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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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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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Only 10% of players finish the games they play: 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?

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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.

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Danah Boyd on _"Real Name" Policies are an Abuse of Power"
It's weird how Google is getting this so wrong. It will be interesting to see if they'll just be able to wait long enough for the protests to die down, or whether they'll make any substantive policy changes.

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An article discussing the benefits of kids learning to play video games:

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)?

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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Here's a more in-depth review of the Sweatshop game I mentioned a while ago:
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!"

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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:

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:

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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I really like this image placing the word cloud around the speaker
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