Real world game interactions

New York based game developer area/code specializes in “real-world games”. The real world integration using technology bending techniques exploring social dynamics is brilliant. I originally found them through this Sharkrunners article but perusing their website I’m finding more interesting examples. I’ll probably circle back to this for further examination.

The Discovery Channel is using Sharkrunners, an online game, to teach people what it’s like to be a marine biologist who is tracking sharks. The game is easy to play, but original.
Players are given a virtual boat and virtual crew. They use it to track real-life sharks that have been tagged with a GPS recievers. When a boat encounters a shark the player is alerted via email and/or SMS. The player has three hours to select how to try to collect data about the shark and its behavior. The goal is to gather as much data about sharks as possible.


Wii makes games available for older generations

Retirement communities across the world are stocking Wiis as residents are discovering the joys of video games that are more accessible to non-teenage-boys.

At the Sedgebrook retirement community in Lincolnshire, where the average age is 77, something unexpected has been transpiring since Christmas. The residents, most of whom have never picked up a video game controller in their life, suddenly can’t put the things down.

“I’ve never been into video games,” said 72-year-old Flora Dierbach last week as her husband took a twirl with the Nintendo Wii’s bowling game. “But this is addictive.”

The Wii has become so popular at Sedgebrook that on Sunday afternoon there will be a video game bowling tournament in the lounge. More than 20 residents have signed up to compete.

People who were otherwise intimidated by video game consoles are getting into the Wii. The real world games like bowling are already well known and people who otherwise couldn’t get out to play or physically unable now have this option. It’s also building real world community interactions (not just online) which is how technology should work for us.

See also: OAPs say nurse, I need a Wii

Residents as old as 103 have ditched knitting and bridge after getting hooked on the console.

Harnessing brainpower

Luis von Ahn has discovered the most powerful CPU is the human brain and coaxing those clock cycles from human s requires…fun. He’s using video game design to solve problems and having people do all the “work”.

Play is the unexpected glue that lashes human brains together into a global overmind. So to build a good human-computation project, you can’t merely be a scientist; you also need to be a videogame designer.

He’s the guy that invented Capchas which are often used in login screens to thwart spambots. He also made The ESP Game to help label images on the web.

Supposedly he’s planning on launching a company called “Games With a Purpose ” to help harvest spare brainpower to help with real world issues like helping identify dangerous items in baggage and verifying bank checks. Awesome.