quarta-feira, 26 de junho de 2013

About Jane McGonigal presentation at Cannes Lions 2013

Few days ago I was in France at the Cannes Festival of Creativity (A.K.A Cannes Lions Festival) and watched an awesome presentation by Jane McGonigal, an American game designer and author who advocates for the use of mobile and digital technology to channel positive attitudes and collaboration, in a real world context.

Jane talked about how games could change the quotidian and bring positive effects to the contemporary world. The author also spoke about how games make us resilient and could be used in non-gaming context.

McGonigal brought an excellent case to the audience about how, in clinical trials, casual games outperform pharmaceuticals for anxiety, depression and other health disturbers. To illustrate that interface between games and healthcare, Jane used as an example the game Re-Mission (HopeLab, 2006). In that game the player is inside the bloodstream of a cancer patient as his/her mission is to destroy the cancer cells with a special weapon. The video below shows the gameplay of Re-Mission:

This game is used in the treatment of children with cancer. As Jane said, in the behavioral side the patients tend to have better chemotherapy adherence (20% higher blood chemo levels), and in the psychological side patients tend to have higher rates of self-efficacy.

There’s so much to research in this area but I think authors like Jane McGonigal are doing a great job.

And I recommend the book “The reality is broken” from this author to start a new discussion about the use of ludic interfaces in non-game contexts like health, politics, serious causes and education.

quarta-feira, 12 de junho de 2013

Immersion, image & games

Last week we had the announcement of the new Microsoft's console, Xbox One. Few weeks ago we saw the presentation of the Playstation 4 and Nintendo launched the Wii U in the beginning of the year. The new generation of video games is here and gamers are curious about the enormous possibilities of this new communicational ecosystem. Undoubtedly, the graphics are one important piece to analyze in this process.

What I want to highlight in this discussion is the evolution of graphics on video games, since the first electronic games until today. We had a great leap from the first textual games (like Zork) to the modern first person shooters (like Call of Dutty).

Graphics on video games are important pieces to a player’s immersion. And I’m not talking about realistic graphics only, because all we know that an abstract game like Tetris could create a strong immersion in the players. A textual game could be immersive too, but it seems that images can be more determinant in this complex act.

As Aarseth remembers (1997, p.102) “images, specially moving images, are more powerful representations of spatial relations than texts, and therefore this migration from text to graphics is natural and inevitable”.

I think it’s possible to say that the main object of the graphics on a game is to be a kind of “bridge” or “portal” to the immersion. A kind of facilitator/translator to the player to get totally inside the game interface.

As Nitsche says (2008, p.44) “evocative narrative elements encourage players to project meaning onto events, objects, and spaces in game worlds. They help to infuse significance. Their value is not realized on the level of the element itself but in the way players read and connect them. Creating these connections, players can form narratives that refer to the game world. If this meaning assignment becomes very strong, the virtual items themselves can leave the rule-based space, fictional space, social space, and even the play space”.

In a world full of possibilities of connections and full of screens all around it’s important to study ways to create better immersion process to our players.

Now on to your opinion.


AARSETH, Espen. Cibertext: Perspectives on Ergodic Literature. The Johns Hopkins University Press: Maryland, 1997.

NITSCHE, Michael. VIDEO GAME SPACES: image, play and structure in 3Dnworlds. Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2008

quinta-feira, 6 de junho de 2013

A quote from Espen Aarseth

Sometimes I like to share some good quotes from great authors of ludology, narratology and gaming concepts areas. The quote below is from Professor Espen Aarseth, and wit as said during his presentation in Brazil last December.

"Video games are neither narratives nor games, but software that may contain both.

Let’s think about it.

Read an interview with Mr. Aarseth by clicking here.