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Replaying Childhood: On Gifting my Video Games to the Library of Congress

Giving up my games ended up being a bit of an emotional experience. I think the emotion of that experience underscores why it matters for the Library to collect games. The box of games and systems had sat in our basement for the last five years, and my mother’s basement for a good while before that. The last time I sat down and played through most of these games was…

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School ditches rules and loses bullies

Swanson School signed up to the study by AUT and Otago University just over two years ago, with the aim of encouraging active play. However, the school took the experiment a step further by abandoning the rules completely, much to the horror of some teachers at the time, he said.When the university study wrapped up at the end of last year the school and researchers were amazed by the results.…

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‘Jane Austen, Game Theorist’ by Michael Suk-Young Chwe Is a Joke

When [Chwe] says that Austen was a game theorist, he means for us to take him at his word. Never mind the fact that game theory did not emerge until the middle of the twentieth century. Austen, he claims, was a “social theorist” who “carefully establishes game theory’s core concepts” and “systematically explored” them in her novels, which are “game theory textbooks.” This is a perfectly valid statement, as long…

The Text Adventures That Never Were: Assassin’s Creed III

Ever wonder what the PC games of 2012 would be like if they were text adventures? Of course not, no one in their right mind would ever wonder that. In related news: I wondered that! So, rip out your GeForce GTX 680, plug in your dusty 10″ CRT monitor, and stuff your programmable eight-button mouse in a stocking, because this week we’re going to imagine five of this year’s games…

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Games as Text and K12 Social Studies

Rather than training students to identify and practice the strategies of rhetoric through reading and writing, what if a media existed (and the students regularly engaged in it) that communicated ideas, arguments, and points of view through its procedure, rather than in a linear set of carefully structured arguments? In this case, learning is at least 3D- it includes the dimensions of experience, agency, and action. What if these “procedural”…

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Jerz and Daughter Teach Scratch (Digital Storytelling Tutorial)

In the past I have posted tutorials for how to use Scratch to create a ball-and paddle computer game, but I let Carolyn create what she wanted to create. Rather than targets to shoot or puzzles to solve, she chose to tour a virtual environment, via a self-paced storybook. You move ahead by clicking the screen, and invisible buttons trigger animations.

This tutorial is a good introduction to how easy it is to make something interactive in Scratch.

Carolyn started with photos she had already taken of her Lego hobbit hole, added some simple programming to make a click advance to the next screen, and to make an invisible button trigger some animation.

In the video, she’s careful to run the program after every couple of steps, and she catches a few mistakes. When I point out that an interactive detail she coded would be hidden from a player who didn’t know where to click, she added a label that made sure her players wouldn’t miss the interactive bits.

Internet Archive puts classic 70s and 80s games online

Classic video games from the 1970s and 1980s have been put online by the Internet Archive and can be played within a web browser for nothing. The collection has launched with games from five early home consoles, including the Atari 2600 and Colecovision. The games do not have sound, but will soon, the Internet Archive said. “In coming months, the playable software collection will expand greatly,” archivist Jason Scott wrote.…