Thursday, October 28, 2010

Serious games make for serious fun

Well, I just thought that headline was snappy and had some relevance to what I am currently thinking about. There is no doubt that the interest from funding agencies have started to take off with even a few recent calls from NSF. As I was pouring through one of these I remembered one of the critical remarks I've heard about trying to learn about human social behavior through what people do in a game; 'how can we tell that what they do in this virtual environment is what they would do in reality?'. It struck me that this is really a total misunderstanding of what type of reality we could address with games. "Real life" decision making is increasingly supported by, and conducted through, virtual spaces. Just think about GIS and the realm of spatial decision support system. A GeoGame is essentially a continuation of that same environment, extended into possible futures. Looking at GeoGame behavior can really help us better understand those dynamics by providing a somewhat controlled experimental environment. This is pretty awesome and certainly a promising platform for doing computational social science .

Oh, and it is soo cool hat Jane McGonigal (see post below) is coming to OSU! get your tickets 

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