What are games really teaching us?

Last night I was in London at the Dana Centre for a session on What do games really teach us. It was mainly a panel session with
John Kirriemuir from Silversprite (a fellow metaverse evangelist)
Pat Kane, author, The Play Ethic (and singer with Hue and Cry)
Sophie Blakemore, video game designer (and TV presenter)
It was facilitated by Gareth Mitchell, Presenter, Digital Planet, BBC World Service.
The event was Nintendo sponsored so there were lots of booths with Wii’s and various games for people to experience. Also curated and put together as part of a series by the good Dr Aleks whose TV show Virtual Revolution got a good few mentions in intros 🙂
The first part of the evening was to go and play some games. This was interesting, but as I am a gamer and have played most of them already I left the many people who did not seem quite so game aware to get on with it. Though I did get thoroughly beaten up on boxing, I guess my heart was not in it 🙂
Gareth was very keen to promote the use of twitter, and the #danacentre hashtag. I ended up overhearing a couple of guys saying whats a hashtag, so I helped them out with some free social media consulting 🙂 The hashtag was up on a rolling display on the main screen. So as often happens at these events it becomes hard not to grab a little screen time with the odd tweet hear and there.
Gareth (@GarethM) was keen we sent questions to him and also jokingly said we could heckle him as he had never been heckled before on twitter.
I was sat with my good friends Giannina and Ren and it turned out we were kind of the SL mafia in the room.
We were also tweeting a lot and responding to the request to heckle! I think most of our direct tweets got read out though Gary seemed reticent to say “epredator” but did say other peoples handles. However, its all good.
The panel did a great job of informing the audience of some concepts and anecdotes around what games are and where they stand. This was of course to a mixed audience, professionals and gamers such as us in the SL mafia and some people to whom everything was a surprise I should imagine.
In discussion around task based games and completing and winning missions and the formulaic nature of many games Pat was very vocal and passionate about needing to push the art form forward. An Avant Garde set of games not designed to be popular and commercial for the sake of it. It is in these we will see richer ways to reflect and rehearse. Clearly this relates to the play ethic and his concern as to how those boundaries of ethical decisions are being created for us to rehearse.
Sophie mentioned America’s Army and how whichever “side” you are on the enemy look like the apparent enemy of America. Which forces people to take on a certain perspective.
John covered a lot about how virtual worlds and free expressive sandpits are a huge area for education. The ability to try things out not just in a packaged game but as experiences extends how we can learn from games.
Somewhere along the line Eve-Online got a mention, primarily for their economy and then with the audience joining in saying how they have real pyramid schemes in there by some nefarious players. We nearly got all Daily Mail. Ren was busy laughing at some of it, heard it too many times before and he decided to reveal his true identity by ripping open his shirt as I tweeted anyone need to know about Eve talk to RenZephyr.
Super Eve
As much of this is my chosen field, and also one I frequent as a pastime this was more like watching a popular film but sat with some friends. Still a good event and I would interested to hear what the others less tied into this world thought.

One thought on “What are games really teaching us?

  1. Pingback: Silversprite » Blog Archive » What Are Games Really Teaching Us?

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