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Too much..!

25 Mar

Alec Guiness, in one of his memoirs tells the anecdote of how an excited fans asks for an autograph and gleefuly boasts that he’s seen the movie, Star Wars 100 times. Guinness agrees to sign his autograph on one condition, “Do you think you could promise never to watch it again?”

I’m digesting a lot of info on games and stories at the moment.

Had a great meeting with Fi McGarry yesterday. She lectures at Dundee Uni, teaching new teachers, and has also written for the stage and TV including Balamory for the BBC! (Given that my original Project Poster was entitled What’s the Story? that’s pretty ironic!)
Meeting Fi was a direct result of meeting Divya Jindal-Snape, also at Dundee Uni, who was also very helpful on the subject of narratives and games in learning. I hope to meet up with both at some point very soon.. maybe together.. overload..?

This week, I was also introduced to, and blown away by, a couple of talks by Game Designer and Carnegie Mellon Lecturer, Jessie Schell. Fantastic, entertaining talks on the future of games, gamifecation and the potential of the Gamepocalypse!

To get a bit of balance I re-watched the shockingly awful Panarama, Addicted To Games? programme which was borderline ‘tabloid’ in it’s approach and just got me annoyed all over again…

And finally, having finished Tom Chatfield’s Fun Inc. i’ve properly got into GameStorming, which is just amazing and inspiring in it’s approach to understanding games, and their place in business and beyond!

One thing that I’ve been thinking about, a lot, recently, in relation to gaming, is behavioural issues. It’s amazing that, as an alternative to gaming, a suggestion put forward through the course of Panarama’s programme was ‘go out drinking with mates’. A reformed gamer also recommended that you ‘get a life, get smashed’ and at least one of the extreme case studies included a ‘child’ who managed to play 18 hours a day, in the family home, unnoticed!

I’m putting down some thoughts related to all of this and hope to speak to Raphael Rowe himself, to see if there have been any developments as a result of that programme!

But you have to wonder how much of this has anything to do with games at all… isn’t it likely that I could go out and make a documentary on ‘alcohol’ and find similar cases; or ‘football‘, or even ‘Star Wars‘…

Fun Inc.

20 Feb

Fun Inc is a book that was recommended to me by Gill Wildman (of ‘Plot’) through the Master blog when I posted my original project proposal (see ‘What’s The Story?’ section).

I must admit to not finding it out immediately but the recommendation was supported about a month later through a @brainpicker (#ff) twitter post.. so I ordered on the spot and wasn’t disappointed.

As well as being an invaluable source for my project I have also chosen to review it for this semester’s Design Writing module. So, for now I’ll say that I’m enjoying it and that a full review will follow in due course.

A happy coincidence… if I can call it that, I suppose it was inevitable… through the course of researching his book Chatfield made contact with my key expert, Derek Robertson.

Derek works for Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS) in the position of ‘National Advisor for Emerging Technologies in Learning in Scotland’.. the title, he dryly remarks, won’t fit on his business card!

I was fortunate enough to meet up with Derek in December and learn more about his determination to demonstrate the value of learning through contexts most of us view as entertainment.

Derek Robertson (left) 'GBL Hero'

In Fun Inc, Chatfield states, ‘It’s largely thanks to him that Scotland now leads the world in the emerging field of what Robertson calls “games-based learning (GBL)”.’

I met up with Derek again on Thursday and amongst other things we discussed a couple of exiting developments… In March’s of this year a GBL conference is to take place in Dundee, co-hosted by Dundee College and Abertay University; and also within the 2 weeks, the first ‘International Journal of Games Based Learning’ was published. More on both in a future post.

It seems to be the perfect time to be working and researching in the area of GBL and I’m convinced that there are opportunities to do something that could have a genuine impact and be of value to the subject.

Impact, value ‘and’ Fun..? …just doesn’t seem right..!

You can listen to both Derek Robertson and Tom CHatfield talking about GBL here: