Archive for February, 2011|Monthly archive page

Finishing games? Anybody?!

In Becoming ruminative in education on February 28, 2011 at 9:38 PM

                                                                                                With the rather rapid pace of new game releases, a growing number of RPG players, even hardcore RPG fans, have found it difficult to stick to a RPG and play through it from start to finish. A term for the act of not finishing games–“rotten tail”–has emerged among gamers to describe mediocrely produced commercial games not being played through as full-heartedly as they might be intended to be.

         Looking at your gaming history of late, how many games have you started playing and yet weren’t able to finish them due to a variety of reasons but at the core, you felt the game simply wasn’t worth playing anymore. Below is a list of possible way-outs that contributed to the phenomenon of “rotten tail” as excerpted and translated from a Japanese game site message board. Follwoing each pointer I added a footnote related to how that liability may relate to educational game development or game-based learning in general.

 1. Right before the ultimate final boss challenge, you as the player wants to do something else such as conquering all the side quests or collecting rare items. However, once you deviate from the final boss challenge route, you seemed to never want to come back for the challenge long enough that a newly released game eventually caught your sole attention and subsequent play time. (Young learners nowadays are exposed to the technology advancement which brings forth new tech devices that embody affordances and constraints. It requires the learner’s wisdom in choosing what to use for a certain learning purpose, effectively leverage the device to self-regulated learning, and perhaps more importantly persevere on the learning task using the tech device to the point where mastery emerges)

2. A strong yet short-lived interest in playing a certian RPG. If the player doesn’t get to finish the RPG within the certain time frame of zest as see fit by the individual player, the game will sit on the shelf soon before he/she knows it. (Player learners’ attention span for learning or patience for thorough learning may have been curtailed given the fast-food style production of games. How do educaitonal games account for the lack of sustained motivation for engagement?)

3. Old wine in new bottles simply will not cut it for most gamers. There needs to be a revived boost of creativity in RPG themes (players being tired of saving the world in every RPG they come across) and production quality. (New educational games should remember dearly the 1990s failure of edutainment when game developers mistakenly thought producing games for education should be similiar to producing games for commercial purposes. A balance between content, creativity, pedagogy, and fun game play needs to be in place if we are to expect educational games to be successful)

4. Before the official release of the RPG, players tend to be most enthusiastic about the game and will actively seek related information and media. Nonetheless, the once-fervent passion quickly fades after the player really gets to play the game, only to find the game a bust. (Again touching upon the issue of sustained patience for starting and finishing a learning task. The quality of the educational game also warrants attention. Triple A title games are hard to come by and even harder is to come by tripple A title game for learning or education) 

One has got to learn to be clever with making the right choice for purchasing and playing the worthy RPG out there in the sea of games. While there is no compass telling you which game fits your gaming style and preference, you consult pre-existing gaming history and game reviews to base your decision. Finishing games takes perseverance and sustained effort; the same can be said of learning in formal contexts. The former task isn’t always easier than the latter one. If we can design educational games well enough to convince our learners the values and lessons embedded in educaitonal games are worthwhile, then perhaps we won’t see so much of the “rotten tail” effect imposing disservice on our gamer learners. If you resonate with any of the above ideas, feel free to comment!


So that’s how ETS works…occasionally

In Not so random posts on February 28, 2011 at 8:43 PM

Came across an interesting ad by ETS for discounted GRE on a online shopping site. The power of recession has gotten further than we expected and the thread of response was long and not short of hilariousness. Check the screenshot below and you’ll see.

%d bloggers like this: