As a person who has been part of the Scout movement and is part of the gaming research community, I’m really excited to see that the Boy Scouts of America have added the video game badge.
This is a great step towards de-demonizing the video game activity by youth. I believe that it’ll help to educate parents and other adults on games since they have to be involved in the some of the requirements to get the badge. It’ll bring for sure more awareness about selecting games and how they fit kids’ life.
Here are the requirements as they appear in the official site of Scouts of America:
Complete these three requirements:
- Explain why it is important to have a rating system for video games. Check your video games to be sure they are right for your age.
- With an adult, create a schedule for you to do things that includes your chores, homework, and video gaming. Do your best to follow this schedule.
- Learn to play a new video game that is approved by your parent, guardian, or teacher.
Earn the Video Games belt loop and complete five of the following requirements:
- With your parents, create a plan to buy a video game that is right for your age group.
- Compare two game systems (for example, Microsoft Xbox, Sony PlayStation, Nintendo Wii, and so on). Explain some of the differences between the two. List good reasons to purchase or use a game system.
- Play a video game with family members in a family tournament.
- Teach an adult or a friend how to play a video game.
- List at least five tips that would help someone who was learning how to play your favorite video game.
- Play an appropriate video game with a friend for one hour.
- Play a video game that will help you practice your math, spelling, or another skill that helps you in your schoolwork.
- Choose a game you might like to purchase. Compare the price for this game at three different stores. Decide which store has the best deal. In your decision, be sure to consider things like the store return policy and manufacturer’s warranty.
- With an adult’s supervision, install a gaming system.
San Francisco, CA, USA – The 1st Game User Research (GUR) Summit was on March 10th 2010, and it was awesome. The objective of this summit was to gather user-research professionals who work in the games industry, and share experience, knowledge and techniques.
GUR summit started with an update of the group by David Tisserand and Bill Fulton. The Games User Research Special Interest Group (SIG) has been created as part of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), there is a provisional board and the group is taking shape and organization.
There were presentations covering current practices:
Graham McAllister talked about ‘Promoting UX: Educating the Video Game Industry on User Research’, he nicely tackled an array of common statements and misunderstandings when people in the game industry are faced to user research, for example from “We don’t need it”, passing through “Our game isn’t ready”, to “We do this”.
Bill Fulton’s ‘From 0 to 35 in 7 years: scaling up a games user-research group’ was a neat presentation on his experience at Microsoft Game Studios and how he managed to get an user research team growing. Once upon a time (circa 1997), there was only Bill as a contractor at Microsoft Game Studios. He highlighted three aspects for growth:
1) Focus user research resources to maximize product improvement: how to impact the return-on-investment (ROI), to recognize limits, to be efficient, to have visible success.
2) Do UR in a way that generates more demand for UR: deliver high-quality, acknowledge and optimize the time of the development team, and stay in communication with them.
3) Have the right people :) by rigorous hiring process, and investing in your people.
Dmitri Williams from the University of Southern California presented his work on online games and how he harvests information. A lot of the analysis is done with a tool called Katana Analytics Engine.
Bruce Phillips showed us the amazing work he’s been doing on player experience using behavioral data at Microsoft Game Studios. The fascinating idea of keeping track of what people do with their XBox live games while players are comfy at their homes. They remotely track data to understand better what happen with the game after is shipped.
I presented the work that we, Veronica Zammitto, Magy Seif El-Nasr and Paul Newton, are doing at Electronic Arts. We are looking at game user experience on sports games by employing psychophysiological techniques and telemetry data. We used eye tracking, EMG, HR, GSC to identify the emotional profile of the player.
Ben Weedon talked about the work done at Playable Games. First, he showed us how fun and challenging getting feedback from kids can be. Later, he explained the process of international user research and how many things have to be taken into account in order to run smooth sessions for collecting data, for instance just to mentioned a few, the cultural differences and legislation about recording information, power supplies, local translators/facilitators even if you speak the same language, having local assistants.
Carla Fisher also works with kids. She shared a chart that leads the comments and annotation when kids try her hand-held device games.
Heather Desurvire is a consultant at Behavioristics and faculty at the University of Southern California. She explained game accessibility principles (GAP), a way of evaluating and designing games, and how that can be applied to game tutorials.
GUR summit was a great event that strengthened the game industry user research community.
Little did we know about sport from the human computer interaction field. Actually, we know very little.
Genevieve Bell, Director of the User Experience Group at Intel and keynote speaker at CHI 2010, points out the lack of research about sports and technology.
It seems that it’s a really good timing to be doing work in game user experience on sports game :)
Excerpts from her talk:
“Sports is a huge money maker, it’s a huge driver of new technology adoption.
40% of Americans when asked why they upgraded to HD, the answer was that sports look better on it.
Sports drive new technologies of production in video capture, in dealing with multiple streams of content, and now is one of the drivers of 3D.
Yet there are less than 40 papers written over the last 20 years in HCI about sports. And most of them are written about things that are not really sports, they are written about roller coasters, about going on around on motocross in Scandinavia and there is one about going to a Canadian stadium, and that’s it.
[Sports] is a critical domain of human activity, it schedules time and space and we are not writing about it.”