Here’s an interesting article over at It mentions serious games, and gives some interesting attention to McGonigal’s Reality is Broken. Definitely worth peeking at. (Read More)

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I’ve got to say, the above contention is something I’ve suspected every time I look at my Facebook ads. How can I be interested in gay singles and “be ready for” the next black female single at the same time? Seriously, we’re at war, Facebook Ads. Pick a side. (Read More)

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I just wanted to let everyone know, there will be a second Games Night in the UNC SILS Library this coming Friday (2/4) from 2pm to 6pm. Everyone is welcome to bring card or board games and come and hang out with their fellow library geeks.

Hope to see you there!

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The semester’s almost over, and I think it’s been a good one for Games 4 Learning. We’ve been forging new connections– World View, Michael Angst– and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting members of our community as well. I like to think we’ve also raised our profile in SILS just a little bit. I, for one, was genuinely excited to find out that I didn’t know any of the folks at Games Night. It meant that this wasn’t a case of me talking to the same crowd, hanging out with the same people. New people to learn from, to get to know, to talk to. They were all SILSsters, too, which was exciting.

For me, the big events of this semester were the World View Symposium at the Friday Center, the coffee with Michael Angst, and of course the Games Night at the SILS Library. A lot of people lent me their advice and support, and I owe all of them a big thank you.  Doing my part in these events, I think I learned several things that can be applied to games, and more broadly to anything worth doing.

  • Initiative counts. I didn’t feel like I had any automatic right to be in charge of a Games Night, or to contact someone like Michael Angst, or do give a lecture to North Carolina’s educators. Even though games are something I know a lot about and am passionate about… well, even though I know this isn’t true, this doesn’t feel unusual to me. Lots of other people could do these jobs, and probably better than me. The thing is… if no one does the work, then it doesn’t matter if someone else could have done it better. There’s always more to be done, but I’m glad I reached out to people with ideas, and I’m exceptionally grateful for the way everyone responded.
  • People like games. There are a few topics that everyone is interested in, on some level. Games are one of them. If I was preaching the benefits of stinging nettles, I’d be in for a hard time. Games are something that people want to talk about though. Don’t be afraid to bring it up.
  • Build it and they’ll come. I don’t think this is as true as we might wish it was, but it’s definitely true that more people will come to an event that does happen than to an event that never happens.
  • Even a small success is a success.
  • Finally, don’t let it end here. There’s always a next step that’s worth completing.

I’ll admit I haven’t really always been sure of what to do with this space. That said, I’ve always been grateful to have it. It’s been a good semester. I don’t think I’ll be retiring from this blog as of now– if they’ll have me, that is. Serious Games– and Games 4 Learning– have a future in this country. I look forward to continuing the discussion, here and elsewhere.

See you in the Spring!

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There will be a SILS Games Night in the SILS Library in Manning Hall next Friday (11/12). The event will be from 3:30pm to 6pm, and will combine a bit of the theory of learning through games with actual games. The emphasis for this one is pure fun! Bring your board games, card games, or rely on the ones I’ve begged and borrowed, and we’ll have ourselves a grand ole time!

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I’ve been wanting to talk about Scott Pilgrim for a while now. The fact that I’m dressing as Scott’s nemesis, Gideon Graves, for All Hallows is probably serving as some kind of inspiration, because yeah, I’m doing this RIGHT NOW!

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So much is going on, I don’t know where to begin. I’ll stick to the facts here, and talk all wacky elsewhere.

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I made a promise involving Scott Pilgrim last night, and I do intend to keep said promise. That said, today I saw something that deserves a link: this article in the New York Times.

It’s a nice and lengthy write-up on using video games in the classroom, and on the innovative “Quest to Learn” program, which is funded by both the MacArthur Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Good signs for the future!

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Hey everybody. So, it’s a new semester, and there’s a new kid in town. Now that things are underway– and now that I’ve resolved my problems with logging into the blog– I figure I should introduce myself and talk a little about the future.

I’m Matt Wood, and I’m in the last semester of my MLS at UNC. I’m also lucky enough to be doing field experience with Games 4 Learning this semester. That’s why I’m writing stuff here now, and why you’re reading it.

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In part 1 of this blog series, I posed the question:  What makes games fun, and can you make a game that’s fun for everyone?

In order to find out, I’ve done some research…  Leading me to a little project called BrainHex.  BrainHex is a free survey that identifies what aspects of games people like, and why.  It also stores all of those results, which is why it’s relevant to this conversation.  According to those statistics, men are most likely (in 28.5% of cases) to enjoy playing games in a competitive manner, whereas women tend (28.1%) to try to like strategizing and solving puzzles in games.  More importantly, they’ve also listed aggregate results for expected results in a population with a 50-50 split between men and women, with some interesting results…  In such a population, interest would be fairly evenly split between the puzzle-solving mindset, an exploration-oriented one, and the competitive one…  Those three categories cover over two-thirds of this hypothetical 50-50 gamer population.  Most classroom populations aren’t gamer-only, but we’ll deal with that in the next part of this series.

So, readers, how about you?  What are your BrainHex classes?  The BrainHex quiz can be found at the following page:

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