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Jonas K
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Jonas K

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Based on the trailer, The Fellows Hip: Rise of the Gamers looks like it will be fun. I hope it actually gets released.
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Jonas K

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Only 10% of players finish the games they play: http://www.cnn.com/2011/TECH/gaming.gadgets/08/17/finishing.videogames.snow/ So, if we turn work tasks into games, that would mean only 10% of them would get done?

The article actually is saying that people only have time to play in 10-15 minute bursts. I wonder how that compares with work - what is the average time you can spend uninterrupted on a task before having to switch contexts?
Once considered a cult pastime, video games have grown immensely in the last 30 years to become a mainstream fixture alongside movies and music.
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Laurence Cook's profile photoTanek Aron's profile photoBobby StJacques's profile photo
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+Tanek . I highly recommend the Portal 2 co-op if/when you get a chance. Most fun I've had playing a game in a while (and by "fun" I refer not only to the challenging/satisfying puzzles, but the number of laugh-out-loud moments with my buddy when we spectacularly failed to solve a puzzle, and the number of "aha!" moments that made us feel like we'd really accomplished something special).
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Jonas K

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Gamification is a concept
by which we measure our pain.

My iPod decided to play me Lennon's song God this afternoon, and the above twist of the lyrics came into my head. I think that the different approaches to gamification, and arguments pro and con maybe say more about what motivates those promoting those approaches, and the values of those making the arguments.

Lennon was singing about disillusionment, which is where I think the field may be heading, if practitioners don't try to look for higher level principles. As the song continues:

I don't believe in Elvis
I don't believe in Zichermann
I don't believe in Beatles.
I just believe in me
Yoko and me
and that's reality.
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Jonas K

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Here's a more in-depth review of the Sweatshop game I mentioned a while ago: http://www.pbs.org/idealab/2011/07/the-frightening-real-world-strength-of-channel-4s-sweatshop-game207.html
The review points out the subversive nature of the game: In order to get gold stars at each level, you have to adopt unsafe practices and exploit child labor. The reviewer thinks players will resent being forced into this position, but is not clear on what the ultimate impact on the player will be. Ideally, I suppose, the resentment towards the game for forcing you to be "evil", would translate into an understanding that the it is Western consumerism that is the driving force behind the rise of sweatshops.
I think it is equally likely that a player will simply see this as yet another game environment (and the unchallenged racist and misogynist humor in the game helps in setting up a world where actions have no consequence on real people), and will experiment with both being as evil and as good as possible. After all, finding different strategies to win is a major part of what makes games fun.
Another flaw mentioned is that it is quite possible to do reasonably well just by providing some basic amenities like a radio and bathroom. It's therefore quite easy to leave the game with presumably unintended impression that sweatshops are not such bad places after all, "Hey, as long as there's a radio in the factory, the worker's are happy, even the kids!"
DocumentCloud Weathers Obama Birth Certificate, Palin Emails, Merger with IRE. View. comments. Prototypes, Visualizations Take Shape in Knight-Mozilla Learning Lab. View. comments. VIDEOS: Should the ...
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Bobby StJacques's profile photo
 
It does seem unfortunate that some of the stronger messages that the game tries to espouse are hidden behind trying to get gold medals on every level. Seems a better design might have made those things more clear without needing to replay each level to get the badges...
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Jonas K

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I really like this image placing the word cloud around the speaker http://www.aftenposten.no/nyheter/iriks/article4185013.ece
Retorikkekspert Kjell Terje Ringdal mener Stoltenbergs tale på Rådhusplassen mandag kveld vil gå inn i historien.
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that does look really cool. wish I could read Norwegian
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Jonas K

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Who is harmed by a “real names” policy? 2011 July 19. tags: pseudonymity, wiki. by Skud. There's been a lot of talk lately about pseudonymity and about online services that disallow it, instead re...
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Marv Martin (SignpostMarv)'s profile photoJonas K's profile photoBob Martin's profile photoShannon Burns's profile photo
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I put in my 2 cents on the issue via the Google+ feedback option - for what it's worth. I think that there are plenty of people who legitimately have to go by pseudonyms, and I don't see why G+ should try to stop that. If they are trying to keep the baddies out, let's be honest, that won't work. Much like locks on a door, that only keeps honest people honest. People with malicious intentions care not for anyone's rules.
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Jonas K

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Today someone at work suggested that employees should develop their spirituality for increased happiness and health. So, I'll just be replaying this a couple of times a day: The Story of Us: Symphony of Science - "Children of Africa"
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Jonas K

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I'm amazed. Even in a stupid simple little game like this one, the designer could think of nothing better than to introduce a female character with no personality, just to have her murdered. And the gamers love it, and sympathize with the murderer.
This is a story about a hermit. It features art by Luka Marcetic (c404.net) and music by David Carney (dvgmusic.com).
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Bobby StJacques's profile photo
 
The game is also a ripoff of the much better P.B. Winterbottom (http://www.winterbottomgame.com/). As far as I know, only pies were harmed in the making of that game...
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Jonas K

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An article discussing the benefits of kids learning to play video games: http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2011/08/the-literacy-of-gaming-what-kids-learn-from-playing215.html

The author writes:
Yet gamers aren't angst-ridden about making wrong decisions because games encourage a growth mindset.

Does "a growth mindset" mean throwing the Nintendo DS across the room after failing the same Frogger level 5 times in a row (in the same exact location)?
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Jonas K's profile photoKaren Braun's profile photoBobby StJacques's profile photoMark Burhop's profile photo
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Yes.
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Jonas K

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An Australian "analyst" opines that in game development, you need a 3-6 month "crunch" time of massive (unpaid) overtime at the end of the development cycle: http://www.develop-online.net/news/38317/Unpaid-crunch-deserves-no-sympathy-Pachter

Charles Randall, a real games SW developer points out that if you can plan for curnch time, you could just as easily plan to avoid it: http://www.next-gen.biz/opinion/opinion-crunch-avoidable

The horror stories you hear from the game industry give the impression that they are way behind the curve in adopting modern software development practices that help you avoid long periods of massive overtime. I assume that it's a cultural thing, since the software developers appear to be at the bottom of the food chain in game production, from what I can see.

People like the analyst in the first article make me want to try and join a unionized game dev studio, fully committed to Agile SW practices. I'd think they'd easily beat companies that rely on exploiting their workers to deliver games.
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Jonas K's profile photoBobby StJacques's profile photo
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And 6 months of crunch time = unplanned fun!
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Jonas K

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Good interview with +Sebastian Deterding at http://elearnmag.acm.org/archive.cfm?aid=2008214# "Play is by definition voluntary, and that is something people often overlook, especially in the workspace environment." This touches on a fundamental issue in trying to 'gamify' different aspects of work. No matter how you dress up the task, if employees feel like it is something they have to do, there will never be a sense of play and fun about it.
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Bengt O. Karlsson's profile photo
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Nu finns artikeln igen. Jag fäster mig bl.a. vid följande: In video games you get the sense of competence, of, "Oh, I'm actually able to achieve change in the world, to control my environment, and to get better at that."
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Jonas K

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Sweatshop (http://www.playsweatshop.com) is a game commissioned by Channel 4 Education (http://c4education.wordpress.com/2011/06/28/hot-sweat/) intended to educate players about the conditions in offshore clothing factories.
As the factory manager, you hire workers and control various working conditions, while trying to meet production targets and make profits.
While the game is well-designed and produced, I found the tone of the game somewhat contradicting the goals. After each level, there is some text describing some problems in sweatshop (which is easily skippable), yet the abuse and sexual harassment of the factory owner is played for laughs. There are options to share your accomplishments on Twitter and Facebook, so you can celebrate your proficiency in taking advantage of workers to maximize profits.
I'm probably overreacting, but making jokes out of the injuries, deaths, and horrible working conditions of workers, seems like more exploitation. The game's designer says, "my goal was just to make a really fun little management game where you could set fire to everything!" (http://www.fritzu.com/post/7796316661/sweatshop).
Of course, given that I happily use products like the iPhone, which are produced under horrible conditions, I should probably accept that I'm evil anyway, and just play the game and enjoy it.
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You're not evil! LOL
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  • Overview Project
    Lead Developer, 2012 - present
  • Xerox
    Senior Researcher, 2012
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