Sploder Discussion – Part II

Revisited some more games on Sploder this week as I prepare to create my own game.

3D Mission Creator

I played the game “Help Your Father” which was a 3D “Hit and Run” mission in which you had to go through a maze and unlock doors and defeat enemies on the way to saving the scientist. It was challenging which is a good thing, and there were directions before you started to give you an idea about the controls.

I liked the puzzle aspect of the game. To unlock certain doors, you had to complete a puzzle where you had to connect the electron to the proton and get a green light. These were not difficult, but a good element to help you think a little bit before proceeding to the next section. I also liked that there were checkpoints along the way.

The controls were similar to Minecraft in that you used the WASD keys to move and your mouse to change the camera angle your character was facing and to help him run/move faster. This portion was fine, but I did not like the controls when having to defeat enemies, sometimes 4 (!) at a time. It was just clunky and not what I’m used to when playing that type of game. I can’t imagine playing a game like Contra using those controls and being successful.

http://www.sploder.com/publish.php?s=d001amwr&browse=1&ref=0

Physics Puzzle Creator

I played the game “Sploder Physics Olympics” This was a very difficult game. You had to get your green block to the left and connect with the other green block while avoiding the poison blocks that get in your way. If you wait too long more poison blocks would drop from the sky into your path. You have to get one point to win, but that point is not so easy to obtain.

The biggest challenge I saw was the movement of your character was very fast. It was difficult to time jumps and not keep moving and running into the next blocks. There was an option at the beginning “Restart game in fast mode” that I found humorous after playing it. Where’s the slow mode?

I like the concept of this type of game and it seems similar to Angry Birds type games I have seen students play where their character flies and they have to avoid obstacles along the way. I also like the physics components as I imagine a physics teacher could incorporate this tool and have students create/play games while learning their concepts.

http://www.sploder.com/games/members/darkthunderhero/play/sploder-physics-olympics/

Gaming in the Classroom

This is a nice graphic with some information and stats about the use of games in the classroom. Games are familiar, user friendly and engaging to students. While playing games students are active, stimulating their brain and engaged in experiential learning. Why would we not want to bring some of this experience into the classroom? The games should be educational, age appropriate and have context for learning.

What stands out to you about the information in this graphic? What are your experiences and thoughts about educational games in the classroom? Reply below with your thoughts and let’s get a conversation going.

#gamelab #classroomgames #edtech

The Tech Integrator

Sploder – Game Types

Sploder is a website where you can play and create some different types of games.

www.sploder.com *Note* Use Internet Explorer with this site. I have had the most success while using it. Update your Adobe Flash Player to the latest version as well.

Platformer

Volcanic Peril: Platformer game where you have some basic controls to move and jump and swing your sword. There is lava that you can fall in. Seems to be scrolling to the right. I made it far enough to get a couple of enemies and then I got hit and dizzily ran into the lava. There are several obstacles in your way and have not gotten very far.

Journey to the Clouds: Similar game to the one above with the same mechanics. This one has text appearing as you walk to have the other characters tell the story.

Puzzle Maker

Algorithm Crew

Classic Shooter

I played the game “Very Easy” which was a classic arcade shooter type of game. The object of the game was to control your purple spaceship and move around to collect all the crystals in a level while destroying some blocks and avoiding/defeating the dangerous spiders that got in your way. Simple concept, collect the crystals, shoot lasers at the bad guys. Reminded me of games you would see at the arcade and a Space Invaders type game.

The controls were again a theme for me in these games. Move forward, backward, left and right seemed self explanatory, but the ship you were controlling spun around and often moved in a different direction than the arrow key you were pressing.

I am not sure the educational value of this type of game, unless you could tweak it to say a math concept where your “crystals” were numbers and you could have equations pop up on the screen and you had to shoot lasers at the correct numbers. Playing these types of games could be a fun throwback to being at the arcades in the 80’s though.

http://www.sploder.com/games/members/jkboy/play/very-easy-2/

Arcade

Haskell’s Test Game is a game that will remind you of a classic platformer arcade like Super Mario Bros. and has some familiar elements. You collect coins and can jump on bad guys to defeat them and a goal to reach the end of the level.

The first stage of level 1 is basic and a good one to give you a tutorial on how the game works and the controls. I like how the tutorial appears in chunks throughout this level. As you come across something you need to learn, the learning is provided to the player at that point. Collect some coins, jump over a couple obstacles and a couple of bad guys and you are at the end of the level.

The second stage ramps up the challenge, but it also provides you with a few different ways to approach it. This reminds me of Super Mario World type level where you can climb the vine up to the clouds and collect coins that way, go the traditional route on the ground, and there is some water along with a tunnel below.

http://www.sploder.com/games/members/boisestate/play/haskells-test-game/

History of Pixel Graphics

I recently watched the video series “Pixel Pioneers”, a short video series on You Tube created by Stuart Brown. Each video goes through a different stage of the evolution of graphics in video games.

This series was a good overview and reminded me about some of the games I enjoyed playing as a child. Some of the earliest video games used very bare bones graphics where a flickering or moving image on the screen was impressive. Today we have games using the latest technology with real life graphics and cinematic experiences.

Here are a few of the games I remember playing that were shown in the series:

Pong and Pac-Man: Atari classics that I played at some point along the way. Simple games with a goal to accomplish. Pac-man has had sequels and revisions and is still played by kids today. Pong reminds me of table hockey, quick movements to keep the object out of your goal and score points against your opponent.

Dig Dug: I don’t think I ever played the original but recall playing Dig Dug 2 on the NES. It was a Blockbuster rental one weekend (remember those?) going around digging and defeating enemies along the way.

Super Mario Bros.: A classic. I got my NES when I was about 8 and I played lots of Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt which was the game that came with the system. The graphics are still nostalgic today as the platformer elements are included as bonus areas within newer games like Super Mario Oddysey.

Street Fighter II/Mortal Kombat: These fighting games were a big hit at the arcades and on the 16 bit consoles like Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis. I played my fair share of these as a teenager, and they spawned a great amount of remix fighting games throughout the late 90s.

Super Mario Kart: Another favorite from the Super Nintendo days. The video described this period as the Polygon Realm, and Super Nintendo with their Mode 7 technology allowed game designers to place 3D elements on top of a 2D surface giving the illusion of a 3D world.

There was a gap in my gameplay over the next generation or so, and I reemerged during the late 2000’s with the Wii Sports and Minecraft among other similar games. During this era there was an explosion of first person shooter games, which if you look at a list of Xbox and Xbox 360 games it seems like every other game on this list is this type of game. Not my cup of tea, but alot of people do like them hence their popularity and continued production of these games. As an appreciator of history, it would be interesting to play a game where you are involved in the strategy and story of the Revolutionary War or Civil War for example.

In the 5th video, Stuart tries to answer the question do graphics matter? I think it depends on the game and what you are looking to get out of it. For me, games like Madden and NHL and WWE, having the realistic graphics makes it feel like you are in the game or at the stadium which is fun. Mostly though, if the super graphics is not paired with the enjoyable game and a great story, it can take away from the experience (not to mention the load times).

You can check out this video series here on You Tube.

The Tech Integrator

Exploring Games

Here I will post reflections about various types of games that I will be exploring.

Narrative Games – Gameplay and reflection while playing the game Zork I.

Action Games – Reflection and gameplay.

Other Games – Reflection on other types of games such as card games, board games and games of chance.

All Work All Play Review

My thoughts after watching the documentary “All Work All Play” which gives insight into the world of esports gaming.

Resources:

https://decider.com/2016/05/05/why-you-should-watch-all-work-all-play/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4654328/

esports

http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi827831065?playlistId=tt4654328&ref_=tt_ov_vi

The Tech Integrator

Embedding flash games on your blog/website

More Youtube Games on Silvergames.com!

You’ve probably seen You Tube videos embedded onto a website or done so yourself. There are some online games that provide you the embed code to be able to embed that game into your site or blog. Here is an example above.

1. Find a game that is embeddable online (I searched for “embed name of game” in Google).
2. Copy the embed code and paste into your site (make sure you are on the “HTML” editing option).
3. Play with the game to ensure that it works.

This might be a good option if you have younger students and have specific games you want them to play without veering off into unknown places on the internet.

The Tech Integrator

Vitrtual Hallucinations Experience

I recently had a chance to complete a quest in the virtual world Second Life. In this quest, we walked through a hospital while hearing the “voices” in our head providing us “guidance”. It was an interesting experience and the goal was to teach students about the hallucinations that people with schizophrenia experience. This would be a good activity to use in a health or psychology class for college students to learn about this topic in a safe simulation in the form of a virtual world or virtual reality experience. My reflection on the experience is below.

Case study on a virtual reality version of this experience: http://learningandteaching-navitas.com/the-psychosis-experience-virtual-reality-psychology-education/

The quest I experienced was created by Amanda Hatherly, professor at Santa Fe Community College. http://w2.sfcc.edu/files/inside/Inside_SFCC_SUM2015_WEB.pdf

The Tech Integrator

Mash Up of Learning Theories

Here is my representation of a “Mash-up” of two learning theories, Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction and Garner’s Seven Levers of Change.

Good instruction and good games contain elements of both of these theories. Gagne’s events typically show up as elements of one larger “event”. These events include: gaining attention, informing learners of the objective, stimulating recall of prior learning, providing learning guidance, eliciting performance, providing feedback and enhancing retention and transfer. Gardner’s seven levers of change that fit in with instructional technology include: reasoning, resonance, representational rediscription and resistances.

The game I am looking to design will include elements from both of these theories. There is a specific learning objective, players will be provided feedback and hopefully enhance their retention of the learning and transfer that learning to the next task. They will have to use reasoning in deciding which side to take the point of view of. They will encounter resistances in the form of enemies and classmates who may disagree with their opinion. They will experience resonance and make a connection between the learning content in the context of a game that looks like one they may have played in the past. They will also represent their thinking and learning in the next segment of this lesson.

Becker, Katrin. (2005). How Are Games Educational? Learning Theories Embodied in Games..

What are your thoughts about these learning theories and how well they mesh together? What elements of these theories do you recognize and are part of the game you are designing? #GameLab

The Tech Integrator

Learning from Video Games and How they Engage the Brain

Tom Chatfield presented this TED talk in which he discussed video games and seven ways in which they engage the brain. These ideas are all things that can be applied to education, whether within a video game itself, or by using gamification within other elements of the classroom.

1. Experience bars measuring progress – They start at a point and earn points along the way towards the final goal. They don’t start with a 100 and lose points for not being perfect every assignment.
2. Multiple long and short term aims
3. Reward effort – This is an important one – giving little bits of credit here and there, not punishing (F’s are not motivating!)
4. Rapid, frequent and clear feedback – great games provide players with feedback as they are going along, so do great teachers
5. Element of uncertainty – I liken this to the idea of being uncomfortable and that is when the learning really happens
6. Windows of Enhanced Attention – Opportunities to grow memory and confidence – The concept makes sense, but I am not sure we will be able to pull up the brain scans of our class from the student information system to determine when the best time to drop the new information we want them to remember.
7. Other people – We need to provide our students with opportunities to collaborate and work as a team to accomplish goals. The size of the team is also important to consider to ensure there is varied expertise and enough work to go around to keep everyone engaged.

I found this to be interesting stuff – an the statistics shared emphasize that LOTS of people are playing video games, including our students…we should be paying more attention to this to tap into for learning opportunities in and out of the classroom.

More of Tom’s work can be found by visiting his website: http://tomchatfield.net/

The Tech Integrator