It was interesting listening to the podcast after having played the Sploder games. As mentioned in an earlier post, I am not much of a gamer, although I do realize the benefits that gaming brings to a classroom of lifetime gamers. I found that the comments regarding boredom, lack of instruction (and consequent confusion) and being too hard quite pertinent to my experience. I expect that with many ability levels in a classroom, that designing games must be a very careful process. One thing that I do find in the classroom, is that students are very willing to help guide other students through the game, so things do tend to level out somewhat.
quite pertinent to my experience. I expect that with many ability levels in a classroom, that designing games must be a very careful process. One thing that I do find in the classroom, is that students are very willing to help guide other students through the game, so things do tend to level out somewhat.
I find this quite relevant to our experience in most new game types as well. I'm glad you were able to connect with Koster and Puentadura's thought.
Scaffold, scaffold, scaffold! As I mentioned in our live meeting, I need fairly easy first levels that give me some skill training for subsequent more difficult levels but do not overwhelm me. Immediate rewards is also key to my happiness in the game. I really think this is a factor in how Candy Crush has become so viral. The first levels can be done in your sleep and they throw in incremental challenges along the way to keep you challenged. If I had to do a level 20 times initially, I would have quit long ago. They cleverly give you an easy level after a monumentally difficult one:) You also get that immediate gratification of stars (up to three but I actually don't care about getting three if I progress to the next level). You see your character move on the game board, and you hear encouraging dings, whistles and chimes. The music background does not entice me though, and I turn the volume way down. All in all, they have the key factors in good game design. The brilliance on their part is the simplicity of the game. Who would have though it?!
I am so glad to be listening to and reading Puentedura's ideas. I had run across the SAMR model this year when searching for matrices for technology assessment, but had not looked into his game ideas.
His points of view made me feel much better after having such a dismal time with most of the Sploder games. The Arcade and the 3D games were much better for the reasons I listed in my blog. However, the experience of playing the other games left me feeling depressed and defeated (not unlike the experience of many kids in the classroom with curriculum or teaching methods that are unclear, too difficult, or extremely narrow in their approach).
Since I have not played games on Sploder, I had fun testing out some new games. As someone who likes to explore games rather than master them, I was surprised that the Sploder physics game allowed me to try out different methods and explore the very small environment in a way I had not done before. Additionally, I thought Dr. Puentedura's point about all games being social was excellent. I have taken that aspect for granted, but there really are many opportunities to engage with the wider gaming community whether in game, in person or through forums. I think that social aspect has a lot of use in an education setting.
I did enjoy listening to the podcast by Dr. Ruben Puentedura. I think after listening/reading his ideas (and those of Raph Koster), I should be able to go back to Sploder and redesign my game. I also looked at his other podcast on "What is a game?" and found this very useful as well. He talked about where games can lie on three scales (or spectrums, I suppose):
More Narrative <----> Less Narrative
Goal-Driven <----> Arbitrary
It's a great way for classifying games. I found this very interesting.
I like what Dr Puentadura is saying. He outlines the features of good games very well with some great examples. I certainly see that I was missing a few elements of good games in the creation of my sploder game! I liked the chart that Dr Puentadura used (based on Raph Koster’s work) to highlight features of bad and good game design. I was also glad to see him connect various elements of the content to the potential for games in education.
I like games that have purpose, but I also have found, playing these games, that I like a strong on boarding experience. Graphics are important, but game play, itself, is most important. I like games with a mission (save the Princess, Capture the Pirates, etc.).
I think that the qualities that I enjoyed in these games were the qualities that I enjoy in any game that I play: customization, alternatives, and intuitive game play. I value the ability to progress and customize my experience in games. This is likely colored by just north or two decades of playing RPG-style games. If I cannot customize the experience and progress in a meaningful way, then I'm not likely having any fun. Similarly, I like to use alternative means to achieve goals; why bash your way through a dungeon when you can sneak or use diplomacy? Finally, I like a game that feel intuitive to me. This last category is way more subjective, since every player has a preference (inverted camera or no?), but it is still a deal-breaker, in my opinion.