VLENZ Update, No 163, February 16, 2010

VIDEO GAMES ‘ARE GROWING UP’

Video games can change

the way people behave

THE NEW ZEALAND CONNECTION …  Real Life Auckland Meeting,  Wednesday, February 17

Although highly critical of some aspects of video gaming, Frida Castillo, the author of the report “Playing by the Rules,” produced by two Swiss Human Rights organisations,  suggests  that properly-designed video games  can be beneficial for players and actually change behaviours.

She recommends that game creators weave in elements of international law to draw players into more realistic, immersive situations.

“Games could actually be more creative if some of these rules were incorporated,” she said, in a report quoting her, in Time Magazine mid January.

“It’s an idea that’s already catching on. We’ve long known that video games have a unique ability to promote a message; now designers are creating games built not around destroying worlds but saving our own,” she says.

“Games are growing up,” says Suzanne Seggerman, president of Games for Change – a group promoting games with a positive impact – in the same Time Magazine. “People are realizing that they can do a lot more than entertain.”

This is something that  New Zealander Owen McCall (Pictured right), CIO at New Zealand’s “Big Red Sheds” (The Warehouse) and co-founder, with consultant Ian Howard, of the New Zealand Life Game Project   strongly believes.

The  Life Game Project, which was launched last year,  has invited  a number of  people to the  4th Life Game Project Gathering at  6 pm (New Zealand time) tomorrow,  February 17, at Gen-i, Level 17, Telecom House, 92-94 Albert Street, Auckland

The Gathering is taking place as the Life Game Project  “gathers steam”,  “is in the process of delivering stuff, ” and is well positioned to play a bigger game …”, according to  McCall and Howard in a general  invitation issued to  those interested in the Life Game Project concept. The invitation’s  RSVP was to lynn.power@thewarehouse.co.nz “to assist us with the room set-up and catering.”

The Life Game Project’s purpose is to support “New Zealand as a place where everybody is safe and loved by harnessing the power of immersive games technology to foster the development of life skills and positive lifestyle choices.’

If  you are interested in Games for Learning  and want to learn more it is also worthwhile accessing  the Microsoft-associated Games Research Institute, a first-of-its-kind, multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional gaming research alliance that will provide the fundamental scientific evidence to support games as learning tools for math and science subjects among middle school students.

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