Tag Archive: games

Knowledge will set you free… Or will it?

Knowledge will make you free

Knowledge will make you free (Photo credit: tellatic)

There is a lot of talk about education right now and a lot of blame cast on the schools for not doing their job but I think it’s important to consider what the job of a school is. Most people would quickly agree that the job of the school is to impart knowledge. I read a very interesting article that talked about the difference between knowledge, wisdom, and insight and I had a bit of an a-ha! moment… if the following is true:

Knowledge VS Wisdom VS Insight

Knowledge is the accumulation of facts and data that you have learned about or experienced. It’s being aware of something, and  having information. Knowledge is really about facts and ideas that we acquire through study, research, investigation, observation, or experience.

Wisdom is the ability to discern and judge which aspects of that knowledge are true, right, lasting, and applicable to your life. It’s the ability to apply that knowledge to the greater scheme of life. It’s also deeper; knowing the meaning or reason; about knowing why something is, and what it means to your life.

Insight is the deepest level of knowing and the most meaningful to your life. Insight is a deeper and clearer perception of life, of knowledge, of wisdom. It’s grasping the underlying nature of knowledge, and the essence of wisdom. Insight is a truer understanding of your life and the bigger picture of how things intertwine.

via What Are the Differences Between Knowledge, Wisdom, and Insight? – Lifehack.

Then the job of the school is to present the student with facts and information and help them develop some research and investigation skills. That’s really all they are on the hook for. It’s our job as parents to teach values and impart wisdom. The gamer in me is going to come out here for a second… In Dungeons and Dragons Intelligence (knowledge) and Wisdom are the two primary character statistics related to intellect.  In application: a knowledgeable character knows a situation is dangerous and what type of danger is present. A wise character has a solid strategy based on experience to deal with that situation, and an insightful one knows how to either avoid it all together or benefit from the danger.

Anyways… I started thinking about parents I know and students I see where I work and it got me thinking about the fact that most parents rely on the school to teach everything and that simply isn’t reasonable. Knowledge is simply not enough to ensure success in life. you have to have the wisdom to apply that knowledge for it to do any good. That can only come from experience and our job as parents is to provide that. I do a lot with my kids. We play games, work out, talk, read, and travel together. I also try to expose then to the arts through film, theater, and music… and you can see when talking to my kids they are very bright. They figure stuff out quickly… That’s what it takes to be successful. and they do this because they have active involved parents.

My dad took me hunting and fishing. I spent time in the mountains, we sailed, played sports, and spent a lot of time talking… not him talking AT me but really talking TO me, and I think that is a big part of what made me successful. My parents owned my success and failure and viewed the school system as a tool… I’m not sure as a society we do that any more.

I have some BIG plans for my kids. Long backpacking trips, sailing around the world, volunteering, etc… BIG life events where you learn about yourself and where I can help them apply the knowledge they have gained to be not only wise, but wise, and god willing insightful.

Without slamming the public school system… I’m curious to hear what other people think about this and how they are helping to prepare their kids for life. I have not had time to fully develop my thought on this and am interested in the conversation so please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.

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What makes a game?

Atari 2600 JoystickEarlier this week I talked about Why Gamification fails. Today I’d like to talk about what makes a game. On the surface I think we all THINK we know what makes a game but many of the things we think of as core features are simply not required to have a game. Games to not have to have scores, points or clear winners. Wow! Who would have thought? A lot of games DO have some or all of those things, but they are not required. So what IS required? Jane McGonigal give us a great list of things to think about in her book Reality is Broken: Why Games make us better and how they can change the world. She says a game needs only 4 things to be complete

  • Goals – A specific outcome you are trying to achieve
  • Rules – Set limitations on how players can achieve these goals
  • A Feedback System – How close are you to a goal? Points, scores, progress bars, players personal knowledge of an outcome, for example the game is over when…
  • Voluntary participation  - This requires everyone to knowingly and willingly accept the rules, goals, and feedback. You can not force anyone to participate, and this ensures that any challenging or stressful work takes place in a manner that is safe and pleasurable.

That’s it… That’s ALL you need! points, scores, winners, graphics, etc are all tools to increase the players engagement in the game but they are not core to the game itself.

Lets look at some examples. In one of my favorite games Dungeons and Dragons (DnD) there are constantly changing story driven goals and the obvious goal of leveling up my gaining XP (Experience Points) You have the dice and Dungeon master as a source of feedback, and lets face it, no one is forced to play something as awesome as DnD! the most important one is no player wins DnD. The party may lose battles, but the game has no real winners and losers the story just progresses.

Starbucks reward points:  After 20 drinks you become a gold member and start getting a free cup of coffee every 5 drinks and other perks. Guess what? it’s a game… You have a goal: get 20 points for the perks then free coffee every 5 points. You have a feedback system with the little stars in the coffee cup of the app (a progress bar of sorts) the rules are quite clear, and again everyone agrees to play.

Other examples are fuel rewards, frequent flyer programs, Foursquare, and Mozilla Open Badges. Games are everywhere you look once you know what you are looking for… They are used in marketing, management  and education on a daily basis. What are some examples that come to mind for you and how do you feel about them? Are you engaged? Why or Why not?

 

Why Gamification Fails!

Why Gamification Fails

Why Gamification fails… Just a few quick thought on this topic before I go to bed tonight. I think about this a lot because as a sales manager I see “games” put out by senior management all the time that are not well thought out and poorly implemented. They push these to the field and then no one engages with the “game” because it’s neither interesting or fun, then one of two things happens. Scenario 1: Mid management pretends it was successful inspiring additional time wasted on something no one cares about. Scenario 2: There is tremendous bellyaching from the field and the idea is chalked up as a loss and never done again.

So the question is: Why does gamification fail and what can we do about it? I think I can sum up the problem in one word. Engagement! The number one problem I see with “games” put out by management is there is a LOT of thought as to how to manage and measure the metrics the game is designed to improve. There is also a lot of thought and effort put into the collection of data and additional work placed on lower level managers to track and report results, but very little thought is given to why anyone would want to play the game in the first place. Herein lies the problem… games like this may inspire a few people but most employees will ignore them.

Why? Because we failed to engage them. When designing these games there are two key things that need to be thought about. First, what key metrics am I trying to improve (The more there are the harder this is to do), and second how can I ensure that the maximum number of people are actively engaged? Our problem is we talk a lot about the first issue and very little about the second.

I’ll talk about how to do this tomorrow, but for now I’d like to hear about your experience with games managers have made and what your experience is with them as a developer or player. Were you engaged? Why or why not?

-Brad

PS: If you are looking for a GREAT book on gamification and how to make it work I recommend Reality is Broken. It is truly fantastic and will change the way you think about gamification and what it can do for you and your business.

Can Tabletop RPG’s Make You More Confident And Successful?

When people think of tabletop RPG’s the first thing that most people think is “Wow… Huge nerd!”  I have for many years thought that there were countless uses for games as a tool for teaching children, developing skills, and developing quality real life relationships. So much in fact, that I have committed a lot of time and study to the idea, so it’s always nice to see that someone else agrees with you!

By the way he uses DnD as the example, but the case is just as true if you use Shadowrun, Traveller, World of Darkness, Mouse Guard, Eclipse Phase, or any other game you can think of. Honesty, I believe the more games you play the more this may be true, because it is teaching you to be flexible and uses different systems and tools to solve a similar issue.

Games teach imagination, problem solving, strategy, and social skills. They also encourage reading and develop strong long-lasting relationships with others. I honestly can not think of a single reason a parent would not want their kids to grow up gaming. I understand the argument about violence many people will make. To that I will say some of the best gaming sessions I have had have lasted 4-6 hours and not have a single combat. Fighting is not always the best way out of a problem and nearly every game has rules for negotiation and other alternative solutions many of wich are far more entertaining! That however is a topic for another post. :)

The question here is: What do YOU think? Can games make us better people?

Mayfair Games- Le Boomb!

I love fast small games so when I saw Le Boomb at PAX for just $5 I HAD to buy it and give it a go!

Mayfair Games Le Boomb

a game using dice that is very similar to hot potato

Well folks, I’m happy to say I wasn’t disappointed! For $5 this game is a pretty good value! You get the special Le Boomb Dice and also the black bomb that acts as a carrying case for it. the rules are fairly simple. Roll the dice… If you get the bomb with the fuse your good. If you get the bomb you have to hold the bomb. If someone rolls the explosion while you hold the bomb your out. I know it sounds overly simple, but it is fun and I hear that there is NO WAY this could be converted to any sort of drinking game! ( he he he!)

Anyway… I played this at Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) while waiting in line for events and again with my wife and 3 year old Sarah this morning and the game was a BIG hit. Sarah got it immediately and had a blast! She did NOT want to stop playing. I can see this as a good backpack/ purse game that you could pull out in a restaurant and play with friends or to keep the kids calm or as a warm up game while waiting to get your weekly RPG going.

For such a simple game I have really enjoyed it so far and highly recommend it for anyone looking to kill a few minutes with good clean fun!

Do you have games like this that you enjoy? Share them with me! I love learning about new games and am always looking for new stuff to play!

 

Pax 2012: Skallops

Check out Skallops! You can use them with a deck of cards to build anything!

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ZombiU for the Wii U!

When I first heard about the Wii U I was not very excited to be honest! That was until I saw the latest trailers for ZombiU! I bought my Nintendo Wii shortly after launch, but never played it as much as I thought I would. I was sucked in by the innovative game play and motion control, but was very disappointed by the graphics quality and spent most of my time and money on my Xbox 360 because I liked the feel of the controller, the pretty graphics, and the epic stories in true next generation consoles. From the looks of these two videos Nintendo nailed it this time. Good use of motion control, pretty graphics, and truly innovative gameplay! I like it

So… What do you think? Did Nintendo hit a home run this time? I feel like they did, but I’ll know for sure when I finally get to play with it at PAX Prime 2012. One things for sure… Unless im horribly disappointed at PAX the Wii U will be under my Christmas tree this year!

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