Archive for the ‘Game’ category

Fantasy Election ’12

April 26th, 2012

MTV and PolitiFact are teaming up with a game to educate future voters (and maybe currently registered ones) about the candidates and the electoral process. PolitiFact explains it here and the game site is here. Thanks to Mr. Vales for the recommendation. is like Galaxy Zoo and Moon Zoo

April 10th, 2012

Hubble takes a lot of photos, so many that astronomers need help categorizing them. That’s where Galaxy Zoo comes in. It’s a social computing site where users learn the difference between spiral and spherical galaxies and then, once they prove their skill at labeling sample galaxies, are set free on actual data. Moon Zoo is similar, but with sorting moon images (thus the name). from MIT works on the same principal of a division of labor. This time, though, the user fills in the gaps of a neural network inside the retina. A computer has started the work; a human finishes it (take that, Cylons). MIT is trying to track how messages travel from your eyes to your brain. They are also trying to discover more ways in which the human brain functions. Not everyone gets a chance to be a research scientist, but now you have a chance to help out.

ClassRealm – A new take on classroom management

March 5th, 2012

Okay, so not really new new because I studied the gamefication of processes in my Masters degree, but it’s still refreshing to see. I’m an avid fan of video games, especially role-playing games, so Ben Bertoli’s classroom management plan, called ClassRealm, caught my attention. I thought that it was going to be something that was online, but no. It’s a structured framework for rewarding positive classroom interactions without directly giving things like behavior points that affect a student’s grade. I really like the community aspect of the alliances. (I also can relate playing music for the Random Encounters. Any of my past 8th graders will be able to tell you about the Bubble Smackdown test prep fight music.)

Here’s a glance at some of what Bertoli’s testing out in his classroom:

1. ClassRealm is completely voluntary. If you don’t want to participate you don’t have to.
2. XP is the backbone of ClassRealm. Every 10 XP you earn pushes you to the next level. Every one starts at level 1.
3. XP can be obtained by doing simple things such as:
• Answering questions
• Joining in class discussion
• Working hard on an assignment
• Helping others
• Participation in general
• Random Encounter Friday (explained below)
• Gaining achievements (explained below)
4. Achievements are gained by completing specific tasks. For example: a student can obtain the “Bookworm” achievement by reading two unassigned chapter books and explaining the plot and characters to me.
5. Each achievement has four levels – bronze, silver, gold, and master. Each level is harder to reach than the one below it.
6. Boys are pitted against girls. The gender that can acquire the most achievements by the end of the year will win extra recess and an ice cream party during lunch.
7. Each Friday will be Random Encounter Friday. Every one who wants to battle will put their name in a hat. I will draw out two names and they will battle. Students will be asked a question. I will repeat the question twice and then start battle music. The first to write the correct answer on the board and put their hands up will win XP. You can only answer once. Question subjects are chosen at random.
8. Students may join in alliances of up to six ClassRealm citizens. The alliance with the highest combined level at the end of the year wins a pizza party.
9. All info, except for the current amount of XP each student has, will be listed online and in the classroom for students and parents to see.

The Hunger Games videogame

February 16th, 2012

Adam Saltsman, maker of Canabalt, has been asked by Lionsgate Studios to make a Hunger Games videogame. My guess is that it’s going to have a lot of running and jumping with some bow and arrow action thrown in.

It is yet to be determined if there will be Team Peeta/Team Gale angst.

Will Wright’s Hivemind

November 16th, 2011

Check out VentureBeat’s interview with Will Wright, creator of SimCity, the Sims, etc. It looks like he’s creating a game that will track your lifestyle and adapt the scenarios to real-world events.

It reminds me of the alternate reality game Majestic that came out in 2001. I had been part of the beta for that. The game called my phone and sent me emails as if it were real people being trapped in a conspiracy. I got too busy with, you know, living life, so I was done playing before it paused during the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Majestic never recovered and closed up shop in April of 2002.

The big question is if people will play a game that incorporates their personal data into the big scheme of things. We put a lot of our data out there anyways, but for the most part we think through what we’re posting. All I know is that Will Wright would be the game design genius to pull it off.

ScriptTD – An Open Source Tower Defense Game Engine

November 8th, 2011

Coding4Fun has put up the source code for a tower defense game on Codeplex. With it, you can make a game for a Windows phone and even put it up on the Zune marketplace. If you can make an image in Paint, you can make your own game. What makes the project so cool, though, is that they put up all of the code. Everything can be adjusted.

Download the source code here.

ESRB for the mobile platform

June 30th, 2011

I just took a survey asking for my thoughts on the ESRB starting to rate mobile video games and it got me thinking about just how much I use the ESRB. The ESRB rates video games much like how the Rating Board rates movies. If you’re a parent, check out their site. They do a really good job of describing what’s in a video game. If you’re a gamer, check them out because they usually have the details for a game before even the news sites like IGN can get an update.

But with mobile video games, many apps are coded by small companies and not traditional publishers. That’s the beauty of the self-publishing online game marketplace. There’s a downside, though. The descriptions for the games in the marketplace don’t do the games justice and frequently leave me wondering what in the world the game is about.

Having the ESRB start to rate games would be helpful because that’s what they’re good at. I cringe at some of the summaries game developers put up. I would like a consistent style that gave me information about the game. Some of the proposed information will be whether the game takes your personal information and if the app transmits your location. That’s there in the marketplace, but depending on the store may only show up after you’ve already clicked on the app. A database with the ESRB’s established credibility will be nice.

I’m excited for the ESRB to start helping out. If anything, it shows that mobile gaming is becoming a legitimate platform.

Verb Volley and the History of Oregon Trail

January 21st, 2011

I was reading an article about the history of the Oregon Trail video game and learned that it was the result of two Math teachers and a History teacher being roommates. All three were in their first years of teaching and wanted a way to grab students’ attentions when learning about western expansion in the United States.

They programmed the whole thing in two weeks. That’s what reminded me of Verb Volley, a game I created one Fall Break to help my students review parts of speech.

Here’s my game:

Obama’s STEM Video Game Challenge

September 20th, 2010

This past week President Obama announced the STEM Video Game Challenge to encourage students to pursue math and science through engaging activities. The contest will be accepting submissions from October 12 to January 5. The entries can either be a game design on paper or a playable game. There is a $50,000 prize pool for students and it provides some great opportunities for careers in video game design.

Future Professionals, this is what we’re going to tackle first. Check out Scratch from MIT. It’s like an intro program to Flash and actually has some pretty decent scripting. (It’s free, too, which is always nice.)

Here’s how the judges will be determining the winners:

Submissions will be judged on a combination of fun and balanced gameplay, creative vision and incorporation of Science TEchnology and Math (STEM) concepts in game design and play experience.

Click here for a game that took me ten minutes to create. In no way does it meet the STEM requirements but it does illustrate a tiny bit of what Scratch does (that would take me much longer to do in Flash ActionScript.)

Try and get the face to the flower. Click on the green flag to get the party started. Arrow keys move the smiley.

Oregon Trail Online

August 17th, 2010

I’m helping a Social Studies teacher with her westward expansion lesson and we found Westward Trail, which looks very, very similar to the old Apple IIgs game we played when we were in elementary school.

You can find the game by clicking here. May your oxen be healthy and your axles unbreakable.

Side note: the original Oregon Trail is now on the Nintendo DS and on the iPhone and they are both worth checking out.