Monday, October 30, 2006

Presented at Serious Games Summit in DC

Presented an early version of the game at the Serious Games Summit in Washington DC. Slides here. Lots of people attended the talk which was nice. I met and had lunch with Prof. James Gee from University of Wisconsin-Madison afterwards. He was walking around with my friend Eric Zimmerman. This was great because I am a fan of Gee's work - especially "What Videogames Have to Teach Us About Literacy and Learning". I didn't realize that he had a position at USC before Wisconsin. Too bad he's not still at USC. I was quoted in this article in USA Today afterwards which was nice.

Thursday, September 7, 2006

Presented at the Annenberg Speakers Series

Doug Thomas and I gave a lecture at the Annenberg Center about the game. I was pleased to be invited to this because they present real thought leaders at the series and the audience is usually professors and researchers and they tend to engage the speakers. Good stuff. Video of the 45 minute presentation is posted on this page (scroll down).

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Mentioned in NY Times...

Even though the game is only early development we were mentioned in a NY Times article called "Saving the World One Videogame at a Time". This project really sparks people's interest - probably more than any project I've ever done. Another good sign...

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Early Prototype

Here is a photo of the first prototype for the game. The board is a fictitious US state. Each square on the board is a census block with a population number, % democrat, and % republican. The different colored stickers represent different congressional districts. So there are five districts in this state. The game moves forward by changing colors on the census blocks (just like in real redistricting). Each time you change a color you change the demographic numbers for the districts affected. Game state numbers are being tracked by Greg, the grad student, using an Excel spreadsheet on the laptop in the background.

The first time we played this game the team got into an intense debate. People started arguing about the meaning of representative democracy. People were googling the Constitution. One of the designers sighed that "maybe my old boyfriend was right, your vote really doesn't matter", etc. After two hours of playing and debating I said "Guys lets stop playing and get back to work." But they wouldn't stop playing. In the rare times when I see a prototype that playtesters are so engaged in that they refuse to stop playing I know we are onto something special.