentic motion offenses. So start your game-play and visual enhancements and make a run for the “Final Four” with more than 100 improvements, including player movement, rebounding, off-ball collisions, alley-oops, size-ups, and more!!
To begin preparing this month’s blog post, I started with a simple Google search of population simulation games and I happened across an interesting one, Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004. This simulation is one in which users (players) get to experience the thrill and technicality of true to life flight experience. The game contains 3D interactive cockpits, specialized aircraft such as the Bombardier Learjet and a Cessna Skyhawk, among many others and many ways to create and select types of flights for the simulator. As a bonus, the game also has contains a collection of articles on the history of flight.
In reviewing this game, I began to realize how useful and relevant it is, or could be, to those who are interesting in flying, either as a hobby or as a profession. Therefore, the learning theory that I believe explains a motivation to play it is the ARCS theory. The ARCS theory involves motivation on 4 levels: Attention, Relevance, Confidence and Satisfaction. This game can provide motivation to play it on each of these levels. First, the 3D graphics and interactivity make it an “attention getter”. Second, the interactive cockpit and variety of flights to choose from make it very relevant to a “real world” flight experience. Third, once the player has been through a variety of aircraft and simulations, they will most likely feel confident in their abilities to handle a similar flight experience in a real aircraft. Lastly, I am sure that satisfaction will be the end product in realizing a goal that has been achieved.
Even though I am not really interested in flying, I have to admit that this game is pretty cool and I would be very interested in playing it. I guess you could say that it could “fuel” an interest in flying, if nothing else.
As the mother of three boys there’s been an evolution of video gaming systems and games in my house for the past ten years. We’ve seen gaming system after gaming system upgraded. With the exception of the Wii, I’ve not really been interested in playing video games and I’ve managed to find other ways to entertain myself…mostly movies, books, and wine. When I do play video games I quickly get frustrated and give up. I mean how do my kids manage to drive their cars around these crazy racetracks, drifting, jumping, avoiding obstacles…when I can’t even manage to get my car to go in a straight line and stay on the track…and that’s without the wine.
So of course when I was asked to choose a motivating, fun e-game to review I went my resident experts…well, actually one resident expert…my eight year old. He recommended Cyclomaniacs at a website called http://www.addictinggames.com/index.html. I thought he had to be on to something if the site was called “addicting games” and so I checked it out. (Actually I’m relieved he was the only child home because I think I’d be reviewing the new release of Call of Duty if my teenage sons were home…and the thought of testing that game is a tad too intimidating.)
Apparently Cyclomaniacs resembles Nintendo’s classic NES racing game Excite Bike. While this game is available on many gaming websites, here’s how the Addicting Games website describes Cyclomaniacs, “Race tilty style against nine other opponents! Finish a few races and start saving your money. Upgrade yourself, and start unlocking increasingly absurd characters. Mr. C? Crouching Badger? Mr. Farty Pants?” This is a 2D side-scrolling bike game that involves tricks like wheelies, front flips, and back flips. There are 26 tracks, 20 different characters or riders that you can unlock, on 6 different worlds like Planetoid, 70 achievements, and 20 bike horns. To advance in the game you have to win races and score points by doing wheelies, flips, and other tricks during the race. Scoring points allows you to unlock new characters and worlds.
Check out a thorough, amusing review of the game on Casual Gameplay http://jayisgames.com/archives/2009/08/cyclomaniacs.php
What makes this game motivating to play? Malone and Lepper’s Taxonomy of Intrinsic Motivation for Learning defines classes of “individual” motivations (challenge, curiosity, fantasy, and control) and “intrapersonal” motivations (cooperation, competition, and recognition.) If you refer to Malone and Lepper’s Heuristics for Designing Intrinsically Motivating Instructional Environments as a guide for designing motivating learning experiences, you see that several of these classes are incorporated into this game’s design:
So what are you waiting for! Go flip for Cyclomaniacs. And by the way, I can manage to ride in a straight line on this game so I think I may just be addicted.
After browsing through the blogs I found there was no in depth review of the highly popular and controversial video game series: Grand Theft Auto. GTA has no doubt become every wannabe Bart Simpson/ Eddie Haskell’s dream come true and every parent’s worst nightmare manifested in the form of a cartoon like video game. I decided to cover this game because I felt that it needed to be discussed, rather than being shoved into a dark closet to be forgotten about by people of a conservative disposition.
Grand Theft Auto is a video game that revolves around the obvious title; stealing cars. This simulation game puts the player in the position of a hardened criminal where the objective of the game is to pass all the levels with the highest possible score or money. The player is given various options or missions to complete in order to proceed to the next level of game play. The majority of the missions revolve around breaking the law to some extent, whether it be street racing, chauffeuring mafia bosses around town, or committing gangland type assassinations.
Grand Theft Auto was originally released as a PC-CD Rom game in 1997 by DMA, now known as Rockstar Games which is based out of Edinburgh, Scotland. DMA ,aka Direct Mind Access, was started in 1988 by David Jones. DMA is also responsible for their most popular game LEMMINGS. Yes LEMMINGS!! Which has become one of the most popular early PC games that has sold over 20 million copies on 21 different gaming platforms. Grand Theft Auto has now become their primary bread winner which now has 10 standalone versions with 3 expansion packs also available.
So why is it more popular now than ever? The original GTA was a “top-down version” where the player has bird’s eye view looking upon a 2 Dimensonal environment similar to other games like The Legend of Zelda on the original Nintendo. The original version was popular because it was provocative, not because the gameplay was the coolest or cleanest. Finally in 2001 the first 3D version was released for the Sony Playstation 2 console which was also the top selling video game of 2001. The 3d version was huge improvement in gameplay and how a player interacts within the environment. Many of the video games created after GTA 3 were built on virtually the same platform. GTA3 allows the player to roam freely throughout the environment, do almost anything without affecting the game’s storyline in anyway. This new and exciting concept is known as Sandbox in video games where structure of the game is open and the player can choose to participate in the story at their own pace. Sound familiar? Many of the new titles being released now use the Sandbox concept and has revolutionized the way video games are now designed. For me, the Sandbox concept sounds like an instructional designer applied some asynchronous theory combined with Keller’s ARCS model to this game.
When I first played GTA has college age student, I found myself diving into the character’s role and the addictive movie like storyline which quickly grabbed my thought process. Attention diverted! The story echoes that of classic mobster movies like Godfather which made it easier to understand the concept of organized crime. Relevance achieved! The gameplay starts off with easy missions that lead into other story line related adventures which encouraged me to keep going in the game. Confidence check! After I passed the entire game a list of statistics is given to the player which determines the progress passed and how much the player has yet to achieve. This enhances the video game because instead of being passed once, the game can be played over and over with “choose your own adventure” scenarios. Satisfaction successful!
So what does the release of GTA and its multi-million dollar success say about our society? All it really says is that human nature hasn’t changed much in the last several thousand years. This video game appeals to the male violent instincts that have continually plagued our civilizations. Some would say that the release of this game is a social and moral indicator of worse things to come. This video game is a reflection of what IS ALREADY GOING ON in society not a creation of the crime that devours our streets when most people are home sleeping. Much of the GTA series is generic rip off of The Godfather, Goodfellas, and Scarface, which are three ULTRA-Violent movies that were released before I was even 5 years old, before I received my first Nintendo (I’m 25 now!). I wasn’t able to watch those movies as a child because they’re all Rated R and mother knew better than to let me become desensitized at a young age. Those movies were designed for a specific audience in mind (Males 18-35 years of age) so it should come as no surprise that GTA3 is designed for the same age range as well. Personally, I would NEVER let my children play GTA because I would not buy it for them, a mistake many parents have made due to ignorance and whiners. GTA is made by adults for adults, not for children! Parents are responsible for teaching kids morality not the MEDIA.
It’s easy to blame the ills of our society on video games and the media’s undeniable influence. Have we lost control? or have we as humans (especially Americans) just become negligent and lazy when teaching our children. Have we left our kids to electronic baby sitting instead of good ol’ Mary Poppins discipline? I’m not here to push politics onto anyone, but Obama was onto something when he said “parents have to do their job too. We’ve got to turn off the TV set, we’ve got to put away the video game, and we have to tell our children that education is not a passive activity.”
To acquire a hobby is one thing. Turning it into an obsession, is another. Since I don’t play them regularly, I have to wonder how some individuals can be so obsessed with video games that take hours of their time online. I question when players voluntarily overcharge their credit card accounts to continue game play, or even risk hackers to do so unknowingly on their behalf. Although I have heard of the acronym MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing games), you might as well be speaking a foreign language to me. Obviously, something about these games fills a void, which apparently reality does not.
The reality is, MMORPG is an extremely popular form of video game, utilizing online subscriptions to continue game play with other players across the globe. Some interesting facts:
What do these games provide that allow for such a loyal and lasting following? Here is some of what I’ve learned:
An Uncommon Wallflower
Like many addicted to social networking, MMORPGs provide a huge range of social interaction. Richard Ryan, a “motivational psychologist” at the University of Rochester has studied video games and concurs with much of what we have learned in class. He points out that many video games satisfy basic psychological needs, and players often continue to play because of rewards, freedom, and a connection with other players . This is evident with some MMORPG players who claim to do better socializing online than off. Based upon two other informal polls – the Daedulus Project and MMORPG.com – other factors that attract players include teamwork, community, and developing personal relationships (anonymously or not).  A quote taken from a male participant of a research study done by Nicholas Yee reveals,
“To succeed in EQ (Everquest) you need to form relationships with people you can trust. The game does a wonderful job of forcing people in this situation. Real life rarely offers this opportunity as technological advances mean we have little reliance on others and individuals are rarely thrown into life-or-death situations. ” 
Considering a MMORPG.com survey identifies the average user as spending 4-8 hours per day playing MMORPGs, it’s difficult for me to believe that socializing to this degree is better spent behind a computer rather than meeting someone face-to-face.  But for others, I guess this works.
Following the Leader
Players of MMORPGs indicated in Yee’s research study that role-playing allowed an opportunity for identity exploration, and testing skills and behaviors. Games become a safe testing ground for actions which otherwise might be too intimidating to replicate in real-life. One participant explains,
“When I play my male characters, other male members of the party will listen to me better, take me more seriously. In my male form I could give orders and have them listened to, where as a female, my characters aren’t always taken quite as seriously. [female, 22].”
This control and recognition becomes very distinctive in MMORPGs. On the opposite end of the spectrum, when players feel out-of-control or lose their confidence derived from the games, it can prove detrimental, as seen with documented suicides in some Asian countries. 
A small, yet unique component of MMORPGs are their virtual economies. I discovered that in China, companies (“workshops”) are formed explicitly to offer virtual commodities of video games, in exchange for real money – an attempt to link them to “real-world” economies. World of Warcraft has been arguably the largest environment for these exchanges. Chinese gamers, or “gold farmers,” literally play day and night collecting as much Warcraft gold for a customer overseas who pays them to play. Game companies generally frown upon such illegal activity. [8,9] Final Fantasy and Warhammer Online apparently have dedicated departments to deal with removing real money trading in their games. The general consensus by gamers is that this modification of virtual trade destroys games, creates uneven competition, and is ultimately bad for business. However, Second Life and Entropia Universe both link their virtual and real-world economies by using real money in exchange for in-game currency with little debate. 
Elf or Wizard?
A final observation I made was the theme many MMORPG players choose. In a MMORPG poll of over 20,000 members, 42% said they’d prefer their games to be of the medieval fantasy genre. Science fiction was a distance 19%, with the remaining percents spread widely across the categories of Anime, Western High Fantasy, Super Hero, Real World War, and others.  We know from our studies that fantasy is definitely an attraction of games – the letting go and escaping of reality. Still, with so many diverse games on the market, I thought this was intriguing how so many players would gravitate to this time period. One could say that there’s a public affinity for this genre, which carries across from video games to the movies. As an example, the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter films (comparable counterparts) each hold the title for highest grossing box-office trilogy and highest grossing franchise, respectively. [12,13] I guess as adults, we might never outgrow childhood play of castles, dragons and knights in shining armor.
I liken MMORPGs and their players to dedicated Comic-Con attendees. On the outside, the public sees Comic-Con-ers as those crazy costume-clad fanatics drooling in anticipation of the latest movie spoiler. MMORPG game players may be stereotyped as drifty teenagers, or uneducated or unemployed losers. On the contrary, Yee’s study showed 50% of the MMORPG participants had full time jobs. Most were over the age of 25. And most were men or women who viewed it as a cheaper form of entertainment. It seems the stigma of video gamers – particularly those of the role-playing genre – has quite a while to reinvent itself. In the meantime, if I’m feeling the need stretch my leadership skills, or find an alternative to Facebook, I’m tempted to up the ante and use my credit card.
 Yee, N. (2006). The Psychology of MMORPGs: Emotional Investment, Motivations, Relationship Formation, and Problematic Usage. In R. Schroeder & A. Axelsson (Eds.), Avatars at Work and Play: Collaboration and Interaction in Shared Virtual Environments (pp. 187-207). London: Springer-Verlag.
I visited the G3: Games, Gear & Gadgets National College Tour at UC San Diego a couple days ago and it was an enlightening experience. There were a variety of TV’s hooked up to Nintendo and Wii Fit consoles and students, most of whom did not look like big exercise fans, were running, jumping, dancing, swinging their arms, and most importantly MOVING!
I think that Wii Fit & Sports are a conglomeration of creative games that reach all ages and motivate people through competition, challenge, and fantasy. Older individuals that cannot play tennis like they use to can do so with their virtual reality character. Siblings or families can compete for gold, silver, and bronze. And of course there is challenge with swinging the nunchuck or moving ever so carefully on the balance board.
With 60% of adults, as well as a high percentage of children, who are overweight or obese, this game is a
great resource for individuals looking to get back into exercising or losing weight. In the article, Physiological Responses While Playing Nintendo Wii Sports, the researchers found that playing Wii Boxing and Tennis achieve an “adequate intensity that provides cardiovascular benefits and both games elicit energy expenditure” (Source).
Wii Fit & Sports games engage individuals through a variety of motivational techniques and they help your well-being. What could be better!
Operation is one of the, funnest “hybrid” board/electronic games of my childhood. Fairly simply designed, it only required two AA batteries connected to a pair of surgical tweezers and a simple board layout featuring an (almost) anatomically correct caricature of a male surgical patient “Cavity Sam” (“Sam”)
laid-out on the operating table with a dozen or so clever twists on medical ailments inlaid throughout his body. The object is to remove the ailment without “zapping” the outlying area of the condition, thus setting off a buzzing red-nose on the apparently unanesthetized Sam — the poor sap’s eyes remain wide open throughout! (Unconfirmed rumors suggest Milton Bradley opted to forgo the licensed anesthesiologist to keep “operational costs” at a minimum, major malpractice action notwithstanding.)
Operation was always a lot of fun to play — and technically an anatomical educational learning tool, albeit featuring clever colloquialistic ailments like, ‘Water on the knee’ – remove a bucket from the knee; ‘Writer’s Cramp’ – take out a pencil from the forearm; and of course, the infamous ‘Wrenched Ankle’ – you guessed it, someone crammed a monkey wrench in poor Sam’s ankle.
Hasbro have since spun-off a variety of versions of Operation over the past four decades, including brand-specific (Homer Simpson and The Incredible Hulk as patients), computer based and online versions of the game, as well as a modernized version, featuring patients suffering from more appropriate 21st century ailments, such as ‘SMS Thumb’, ‘Rusted Hip Joints’ and “Data-Miner’s Lung’. Another big brake through in the game, came when Hasbro (who acquired MB in the 80s) held an online contest to add a new ailment to the original version of the game. Since 2003, Sam has added to his suffering a 13th operable ailment – “Brain Freeze” (as in the ice-cream related kind). Beyond the anatomy element of the game, players rely heavily on hand-eye coordination skills (it can be really tricky removing some of those objects) Players are also designated as “Specialists” and can make extra cash performing surgeries their feeble-fingered peers failed to pull of safely This adds an informal lesson in the medical profession’s impressive Specialization fields, shedding some insight into all the cash prospective med students will make by sticking it out an extra couple of years in residency.
Forty some-odd years since it was first introduced to the market, Operation has stayed true to the simple premise yet also proven the concept has, and likely will continue to, stand the test of time in the gaming world
I was interested in the “reality t.v. gaming” aspect of game design. So I Googled and Googled and discovered the inspiring, awarded, and respected game philosophy of Jane McGonigal.
Ms. McGonigal creates her alternate reality based games, while holding on to the basic history of games. She contends that popularity for all games derives from the initial intended diversion among humans to deflect poor situations within their own lifetimes. Games were used to get away from the social troubles facing people. She says they may have been invented to alleviate suffering.
One take she had which I found particularly interesting was that ARG games allow people to collectively apply their selves to a given problem while still holding to an individual performance.
She shined as the Participating Architect in the global reality game of a World Without Oil. Participants of the game lived as if they were all affected with a global oil crisis. Contributions from players began to take the form of reality for other players. Visit the site, it is truly an amazing alternate reality game.
Her most recent ARG was The Lost Ring. This was a global, multi-lingual alternate reality game that united players in a quest to recover ancient Olympic secrets. Although the game is complete, the results of the game are archived.
Saving the World through Game Design
After reviewing these games, of which I had no clue existed, the possibilitites for more global and social collaboration could lead to more unity and understanding of communal issues. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!
As a teenager, I’ve played his games countless times without knowing who created the games. Compared to most game designers, Richard Garriott is old. He’s 46 and created Akalabeth, the Ultima series, Pacman, Space Invaders, and Donkey Kong. But in all of these games, only one player could play at a time. He envisioned something other game designers thought to be ludicrous. What if thousands of people could play simultaneously using their computers and modems?
Ultima Online was then born. That was the start of the multibillion dollar online game industry. Unfortunately, Ultima 9 had problems. It lacked good design and crashed frequently. In 1999, he severed ties with publisher Electronic Arts. Until now, there has been nothing from Garriott. Six years and 20 million dollars later, we are about to see Tabula Rasa.
Tabula Rasa is more about quick reaction and tactical strategy than lots of armor and heavy duty weapons like World of Warcraft. Here you are also faced with ethical dilemmas like willingness to poison a river that your allies also use.
With the creation of the latest console system some years ago ie Playstation3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii, game developers were given a new canvas to create the future of gaming. The Sony and Microsoft systems focused on arming themselves with the latest processor and video card technology to run the smoothest and most beautiful games ever seen. Although the games were beautiful, the human interaction was exactly the same as the previous generations and each games beautiful 3d style world was still 2d when we looked at the screen. Nintendo not having the most powerful system took a different route and incorporated the most interactive style control system out of the three. The use of motion detection through human activity brought the game player closer to the game by actually moving around and depicting movements simular to the game they were play. This example of interaction can be seen in “Wii Sports” and “Wii Fit” just to name a few. Although the human interaction was there, the tv was still being used in a 2d style world.
About a year and half ago I discovered this video on youtube from a Carnegie Mellon University student by the name of Johnny Chung Lee. Johnny took the Nintendo Wii and reversed the remote and infrared lights. So instead of the user moving around to connect to a steady environment, the environment moves to create a 3d world around the user. Fast forward to September 9th, 2009, I found another article pertaining to the rumors about a racing game being developed for the Playstation 3 console with the use of optical motion tracking of “head tracking”. If you’re an avid racing game player you’ve been waiting for Gran Turismo 5 to come out for a couple of years now only to be disappointed with many failed due date promises. By the way, the new estimated release date for GT5 is March 2010. Hopefully this technology will be a shining light on the massive development delay of the game. The technology using the Playstation Eye will work very simular to what Johnny Lee demonstrated in his video with out the use of the lightbar or infrared glasses. Instead Sony will be using their camera and the use of face recognition algorithm, which tracks your face similar to how photo camera and video camera do.
Aside from the creepy 1984 style message the eye mentions, hopefully this technology of developing the 3d world of video games will reach out and conquer the 2d world that users see when playing games today. Personally I can’t wait to sit down and play a fully interactive GT5 race with the head tracking Playstation Eye and Logitech G27 wheel.
Please share what you think about this topic and the future of head/optical tracking in the future development of games.
The Walt Disney Company, committed to producing “unparalleled entertainment experiences”, spearheads technological advancements in family entertainment. Walt Disney Imagineers, the masterminds behind theme park design and development, set the trend for theme park entertainment by developing attractions that are driven by the current consumer market. Such is the case for Disney newest rides which combine rider interaction, 3-D, and even 4-D technology, like Toy Story Mania!.
Here, guests wear 3-D glasses aboard a spinning vehicle equipped with a spring-action shooter to launch darts at various targets and gain points, while traveling through multiple virtual environments based on carnival midway games. Guests aboard the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, pilot their own Star Cruiser while zapping targets and racking up a personal score. Riders can even e-mail their Astro Blaster score and continue the battle online in their home.
Although passive rides like Pirates of the Caribbean will continue to have its place in Disneyland culture, these new “gaming” rides allow guest manipulation creating a personalized experience each time, no ride is ever the same. Such innovation adds to the magic we come to expect from Disney and extends the experience by creating entirely new options for guests.
Robyn and Rand Miller are the brothers that teamed up to develop one of the most successful game series of all time. Myst, and its spin-offs have earned the developers accolades for bringing rich textures, non-violent, story driven experiences to gamers for the past decade.
Playing Myst for the first time you are immediately drawn into the mystery of what happened to the explorer Artus, played by Rand in video interludes. You are challenged to solve several interactive puzzles given clues found around the island. Observational skills and logical thinking are rewarded. Your actions during play will determine how the game eventually ends for there is no time limit.
Today Robyn has moved on from the game business to pursue his other interests in music and design. Rand is still involved in the game industry, working at the company he and his brother co-founded. He went on to create a spinoff of Myst known as Uru Live. The online MMOG suffered from financial problems which led to its current state of paralysis. A rebranded version was to be released last year, but further financial setbacks have all but scuttled the plans. Miller and his team at Cyan recently announced that Myst Online’s source code would be released in hopes that devoted fans will allow the story to continue. Myst does however live on thanks to a new iPhone app released this summer.
Although not initially marketed as an educational game when it was first released, it was universally hailed by teachers, parents, and players for its focus on storytelling and problem solving. No one dies in Myst and there are no bloodthirsty aliens lurking in the shadows waiting to take your soul. You are immersed into a beautiful world unlike any you have seen before and you must figure out what is going on. I’ve always thought this would make a great language arts and science lesson but have never before had the opportunity to try it.
Last year I discovered one such teacher that has taken one of the Myst games known as Myst 3 Exile to use in his classroom to teach creative witting. Tim Rylands has become famous for teaching with Myst, even earning a visit from Rand Miller to his classroom. This year I have an opportunity to spend some time with one of my classes of 6th graders playing Myst. I will be attempting to teach narrative writing to 31 ELD students next semester. There will be much scaffolding, vocabulary building, and language and content objectives yet to be written, but being a fan of Myst, I am up for the challenge.
I look forward to hearing from anyone with ideas on the subject.
Since The Art of Game Design has been one of the most educational and inspiring books that I’ve read in a while, I wanted to learn more about the author, Jesse Schell.
The Post Gazette did an article about him in 2002, “Disney star joins CMU’s new entertainment technology center.”
While Schell did not grow up with a strong background in entertainment, he worked as a magician and comedian as he pursued a degree in computer science. Continuing his education, he got a master’s degree in information networking where he became fascinated by the field of virtual reality.
Schell applied his knowledge of computer science and interest in virtual reality to video game design (a $9.4 billion industry 2001). He has worked on Toontown Online, DisneyQuest’s virtual reality attractions, among other things.
Schell believes that a successful game must be developed through a team of talented individuals. He also cites some important aspects of gaming: risk, reward, balancing chance and player skill, and understanding the psychology of the player.
I’m a 670 student past, and noticed that the course was starting again. I perused the syllabus after Bernie tweeted it and just couldn’t resist chiming in on this topic. Here’s why.
I’m not sure if you’ll be introduced to the Second Life platform this semester; it’s an interesting study on learning, boredom and fun. The platform itself isn’t a game, although veteran game designer Scott Jennings wrote a clever essay on it through that lens.
SL is more like an sophisticated Lego set. I’m surely dating myself, which is deliberate, because it’s nontrivial that a lot of 3o – 50 something-year-olds are spending lots of time playing in SL. Images of adults playing Legos don’t come naturally to me. Constructionism seems to describe best what I’ve observed, but the theory has yet to be applied to adults. Hmmm? Adult learning theories too are rather inadequate at explaining what’s going on. It’s indeed an interesting mystery.
Anyway, I’ll be scratching the surface a weeee bit with a study of how sl residents learn to create it. I also blog about SL and virtual environments, situating them in an institutional context, which means that we look at them from within a highly structured learning context (SDSU).