Tag Archives: gaming

Day 2 at #cil11 (we can make this work, Twitter)

22 Mar

Tuesday isn’t the traditional day of rest, but it’ll do. Any conference day I feel comfortable wearing jeans start to finish is a good one.

The first item on my agenda was Lisa Carlucci Thomas‘ excellent Cybertour session on design tips and grabbing attention in the online environment. In fifteen minutes, she brought together lessons from as disparate sources as Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point and Andy Woodward’s interaction with the Old Spice Guy* and made them relevant to libraries. (Also, double rainbows, which I’d meant to tell her afterward have even shown up in World of Warcraft.) It was a great presentation, and one I’d have loved to see get a full session on one of the main tracks.

The same can, and must, be said for Jennifer Koerber‘s Cybertour session on personas. Jen has a gift for bringing concepts in front of an audience in a way which makes them clear and concrete even to those completely unfamiliar to them. In fifteen minutes she laid out the concept of personas, explained why libraries should look to them as ways to keep the face and reality of their users clear during design processes, and laid out ways to start implementing them. Great stuff.

I also caught Scott Nicholson’s amazing session on gaming and game design as tools for instruction. Far too much information to include here — hell, I even feel odd trying to summarize it — but two of the major things I took away were the existence of the Global Game Jam, which is awesome, and the fact that he has a 22-session course on gaming in libraries up, for free, on YouTube. Check it.

Finally, I caught the tail end of Julian Aiken’s presentation on their implementation of Google’s 80/20 policy at Yale Law Library. His was one of the most highly regarded presentations of the day, with good cause: they’re doing some amazing things there, and I really want to hear more about how this goes for them. (Also, it’s totally his dog.)

Then, it was a fun dinner with friends in Chinatown, and even more Firecon and Lobbycon before bed. As days of rest go, it was damnably busy.


* Will I ever tire of mentioning him in this blog? No.

#cil11 Day 0

20 Mar

Sunrise found me walking the streets of Washington, DC in search of coffee and an oddly specific number of nickels and pennies.

I was walking alone, since a Sunday filled with eight or so hours of workshops is apparently sufficient cause for my wife and I to exchange our positions on early mornings. She’s sleeping soundly as I write this, and I’m only slightly envious.

The aforementioned coinage is necessary for part of my first workshop today. It’ll run from nine to noon, and my second from 1:30 to 4:30. I’m wired as all hell right now, over an hour before the party gets started. I have no idea what condition I’ll be in when it finally winds down.


Many hours later…

My feet are killing me.

Workshops went really well. Scott Nicholson is a damned genius at interactive games and teaching, and I’d have been glad just to watch.  Getting a chance to help him run a workshop was phenomenal. We ran folks through a number of learning games and discussed the principles behind them. I think his simulation section was stronger than my roleplay section, but I felt like I acquitted myself well.

One of the big things I took away from that was “Thiagi’s six-stage* debriefing process,” from Thiagarajan’s Design your Own Games and Activities, a book I need to pick up. I implemented the process in my own post-activity debriefs, both in this workshop and the next, and it worked great.

(While you’re taking my book recommendations: check out Scott’s awesome Everyone Plays at The Library, too. He really captures the wide applicability gaming has in this profession.)

After that, Amy Buckland and I talked shop about repositories with a fine crew of folks for our afternoon workshop. We had a good mix of folks: public librarians, academic librarians, school librarians, vendor reps, folks with repositories, folks planning ’em, and folks just thinking about ’em.

Great discussion resulted, focusing on the obstacles facing repository managers and librarians, and how best to overcome those obstacles. People were willing to bring their own experiences to bear on the discussion, and used that to build a list of stakeholders, what they could bring to a project and how to get them to buy in. Then we let folks do some roleplay of how they’d make the last bit happen; good times were had by all.

After that, it was just getting my butt kicked in that PS3 Move gladiator game, hanging out with some most excellent library folks, and walking with Nina to get burgers from Five Guys.

Oh, and I confess I find The Amazing Race oddly compelling. Not that I’m gonna get cable or anything, but I’m totally rooting for the Globetrotters.


* “How do you feel? What happened? What did you learn? How does it relate to the real world? What if? What next?”

Back in the USSR

24 Oct

OK, not really. I’m back in Monterey, and back in the wonderful world of library conferences, but the crossover portion of that Venn diagram is pretty awesome, and far from a centrally controlled totalitarian regime.

For now.

Flew in to Oakland on Wednesday, spent some time with some college friends, and then Nina and I set out for Yosemite. Which was unbelievably gorgeous, though it did set off of my vertigo on more than one occasion.  After several days, we trekked back out to Monterey, and found the Aquarium there to be as awesome as ever. More so, even, as it now includes several exhibits discussion issues such as climate change and the true cost of the seafood industry, all of which were admirably honest, surprisingly optimistic, and full of instruction on how guests could go home and get involved in making social change. (And more than a few bits that didn’t even require them to go home. Awesome.)

And then it was time for rocking out with my peers. This year saw Beatles RockBand make an appearance, to the joy of all involved. (It may also have something to do with the title of this post, and you don’t know how lucky you are, boy.  Girl. Person.) It’s really fun teaching folks how to play that game, and the fact that damn near everyone knows Beatles songs makes it even more fun. My kind of instruction interview.

I also got to chat for a while with Scott Nicholson, one of my favorite profs from library school and someone who’s doing awesome things with game design as teaching tool. I’ve got to post more about that, but I’m forced to wonder if this is the right blog for it. Thank Thoth-Hermes for cross-posting.

So far IL2010 is a mix of the familiar and the exotic for me. Looking forward to tomorrow.

PMOG: A slick veneer of steampunk gaming for your web browsing

15 May

So, after seeing links to it on Boing Boing, Brass Goggles, and what felt like half-a-dozen other blogs, I decided to set up an account on PMOG, the steampunk-themed Passively Multiplayer Online Game. Described by its creators as “an infinite game built on individual network histories, transforming our web surfing into ongoing social play,” PMOG lets you level up a character by surfing the web: taking missions, avoiding traps, or traveling through portals, all of which were left by other players (and leaving some of your own to boot).

There’s functionality present in the game that I think has some applicability to the sort of online public service I’m interested in as a proto-librarian. Portals are the simplest example: a player can place a portal on any web page that, if used, will bring the user to another web page. Missions, meanwhile, take players from one web page to the next; the mission’s creator can add captions along the way, basically creating a tour of related web-sites.

This sort of interface could be used to provide online tours of a library’s resources, or even as a form of marketing. It took me a minute or two to set up a Portal leading from Wikipedia’s entry on industrial relations to the Catherwood home page.

Of course, right now most of the missions I see involve webcomics. But PMOG is, if nothing else, an amusing distraction, though I think it provides some tools that should be be looked at much more seriously. Until then, I’m going to shoot for membership in the Vigilantes.