One of the members of the Games Research Network, Tom Brock, was recently interviewed by the BBC World Service for their flagship investigative program ‘The Inquiry.’ You can check it out here:
Tom appears at about 17:30 in, where he extols the wonders of Dark Souls, compares video gamers to piano players, discusses the useful skills that are developed by gamers, and reveals the joys of “punishing himself with puzzles.”
Over the past few weeks, Tristan Hall has joined us at our evening meetings to show us his two new games, Gloom of Kilforth, a fantasy card game that successfully Kickstarted in 2015 and which arrives in the UK this month, and his next game 1066, Tears to Many Mothers.
Can you introduce yourself?
First, a moment of disclosure. I like actual – I’m trying to avoid the word real– things. I read David Sax’s recent book The Revenge of Analog with pleasure, nodding along at all the right moments, and generally subscribing to the argument of the book’s subtitle, that ‘real things matter.’ I’m also a long-standing fan of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone’s Fighting Fantasy Adventure Gamebooks, a series I read when it was first released in the 1980s, and on which I’ve written before in an attempt to confirm my sense that the print form has affordances that don’t translate easily to the digital realm. So, when I downloaded Tin Man Games’ reboot of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain I did so with a set of preconceptions – pre-formed questions at least – that make it necessary to say that what follows isn’t so much a review of the app – which would require a measure of concern for the intended player-readers — as a series of thoughts on the remediation of Jackson and Livingstone’s first gamebook into a new digital format.
This book presents an introduction to the ‘Connected Gaming’ approach of using video games for learning, advocating for an integrated methodology that encompasses both an instructionist and a constructionist mindset. Central to this thesis is that for students to maximise their learning it is essential for them to not only play video games but to make them as well. The authors of this book build on the work of the noted gaming scholar James Paul Gee, and indeed the title is itself an homage to Gee’s 2003 text What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy.