Tag: games

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!