G4LI’s Jan Plass and Bruce Homer Google TechTalk

Games for Learning Institute Co-Director Jan Plass and Co-PI Bruce Homer presented a TechTalk on the research and design of learning games at Google recently. I recommend starting about 24 minutes in! [my notes are below] Four main functions of learning games – prepare for future learning – for specific learning goals (content & skills) … Continue reading

Introducing Battleship Numberline!

Over the fall of 2010, my friend and colleague Derek Lomas, a doctoral student at Carnegie Mellon University, decided to create a number line game to help young kids develop better numerical estimation skills (an important component of number sense). He shared an early prototype, inviting me to join in the fun. Lo and behold, … Continue reading

A Pac-Man theory of motivation (Bowman, 1982)

Bowman, R. F. (1982). A Pac-Man theory of motivation. Tactical implications for classroom instruction. Educational Technology, 22(9), 14–17. In this article, Bowman discusses the intrinsic, extrinsic and “means-ends” motivational supports of video games and arcades, using Pac-Man as an example. Interviews with “arcadians” formed the basis of many of Bowman’s conclusions.

Using heuristics to evaluate the playability of games (Desurvire, Caplan, & Toth, 2004)

Desurvire, H., Caplan, M., & Toth, J.A. (2004). Using heuristics to evaluate the playability of games. In Extended Abstracts of the 2004 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM Press, New York, 1509-1512. The authors present a set of design heuristics specific to the evaluation of videogames. The usefulness of these heuristics was examined by comparing … Continue reading

Game Usability: Advice from the Experts for Advancing the Player Experience (Ch. 9)

Swain, C. (2008). Master Metrics: The Science Behind the Art of Game Design. In K. Isbister and N. Schaffer (Eds.), Game Usability: Advice from the Experts for Advancing the Player Experience (pp. 119-140). New York: Morgan Kaufmann. Swain describes eight metric-based game design techniques currently in popular use, based on interviews with leading game designers. Overall, … Continue reading

Game Usability: Advice from the Experts for Advancing the Player Experience (Ch. 7)

Laitinen, S. (2008). Usability and Playability Expert Evaluation. In K. Isbister and N. Schaffer (Eds.), Game Usability: Advice from the Experts for Advancing the Player Experience (pp. 91-111). New York: Morgan Kaufmann.

Game Usability: Advice from the Experts for Advancing the Player Experience (Ch. 6)

Shaffer, N. (2008). Heuristic Evaluation of Games. In K. Isbister and N. Schaffer (Eds.), Game Usability: Advice from the Experts for Advancing the Player Experience (pp. 79-90). New York: Morgan Kaufmann. “Discount methods” of usability testing are used to find usability problems quickly and cheaply. Shaffer discusses one such method, called heuristic evaluation, which use heuristics, … Continue reading

The individual and the group in console gaming (Voida et al., 2010)

Voida, A., Carpendale, S., & Greenberg, S. (2010). The individual and the group in console gaming. In Proceedings of the 2010 ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative work – CSCW ’10 (p. 371). Presented at the the 2010 ACM conference, Savannah, Georgia, USA. doi:10.1145/1718918.1718983 The authors conducted observations of group console play and analyzed play … Continue reading

Game Usability: Advice from the Experts for Advancing the Player Experience (Ch 1, 2)

Isbister, K., & Schaffer, N. (2008). Introduction. In K. Isbister and N. Schaffer (Eds.), Game Usability: Advice from the Experts for Advancing the Player Experience (pp. 7-27). New York: Morgan Kaufmann. Norgaard, M., & Sorensen, J.R. (2008). Organizational Challenges for User Research in the Videogame Industry: Overview and Advice. In K. Isbister and N. Schaffer (Eds.), … Continue reading

A window to digital games interactions in informal settings (Gazit, 2006)

Gazit, E. (2006). A window to digital games interactions in informal settings. Current Developments in Technology-Assisted Education, 1609–1614. This paper reports on preliminary findings from the DiGames Research Project, which seeks to investigate children’s (8-12 years old) interactions during digital game play in informal home settings.