After spending another great evening in Uxbridge last night, and an on campus nightcap with a few friends, I woke up a bit late (seemed to have missed my alarm!), but still managed to make it to the morning’s panels on time.
This morning’s first panel – Wii play: gestures, bodies and technologies – the presentations (by Bart Simon, Rune Klevjer & Patrick Crogan) were all quite theoretical, connecting ideas about the ways in which the Wii and its controls are pushing the boundaries between the player, movement and gameplay.
The second panel I attended was on games and education – the first speaker, Kenneth Hullett presented Better Game Studies Education the Carcasonne Way which focused on using board games to teach game mechanics in design class in response to the fact that many students who enter game design have great ideas, but lack the understanding of the mechanics. The presentation was mostly a relay of results between those who participated in playing the boardgames and those who did not to measure the level of understanding of game mechanics.
The second speaker, Suzanne de Castell, presented a paper titled As If or Just Like: From Simulation to Imitation in Educational Games. The presentation was relatively conceptual, but raised a very interesting point about videogames that claim to be simulation but are controlled with a traditional handheld controller. There is a disconnect between the actions on the screen and the physical actions required to make the actions occur. Whereas more ’embodied’ games such as Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero have more (intrinsic) connection between the actions that occur on the screen and what actions are required by player to make it happen. This differentiation is important when considering educational games.
The third paper The Gigue is Up: High Culture Gets Game, presented by Jen Jenson, focused on a game project they had done for the Toronto Baroque Orchestra Tafelmusik. The presentation focused on the challenges they faced making an accessible ‘edutainment’ game to introduce Baroque music to a new generation.