Sid Meier interview: ‘Learning is part of any good video game’

Sid MeirThe Civilization creator talks about galactic exploration, childhood inspirations, why he’s happy to avoid freemium – and dinosaurs

Posted from The Guardian by Stuart Dredge 27 February, 2015

“Oh, it was a sad and dark time! We had to make our own fun,” says Sid Meier before his mock-sorrow dissolves into laughter. We’ve just asked him about the games he grew up with.

Given that Meier was born in 1954, those games weren’t played on a screen, yet they nevertheless had a strong influence on the video games he went on to create as an adult, from the seafaring adventure Pirates! to his seminal strategy series Civilization, and the upcoming title Starships.

“I grew up with some board games, and there were also a few war games, then the hex games that I got into a little later,” he says. “Instead of Lego or soldiers on the screen I had real Lego and real toy soldiers.”

“We maybe used our imaginations a little bit more in those days than we have to today. Reading was my growing-up equivalent to playing video games. If there was something I was interested in – pirates, the civil war, airplanes – I would go libraries and get books on it.

READ FULL POST from The Guardian HERE

 

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Lessons from Teaching with Games

CluePicReposted from:  Chronicle of Higher Education:  February 19  by

The latest issue of Syllabus, an open access journal that explores the syllabus as a piece of scholarship that should be annotated and shared with the educational community, is entirely dedicated to Teaching with and about Games. As an advocate of games in the classroom, I was very excited when I first saw the call for this issue from editors Jennifer deWinter and Carly A. Kocurek, and I’ve just finished reading through it. There are a number of ideas from the collection (which is practically a book in itself) with possibilities for a variety of disciplines. Here are a few of the takeaways that might inspire you with a new way to bring games into the classroom:
  • Games offer space to explore historical action. Stephen Ortega suggests bringing games into the history classroom as a way to look not only at the representation of history but also at the impact of action: as Ortega explains,  ”games give the player the opportunity to explore historical possibilities and to consider the issue of historical contingency.” It’s easy to dismiss games as flawed, oversimplified representations of history, and of course most games give players agency that makes it impossible to present history as a fixed narrative. In Ortega’s syllabus, however, that very lack of nuanced representation becomes a strength of using games to inspire discussion and research.
  • Writing about games can be an exercise in communication. Stephanie Vie explores the possibilities of video game walkthroughs, an overlooked genre that gamers consult for solutions to difficult puzzles or boss fights. Such walkthroughs demand the writer to be attentive to the needs of their audience and focus on clarity of communicating, as Vie notes: “It can excite students about the fundamentals of professional and technical communication while also introducing students to the rhetorical notion of revision for a particular audience.” This type of project is particularly great as students can see the results of their communication when someone tries to follow their walkthrough in play.
  • Making games can bring students into storytelling. Dean O’Donnell and Jennifer deWinter share an assignment for building alternate reality games, a form of storytelling driven game that unfolds in the real world as I’ve discussed previously. O’Donnell and deWinter discuss making ARGs with students in creative writing and game development courses. I particularly like their achievement-based rubric, which includes social media oriented tasks like using Twitter or Tumblr along with technical challenges like creating an iPhone or Android app to act as part of the game. As O’Donnell and deWinter describe, “ARGs are an excellent way to teach students how to make a story-based game without the substantial time and resource investment required to create simulated environments populated by computerized people and objects.”

    These are just a few of the ideas shared in the Teaching with and about Games issue, and as bringing games into the classroom is becoming even more popular there are lots more materials out there for inspiration.

New Games & Learning Site

gamesandlearning_logoReposted from gamesandlearning.org

About Games & Learning.org

Gamesandlearning.org is a news and information service aimed at increasing the amount of information available for those interested in developing and funding new educational games for children and young adults. The site is operated by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and is a project of the Games and Learning Publishing Council. The Council and the Site are made possible by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The gaming industry has grown to be a behemoth $65 billion-a-year industry, with products ranging from arcade-style shooter games to increasingly complex tools for learning and education. Although games have for decades made their way into classrooms and informal learning outlets, there are few major sources to inform the development and funding of games with overt or subtle educational components. Gamesandlearning.org provides an unbiased source for research to help those producers and funders who want their games to “do good” and to assess what has and has not worked.

To serve game developers and foundations, venture capitalists, government agencies and others who support the development of new games, we will produce a variety of content including:

  • Market snapshots. These brief reports will help to explain the potential markets for new games, including size, challenges and opportunities.
  • Translation of Research. These reports will offer possible takeaways that are often hidden in academic journals and highlight the best new research.
  • Explainers. These reports will explain some of the more arcane and jargon-filled aspects of the educational games market, introducing and analyzing key trends.
  • Commentaries. Track the thinking of some of the leaders in the industry through timely and engaging op-eds and audio interviews.
  • Future Features? Well, that is partly up to you. If you have news and information needs about this sector, please don’t hesitate to contact us with suggestions, critiques or rants.

Revolutionary Learning

revereI recently came across this blog from Excelsior College called Revolutionary Learning.  The blog is part of Excelsior’s site Center for Game and Simulation-based Learning.   The Center’s goal ass stated is to “provide a transformative model for learner success through the expanding field of educational games and simulations including curriculum and learner support innovation.”  Among the many objectives of the center is to “integrate educational games and simulations across the curriculum at all levels of education in order to foster a transformative learning environment.”

Though the blog you are now reading (Gaming for Learning in Libraries) is produced through the lens of using libraries as a place to facilitate game based learning (GBL), the Center at Excelsior exemplifies attempts wider attempts in higher education to bring this “revolutionary learning” to pass.

David Seelow, PhD is the founding director of the Center and the creator of the new Revolutionary Learning blog.  I quote him from the first post in January of this new blog describing the Center’s goal to “explore new pathways to improve learning at all age levels, from early childhood to adult. ”

“This new blog represents one of the Center’s many proposed paths to achieve this goal. Our hope is to become a go-to platform for thought leadership; a stage for guest contributors to offer their industry expertise to like-minded reformers. The more perspectives this blog can infuse into a national conversation on innovative pedagogy, the better for everyone concerned with improving American education.”

 Jared Seay

Seelow invites any and all to contribute ideas, thoughts, and posts to his blog.

Revolutionary Learning: www.gameandsimulationbasedlearning.org/blog/