Gamification | Page 3


New batch of free student-created games

Mia Consalvo, Canada Research Chair in Game Studies & Design at Concordia University, just blogged about her experience in running a graduate course called: COMS 642Q: Cheating, Games, and the Ethics of Play Media (link to course outline).

Most interestingly, students had to create a running online game using the ChoiceScript platform. All the student games are available via the TAG/Hexagram website.

Full disclosure: I am an associate member of the TAG/Hexagram research center at Concordia University in Montréal.

Bibliographies Gamification

Reading notes: The Rise of Videogame Zinesters

I just finished reading Anna Anthropy‘s most recent book on the topic of DIY games. Here is the full reference, part of my short yet growing bibliography on the subject:

Anthropy, A. (2012). Rise of the videogame zinesters : How freaks, normals, amateurs, artists, dreamers, dropouts, queers, housewives, and people like you are taking back an art form (Seven Stories Press 1st ed.). New York: Seven Stories Press.

As far as essays go, this reads like a novel. I could hardly put it down, Anna frames making games as something anyone can (and should) do, so one feels like they are the protagonist in this story. The text as a slight self-help or therapeutic slant, but I quickly got over that (it is, after all, part of the DIY you-can-do-it-too message).

Here are some of the things that stuck as really interesting:

In writing about the problem with videogames in the first chapter, Anna asks a very astute question: “what are games good for” and posits that “non-professionals” should think about games (p. 20):

because different forms are suited to different kinds of expression, and some are more effective at communicating in certain ways than others. Broadly, films and photographs are best sited for communicating action and physical detail. Novels are best suited for communicating internal monologue and ambiguity.
What are games best suited for? Since games are composed of rules, they’re uniquely suited to exploring systems and dynamics. Games are especially good at communicating relationships; digital games are most immediately about the direct relationship between the player’s actions or choices and their consequences. Games are a kind of theatre in which the audience is an actor and takers on a role – and experiences the circumstances and consequences of that role. It’s hard to imagine a more effective way to characterize someone than to allow a player to experience life as that person (p.20)

In chapter 3 further examining what are games good for, Anna establishes that “a game is an experience created by rules” (emphasis in her text). Using the games of Tag, Tetris and chess (european and viking), Anna highlights these characteristics of games, such as creating “house rules” (on-the-fly variations to a game).

In digital games, the computer keeps the rules. The computer tracks all the numbers. Digital Games therefore have much greater control over what information the players have access to, making video games capable of much greater ambiguity than board or card games. (p. 52)

This ambiguity allows for more complexity and assists in “telling stories” (id). In fact,

the format of the videogame-which lets rules be changed and introduces over the course of the experience, and which lets the author hide the causes for events and show only the effects-lends itself more easily to an overt, sustained narrative than any physical game format.
Because the rules are kept by the machine, the rules in digital games tend to be more numerous and more subtle. (p.52)
Through playing the game, the player develops a sense of the limits and subtleties of these hidden rules. This interaction between the player and the game, dependent on the game’s hiding information, gives digital games their special capacity for subtlety and nuance. (p.53)

I like the discussion surrounding folk games (like Tag), commercial games (Anna refers mostly to high-budget commercial games, such as first-person shooter games or elaborate adventure games, as the archetype of this category), role-playing games (such as in-person dungeons and dragons) and “zine” games. But you have to wait until chapter 5 (“the new videogame”) for Anna to get to talk directly about the role of the author of a game (at p. 102).

For example, in commercial games, the producer has the most impact on the narrative structure of a game, but they are the most removed from the actual creation of it as huge teams are deployed in their creation. In folk games, the author is all but forgotten, as the game has entered into our common cultural experience. Rarely are authors of games known or remembered for their contribution.

Chapter 7 (“by your bootstraps”) gets into suggested steps involved in designing a game:

Task #1: Choose a tool (p.144)
Task #2: Introduce a Character (p. 145) [the protagonist or the player]
Task #3: Teach your Character to do something (p. 146) [using the simple “subject” (player) “verb” (action) “object” (thing) structure, such as “Mario jumps over a flame-throwing flower”]
Task #4: Introduce a second Character (p. 147) which could help or hinder the player…
Task #5: Make some Noise (p. 149) [add sound effects which could assist the player understand the consequences of their actions and help narrating the story]
Task #6: Round out the player’s vocabulary (p. 150) [add more verbs that the player can use: run, throw, sink…]
Task #7: Design a level (p. 151) “I am using level to mean the sequence of events the player has to negotiate using her vocabulary of verbs”
Task #8: Finish the story (p. 154) [end, start, screens…]
Task #9: Have someone play it, then change it (p. 156)
Task #10: Distribute your game
Task #11: Make another game [better, different, experiment]

I already covered some tools (also here, in my French blog) one could use to create videogames, but Anna adds a few others (at p. 163, appendix A):
Kilk & Play the Games Factory from ClickTeam
Inform 7
Wariorware D.I.Y. (for Nintendo DS)
Knytt Stories (level maker)
ZZT (DOS based ASCII game maker).

Gamification Information literacy

Quick “gamification” bibliography

Following my post on prof Hirumi, his InterPLAY model and experiential learning,
I sent off to learn more on gamification, eLearning and other related topics. I setup an quick and dirty bibliography on the topic and shared it from my RefWorks site.

In addition to what I have posted in my first post on prof. Hirumi, here are the items in it so far in my gamification bibliography:

Annetta, L. A., & Bronack, S. C. (Eds.). (2011). Serious educational game assessment : Practical methods and models for educational games, simulations and virtual worlds. Rotterdam, Netherlands: Sense Publishers.

Anthropy, A. (2012). Rise of the videogame zinesters : How freaks, normals, amateurs, artists, dreamers, dropouts, queers, housewives, and people like you are taking back an art form (Seven Stories Press 1st ed.). New York: Seven Stories Press.

Haythornthwaite, C. A., & Andrews, R. (Eds.). (2011). E-learning theory and practice. Los Angeles: Sage.

Hirumi, A. (Ed.). (2010). Playing games in school : Video games and simulations for primary and secondary classroom instruction (1st ed.). Eugene, Ore: International Society for Technology in Education.

Juwah, C. (Ed.). (2006). Interactions in online education : Implications for theory and practice. London ; New York: Routledge.

Suits, B. (2005). The grasshopper games, life and utopia. Peterborough, Ont.: Broadview Press.

Werbach, K., & Hunter, D. (Eds.). (2012). For the win : How game thinking can revolutionize your business. Philadelphia: Wharton Digital Press. 

I also have another open bibliography on business information literacy.

Concordia University Critical Thinking Gamification Information literacy

Experiential Learning and the InterPLAY Model from prof. Hirumi

Prof Hirumi I learned so much from the e.SCAPE conference at Concordia – but professor Hirumi inspired me to look into grounding the curriculum I am developing for business information literacy in proven theories.

Professor wrote a book in 2010 on this model:

Call Number LB 1029 S53P53 2010
Title Playing games in school : video games and simulations for primary and secondary classroom instruction / edited by Atsusi “2c” Hirumi
Edition 1st ed
Publisher Eugene, Ore : International Society for Technology in Education, c2010

He also wrote a book chapter in 2006:
Atsusi Hirumi — Designing interaction as a dialogue game : linking social and conceptual dimensions of the learning process
Call Number LB 1044.87 I548 2006
Title Interactions in online education : implications for theory and practice / edited by Charles Juwah
Publisher London ; New York : Routledge, 2006
Prof. Hirumi’s chapter in this book is available here.

In addition, prof. Hirumi offered some great summaries of contemporary proven learning theories For example, see this 30 page summary I found on a conference website (title: Grounding e-Learning Interactions to facilitate Critical Thinking
& Problem Solving)

During the conference, he presented his InterPLAY model, as seen here from a few of his slides:


He also presents it as such in the pdf document linked above (title: Grounding e-Learning Interactions to facilitate Critical Thinking
& Problem Solving )
. On page 19, he describes it as such:

Interplay Strategy
(Stapleton & Hirumi, 2011; Hirumi, Atkinson, & Stapleton, 2011)
Based on the belief that the learning of facts, concepts and principles occurs best in context of how they will be used, the Interplay strategy evokes emotions and sparks imagination, based on cognitive neuroscience research, to enhance experiential learning theories by addressing three primary conventions of interactive entertainment and their related elements (i.e., Story – characters, events, worlds; Game – rules, tools, goals; Play – stimulus, response, consequences).
1. Expose – Exposure provides the back-story to entice empathy for the character or player, and orients the audience into the same reference point or point of view. Exposure sets up specified learning objectives in a meaningful way to invite the student to contribute, to engage and to achieve the challenges set before them.
2. Inquire – Inquiry validates Exposure. If exposure sets a desire to learn, then inquiry is automatic. Inquire provides a response to student’s curiosity with something to do that showcases different elements that will be used later.
3. Discover –Discovery provides the personal reward, achievement, and the “ah ha” moment. The consequences of discovery, whether negative or positive, provide feedback to inspire further exploration to the next level of achievement.
4. Create – Transforms the experience from being merely reactive to truly interactive. Instead of responding to cues, the learner contributes to the content by applying the elements of the subject matter in novel ways.
5. Experiment – Provides an opportunity to assess learning and provide feedback without losing or winning. The goal is less about the hypothesis being right or wrong, but rather setting up the elements of the subject matter so that new knowledge can be gained. Failure should be fun.
6. Share – The sharing of personal experiences and feelings is facilitated at the end of the lesson or unit, to seal the memory of the learning experience. Sharing compels learners to put lessons learned in their own perspective as well as others.

He presented the context of the InterPLAY model as such:


In addition to the books references above, here are some works prof. Hirumy contributed to:
Crippen, K. J., Archambault, L., & Kern, C. (in press). Using Scaffolded Vee Diagrams to Enact Inquiry-Based Learning. In A. Hirumi (Ed.). Grounded Designs for Online and Hybrid Learning: Practical Guidelines for Educators and Instructional Designers. Eugene, WA: International Society for Technology in Education.

Hirumi, A. (2002). Student-centered, technology-rich, learning environments (SCenTRLE): Operationalizing constructivist approaches to teaching and learning. Journal for Technology and Teacher Education, 10(4), 497-537.
Hirumi, A. (1998, March). The Systematic Design of Student-Centered, Technology-Rich Learning Environments. Invited guest presentation given at the first Education Graduate Students and Academic Staff Regional Meeting, Guadalajara, Mexico.
Hirumi, A. (1996, February). Student-Centered, Technology-Rich Learning environments: A cognitive-constructivist approach. Concurrent session held at the Association for Educational Communication and Technology Conference, Indianapolis, Indiana.
Hirumi, A. & Stapleton, C. (in press). Designing InterPLAY Learning Landscapes to Evoke Emotions, Spark the Imagination, and Foster Creative Problem Solving. In A. Hirumi (Ed.). Grounded Designs for Online and Hybrid Learning: Practical Guidelines for Educators and Instructional Designers. Eugene, WA: International Society for Technology in Education.
Hirumi, A., Atkinson, T., Stapleton, C. (2011). Interplay: Evoking Emotions andSparking Imagination through Story, Play and Game. Concurrent Session presented the annual Association for Educational Communication and Technology conference, Jacksonville, FL. Nov. 8-12.
Stapleton, C. & Hirumi, A. (2011). Interplay instructional strategy: Learning by engaging interactive entertainment conventions. In M. Shaughnessy & S. Fulgham (eds). Pedagogical Models: The Discipline of Online Teaching (pp. 183-211). Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.

Gamification Research

Vintage Video Games at the Museum (in Québec City)

I saw this add in a special section of Le Devoir this weekend:

Essentially, the Musée de la civilisation de Québec has issued a plea to get donation of antique video game consoles to build a heritage grade collection.

They are also announcing an expo on vintage games starting April 24th 2013:

Game Story
April 24, 2013–March30, 2014
Video games first appeared on the scene in the early 70s. Still a relatively new medium, they have evolved and improved continuously to become a major cultural industry today. The history of video games is also the history of graphic and industrial design as reflected in console styling, fan magazines, and packaging and advertising. The exhibition creates authentic period ambiances using a variety of visual supports including objects associated with the games themselves.

Adapted by Musée de la civilisation based on an exhibition by Réunion des musées nationaux – Grand Palais in collaboration with Musée des Arts asiatiques Guimet and Association MO5.COM.

You have until March 2014 to get to Québec City.


Gamification K-12

Game used in Lithuanian libraries

From the eIFL website (an association of libraries from developing countries, see this post about a game used in school libraries :

Utena A. and M. Miskiniai Public Library in Lithuania has received funding to expand their innovative Play to Study service, which includes an educational computer game for vulnerable children, to more than 50 schools in nine municipalities, reaching 7,000 children.

More on the project here.

Blended Learning Gamification Inspiration

Scratching the surface of video games

Through the TED Talks iTunes feed, I watched last evening this talk by Mitch Resnick on teaching kids to code:

Here is the link to Scratch, the kid (and neophyte) friendly video game builder.

I’ve been thinking of using video games or gamification for library & information literacy instruction and the Scratch tool seems like a fun and easy way to test some prototypes.

A different thread lead me to the strange case of David S. Gallant, who was recently let go from the Canadian Revenue Agency. He apparently developed a simple game about his day job which seems to put him in hot water. Here is his video presentation you Youtube:

I like the simple game dynamic, it reminds me when I first learned how to code on Hypercard on an Apple II way back in the early 1990s. Essentially, you are placed in a situation and the system prompts you for a few options. I also really like the idea of putting the player in the shoes of a call center operator.

So, here is a simple concept of my game: You are the libarrian ™ in which you play a (maybe) stereotypical librarian that is faced with questions from users. That way, the player would need to learn what we know in a role-playing, cognitive dissonance inducing on-the-spot way. It is like taking a multiple-choice test, but with (possibly) jokes and a dynamic kitch-spartan interface. What more could you need ?

Actually, the goal would be to also start the game at the lever of the user. Too many library-related instruction starts by presenting the library (books on this floor, here is the library catalogue, etc.) – I find this turns most people off. We should start to discuss the learner – what are their learning/reading/seeking habits. Then, talk about their need – what it means to do research (at any level) in a university. Confronting the two is a great way to generate interest in library resources while having an open conversation about the tools that constituted their info seeking habits (i.e. watch my videos on Google & Wikipedia):