Status detection systems

    I listened to a fascinating episode of the You Are Not So Smart podcast while out running over the weekend. The focus was on a new book by Will Storr called The Status Game and he was full of insights.

    • Some of the most important takeaways for me were around:
    • There are three main status games: dominance, virtue, and success
    • Status games are hard wired into us, and we're essentially just 'status detection systems'
    • Social media sites such as Twitter make it easy to signal virtue, whereas those such as Instagram make it easy to signal success.
    • Trying to force people to play your type of status game is about dominance.
    • Status games are why teenagers, who are new to these games, get embarrassed easily and take lots of risks.
    • The types of status games available to you often depend on your socio-economic status. This explains honour killings, quests for dominance, etc.
    YANSS logo
    In this episode we welcome back author Will Storr whose new book, The Status Game, feels like required reading for anyone confused, curious, or worried about how politics, cults, conspiracy theories communities, social media, religious fundamentalism, polarization, and extremism are affecting us – everywhere, on and offline, across cultures, and across the world.

    What is The Status Game? It’s our primate propensity to perpetually pursue points that will provide a higher level of regard among the people who can (if we provoked such a response) take those points away. And deeper still, it’s the propensity to, once we find a group of people who regularly give us those points, care about what they think more than just about anything else.

    In the interview, we discuss our inescapable obsession with reputation and why we are deeply motivated to avoid losing this game through the fear of shame, ostracism, embarrassment, and humiliation while also deeply motivated to win this game by earning what will provide pride, fame, adoration, respect, and status.

    Source: The game we can’t escape, the psychology behind our perpetual drive to pursue status | You Are Not So Smart

    Games (and learning) mechanics

    The average age of those who play video games? Early thirties, and rising. So, I’m happy to say that purchasing Red Dead Redemption 2 is one of the best decisions I’ve made so far in 2019.

    It’s an incredible, immersive game within which you could easily lose a few hours at a time. And, just like games like Fortnite, it’s being tweaked and updated after release to improve the playing experience. Particularly the online aspect.

    What interests me in particular as an educator and a technologist is the way that the designers are thinking carefully about the in-game mechanics based on what players actually do. It’s easy to theorise what people might do, but what they actually do is a constant surprise to anyone who’s ever designed something they’ve asked another person to use.

    Engadget mentions one update to Red Dead that particularly jumped out at me:

    The update also brings a new system that highlights especially aggressive players. The more hostile you are, the more visible you will become to other players on the map with an increasingly darkening dot. Your visibility will increase in line with bad deeds such as attacking players and their horses outside of a structured mode, free roam mission or event. But, start behaving, and your visibility will fade over time. Rockstar is also introducing the ability to parlay with an entire posse, rather than individual players, which should also help to reduce how often players are killed by trolls.
    In other words, anti-social behaviour is being dealt with by games mechanics that make it harder for people to act inappropriately.

    But my favourite update?

    The update will also see the arrival of bounties. Any player that's overly aggressive and consistently breaks the law with have a bounty placed on their head, and once it's high enough NPC [Non-Playing Characters] bounty hunters will get on your tail. Another mechanism to dissuade griefing but perhaps a missed opportunity to allow players to become temporary bounty hunters and enact some sweet vengeance on the players that keep ruining their gameplay.
    We have a tendency in education to simply ban things we don't like. That might be excluding people from courses, or ultimately from institutions. However, when it's customers at stake, games designers have a wide range of options to influence the outcomes for the positive.

    I think we’ve got a lot still to learn in education from games design.

    Source: Engadget


    Image by BagoGames used under a CC BY license

    Games (and learning) mechanics

    The average age of those who play video games? Early thirties, and rising. So, I’m happy to say that purchasing Red Dead Redemption 2 is one of the best decisions I’ve made so far in 2019.

    It’s an incredible, immersive game within which you could easily lose a few hours at a time. And, just like games like Fortnite, it’s being tweaked and updated after release to improve the playing experience. Particularly the online aspect.

    What interests me in particular as an educator and a technologist is the way that the designers are thinking carefully about the in-game mechanics based on what players actually do. It’s easy to theorise what people might do, but what they actually do is a constant surprise to anyone who’s ever designed something they’ve asked another person to use.

    Engadget mentions one update to Red Dead that particularly jumped out at me:

    The update also brings a new system that highlights especially aggressive players. The more hostile you are, the more visible you will become to other players on the map with an increasingly darkening dot. Your visibility will increase in line with bad deeds such as attacking players and their horses outside of a structured mode, free roam mission or event. But, start behaving, and your visibility will fade over time. Rockstar is also introducing the ability to parlay with an entire posse, rather than individual players, which should also help to reduce how often players are killed by trolls.
    In other words, anti-social behaviour is being dealt with by games mechanics that make it harder for people to act inappropriately.

    But my favourite update?

    The update will also see the arrival of bounties. Any player that's overly aggressive and consistently breaks the law with have a bounty placed on their head, and once it's high enough NPC [Non-Playing Characters] bounty hunters will get on your tail. Another mechanism to dissuade griefing but perhaps a missed opportunity to allow players to become temporary bounty hunters and enact some sweet vengeance on the players that keep ruining their gameplay.
    We have a tendency in education to simply ban things we don't like. That might be excluding people from courses, or ultimately from institutions. However, when it's customers at stake, games designers have a wide range of options to influence the outcomes for the positive.

    I think we’ve got a lot still to learn in education from games design.

    Source: Engadget


    Image by BagoGames used under a CC BY license

    Fun smartphone-based party games

    At our co-op meetup last week, once we’d got business out of the way for the day, we decided to play some games. Bryan’s got a projector in his living room which he can hook up to his laptop, and he invited us all to create a Kahoot! quiz. We then played each others' quizzes, which was fun.

    Back at home, I’d already introduced my two children to AirConsole, which they use to play games using their tablets as controllers. I searched for games we could play on the big screen without having to download anything and the first one we played was called Multeor. This involves each player controlling a ‘meteor’ which destroys things to collect points.

    Multeor

    A list I found on Reddit was also useful, although some of them are games that have to be purchased via the Steam marketplace. We played Spaceteam which, appropriately enough for our meetup describes itself  as “a cooperative shouting game for phones and tablets”. It didn’t require the project, and was great fun. I even played it with my wife when I got home!

    While I’m on the subject of games, Laura introduced me to Paddle Force, which our former Mozilla colleagues Bobby Richter and Luke Pacholski created. It’s like Pong on steroids, and my children love it! Luke’s also created Pixel Drift, which reminds me a lot of playing Super Off Road at the arcades as a kid!

    Fun smartphone-based party games

    At our co-op meetup last week, once we’d got business out of the way for the day, we decided to play some games. Bryan’s got a projector in his living room which he can hook up to his laptop, and he invited us all to create a Kahoot! quiz. We then played each others' quizzes, which was fun.

    Back at home, I’d already introduced my two children to AirConsole, which they use to play games using their tablets as controllers. I searched for games we could play on the big screen without having to download anything and the first one we played was called Multeor. This involves each player controlling a ‘meteor’ which destroys things to collect points.

    Multeor

    A list I found on Reddit was also useful, although some of them are games that have to be purchased via the Steam marketplace. We played Spaceteam which, appropriately enough for our meetup describes itself  as “a cooperative shouting game for phones and tablets”. It didn’t require the project, and was great fun. I even played it with my wife when I got home!

    While I’m on the subject of games, Laura introduced me to Paddle Force, which our former Mozilla colleagues Bobby Richter and Luke Pacholski created. It’s like Pong on steroids, and my children love it! Luke’s also created Pixel Drift, which reminds me a lot of playing Super Off Road at the arcades as a kid!