Author Archive

December 14, 2012

Gaming for understanding

Gaming for understanding

This TED talk is about broaching and sensitizing towards difficult subjects through games. The speaker talks about a game she developed to explain slavery to her 7 year old daughter whose father is African-American.


December 3, 2012

Play Video Games And Become An Awesome Surgeon

A study conducted by the University of Texas Medical Branch shows that wielding a controller could make you more proficient at holding a scalpel and saving lives. Simulation games for flight control which are also mission critical scenarios have been around for a long time. If this type of virtual training proves beneficial it can be a great opportunity for upcoming surgeons to hone their skills.

December 3, 2012

Game to increase your life by 7 minutes

This inspirational TED talk brings gamification to living a longer, happier life.

December 3, 2012

Are games better than life?

Can a video game make you cry? This is one of the subjects that game developers dwell upon at conferences. With the exponential improvements in audio in graphics of video games in a short span of time, the lines between real life and video games is becoming blurred for many. Games like ‘World of Warcraft’ and ‘Farmville’ are a testament to this with people spending real money to buy fake land.
“Play enough video games and eventually you will really believe you can fly a plane, snowboard, drive a nine-second quarter mile, or kill a man”.

This talk by David Perry takes us into the lives and minds of video game driven lives for whom the virtual world is perhaps more real than the one that surrounds them.

“When I’m driving down the road at sunset all I can think is -this is almost as beautiful as my games are.”

“But maybe brainwashing isn’t always bad. Imagine a game that teaches us to respect each other or helps us to understand the problems we are all facing.”


November 25, 2012

Video Game Therapy for Amblyopia

Amblyopia is a brain disorder in which the vision in one eye does not develop properly and is the most frequent cause of permanent visual impairment in childhood. It is treated in children by putting a patch over the ‘good eye’ and thus forcing the lazy eye to develop. However, this therapy is not useful for adults.

Findings of this study at University of California, Berkeley suggest that playing video games led to a marked improvement in a wide range of age groups. The changes were apparent in half as much time as occlusion therapy (eye patch).

This form of therapy, apart from helping adults, would be a happy alternative for children also as wearing eye patches can be socially awkward for many.

November 25, 2012

The Night Journey

In a market of video games dominated by violence it was very interesting to come across a game that aims to help one in the journey of spiritual  enlightenment.

‘The Night Journey’ is a game being developed at the USC Game Innovation lab. It focuses on providing visuals and paths in the game that encourage reflection and spirituality. It takes inspiration from various religions and and philosophies. “The player’s voyage through The Night Journey takes them through a poetic landscape, a space that has more reflective and spiritual qualities than geographical ones. The core mechanic in the game is the act of traveling and reflecting rather than reaching certain destinations – the trip along a path of enlightenment. The interactive design attempts to evoke in the player’s mind a sense of the archetypal journey of enlightenment through the “mechanics” of the game experience – i.e. the choices and actions of the player during the game.”

Although the game is still in development and not available to try, its definitely something I would keep my eye out for.


October 15, 2012

Product box

Product box is an innovation game used by business analysts to understand from their customers what they want to see in the product. The basic idea is that the customer designs how the box of the product should look. Similar to a cereal box, it should desribe the most important features and benefits of the product. Many games similar to this are used in the Agile world for various tasks such as retrospectives. This informal and fun way to gather requirements is a great way to get customers to express themselves. It also gives corporate managers a chance to play with sketch pens and coloring pencils 🙂

October 15, 2012

World Peace Game

I found this very interesting talk about a game that pretty much simulates the real world in terms of politics and economy and yet is understood and played by primary school children. Through the process of playing this game kids come up with innovative solutions to solving problems such as war, global warming and poverty.

October 14, 2012

Using Gamification to encourage healthy lifestyle

I came across a very interesting application of gamification over the summer. At the company I was interning “Next Jump”, they had their own gym and wanted to ensure that it was used regularly by the employees. To do this they used the technique of gamification. They divided all the employees into teams. Each team was responsible for making sure that their team mates worked out atleast twice a week. The team which had the most percentage of “check ins” at the Gym was awarded with reward point which could be used to buy actual goods at the company’s retail website. I found the idea quite interesting and it seemed to be quite effective. I did however wonder if it would have been just as effective if the monetary gain factor was taken out of the equation and the only thing to be won was bragging rights.

October 14, 2012

Disturbing Origin Stories of Board Games

I recently read an article about the origins of some board games which are quite interesting.

While the version of the “Game of Life”  popular today ends in a country cottage or millionaire’s mansion, the earlier version had squares including “Disgrace,” “Poverty,” “Ruin,”  “Crime,” “Prison,” and even “Suicide”.

Monopoly was derived from a game called “The Landlord’s Game” which included a second round designed to teach how unfair monopolies can be. When they release Monopoly, The Parker Brothers deliberately left out the second round to make the game a darker version of the original.