How gender perceptions limit design thinking in games

I was riding right along with Jesse Schell in his book The Art of Game Design, right until about page 102, when he started exploring the relation of player demographics to game design. For instance, is this statement, from page 102, true or false? “The majority of videogames are played by boys and men.” BZZT! (That means, no — not true.) Just to set the stage, the version of this book I’m reading was from 2008.  Not the dark ages, but almost a decade ago.  New research and ideas about how women play games has emerged since that time. As … Keep goin’

Can gamification solve our problems? Week 3.

You’ve seen your Facebook feed. It ain’t all fun and games out there. Could Gamification be applied to topple the oligarch?  Defeat the mortal enemy? Can gamification solve our problems? Well, let’s see. What is gamification, anyway?  According to Merriam Webster (sorry Wikipedia — I’ve moved up) gamification is “the process of adding games or game-like elements to something (as a task) so as to encourage participation.” What are game-like elements? Game-like elements include PBLs (points, badges, and leaderboards), a collection of things (coins, fake cash/gold, etc), and customization (making something uniquely yours) among other things. Certainly the newly emerged … Keep goin’

Building a game app, week 2: On learning and “Input”

Choosing what to learn in app development

I worked my way through college at an armored car company. [You may react/gasp here in this space.] As part of the job, I screened potential armored car drivers and other employees responsible for cash processing. As you can imagine, the screening process intended to weed out those who should not have guns, money, and your armored vehicle simultaneously. One of the tools we used to avoid hiring potential hijackers was a personality assessment.  If you haven’t seen one, they generally ask a long list of questions, often the same questions with different wording.  I would score the test, which … Keep goin’

English major building a game app, week 1

police quest sonny bonds

I still remember the day my my brother received his undergraduate degree from the University of Washington, years ago.  In his Engineering department ceremony, a professor said to the crowd of newly minted Engineers and parents (and I paraphrase): “At least you know they won’t move back home with you like an English major.”  Laughter ensued. Though I never moved back in with either of my parents, grandparents, and/or uncles/aunts, I was indeed an English major. Fast-forward a couple of decades, and … I still am.  But now, I’m putting that degree to (dis)use.  I’m going to build an app.  … Keep goin’

Bull City Vegan (chef) Challenge mixtape

  For the 4th time, we’re running our vegan chef challenge, this time with 15 restaurants participating (and 10 volunteers managing!).  For a full list of restaurants, including photos of competing dishes & chefs, visit us at trianglemm.com/planetprotein.  So many good dishes. The only thing missing?  Songs. But first. Writing n’ talking We are so happy that, so far, the following press covered the story: The Indy News & Observer Durham Magazine Ecorazzi Veg News Part of what we love about the Chef Challenge is that it makes more room at the table for everyone while supporting local businesses.  It’s … Keep goin’

Book review: Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed

I really did not need this book. I’d decided not to have kids more than a decade ago. Increasingly, though, I’d been feeling isolated in this choice that so few seem to make with such determination. Am I just a freak? Most possibly. I searched online and read mostly sorry excuses in articles where women explained they decided to be child-free so they could buy a sports car (yikes!) or insisted they love babies and it’s just not for me. Wimpy. So I was glad to come across this collection of essays from women (and two men! bonus!) who made … Keep goin’

Bringing #Comments to life

Almost two years ago, after winter drinks with a couple of friends, I came home and read an article about the deliciousness of a vegan mayo, Vegenaise. The article was positive, and I was feeling happy that a vegan product got such a great review. And then I scrolled down to the … Comments (Deep, booming voice here.) As usual, all who commented were kind, considerate, and thereby restored my faith in humanity. Um, no. Always disheartening, never productive, comments have a way of encouraging — what’s the opposite of “faith”? — disbelief in humanity. It occurred to me that, … Keep goin’

Plants everywhere

I was pleased to speak with Lisa Sorg, now writing for the News & Observer, about a few current and upcoming projects recently.  Lisa was a natural, and I was happy to have the opportunity to share more about my projects and approach to outreach. Views change with time, experience, and knowledge into clearer vision, one can hope.  I’m indebted to those who have shaped my thinking through strategic action for farmed animals including Matt Ball, Nick Cooney, Jon Camp, Peter Singer, Carol Adams, and so many more. Yep, I just made an Oscar speech.  Except also: thanks Mom. That … Keep goin’

Without you, there is no us

without you there is no us

We are watching you I reserved a copy of Suki Kim’s latest book, Without You, There Is No Us: My Time with the Sons of North Korea’s Elite, based on my interest and curiosity about a nation I knew little about beyond its secrecy and closed doors.  Like anything peripherally familiar, adding knowledge brings the realization of how little you *really* knew. Suki Kim did not just write a book about her time “with the sons of North Korea’s elite.”   She carried you along on her trip to the stark institutional prison-like setting, let you taste the “cloudy porridge” and … Keep goin’

It’s easy to stand

Milan Kundera

…when everyone else is standing. But I’ll get into that momentarily.  For now – I just finished another excellent book by Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting.  Calling it a book seems crude somehow, for in these pages Kundera no less than invites you to dive into the fundamental workings of society at large and humanity in the specific. Aphorisms glide from character to paragraph, and beyond recognition there is an understanding that articulates itself so fluidly you hardly notice since you agree so enthusiastically. Kundera is one of about three or four authors that makes me feel … Keep goin’