EcoChains Arctic Life: Free Print-and-Play Edition

EcoChains Arctic Life: Free Print-and-Play Edition

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In honor of Earth Day, we've decided to make a Print-and-Play edition of EcoChains: Arctic Life totally free. EcoChains is a two player game of strategy and survival in a rapidly warming Arctic. Build food chains of Arctic species -- such as walrus, narwhal, polar bear and seals -- upon Arctic sea ice and experience migration and other effects of a changing climate. Click here to download and print out the full game (Arctic Species cards, Sea Ice cards, Rulesheet, Lesson Plan). EcoChains: Arctic Life, a climate change education game. Building food webs. You can also get the full version of the game on Amazon.
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Featured Game: Learn physics in Vector Racer

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tj9VG_OBCwg&feature=youtu.be Vector Racer Paulo Ribeiro, Dora Jiang, Jingyi Lin and Ru Xu (MA students at Teachers College, Columbia University in the Design and Development of Digital Games program) created Vector Racer -- an exciting, hands-on way to learn physics in a fun and endogenous way. Students create their own custom vehicles and learn physics concepts like velocity, acceleration, gravity while building and racing vehicles.
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Elliot Hu-Au: VR Chemistry Lab

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Elliot Hu-Au, doctoral candidate of technology and education at Teachers College, Columbia University, shares his virtual reality chemistry lab project. Elliot runs Virtual Reality for Education, a weblog with research articles, news and other resources for educators interested in using VR for learning. https://twitter.com/tc_gameslab/status/1118219756748673029
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Game Conferences and Events

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There are several events around the world on games. These vary widely in terms of size and focus. Some are more for academics to share their research; others are better suited for educators. Still other conferences are trade shows where designers and merchants can check out the latest games. A huge list of game-related events and conferences can be found at GameConfs.com. Academic DiGRA - DiGRA is the "association for academics and professionals who research digital games and associated phenomena." Founded in 2003, it is one of the larger game research communities. It features an annual conference where researchers and designers can present their work. Games for Change Festival - Held annually in New York City, Games for Change Festival brings together game developers, businesses, nonprofits and educators. "Discover how…
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Bugs, Easter Eggs, Hacks, Cheats and other Opportunities for Game-Based Learning

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You’re not going to debug all of your bugs, and that’s okay - maybe even good. In-game glitches, especially ones with outrageous outcomes (avatars melting through the very pixels of the floor), are the rave of countless online-gaming communities dispersed throughout the web. Numerous virtual sub-cultures filled with enthusiastic gamers surrounding the topics of hacks, cheats, glitches, and bugs are becoming increasingly widespread as digital games have become more prevalent. A considerable portion of the modern-day gamer thrive on discovering holes within the system, and it’s easy to see why: assuming the glitch doesn’t take away from a player’s ability to complete the game as intended, a bug serves as a window to a meta-dimension close to the heart of the software – an exciting quantum world where regular in-game…
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Dark Patterns in Game Design

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In recent years, many in the interaction design and user experience (UX) design fields have questioned the ethics of dark patterns, defined as a user interface or design feature that has been carefully crafted to deceive users into doing things they may not want to do, such as buy an extra item or give personal details to software company. I argue that many games are also not designed to be ethical or beneficial to the player. For instance, the use of dark patterns in the design of certain games (or gamification-based apps) may lead to various negative effects, such as wasting time; or using slot-machine like elements (e.g., variable ratio rewards) to carefully addict players and then require them to pay money to continue playing. Some researchers have explored dark…
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Game Mechanics and Learning Mechanics

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For those interested in designing educational games, there is still a dearth of research about exactly what sort of game mechanics produce the greatest amount of learning in particular contexts. Even in the case of games designed purely for entertainment, small changes to mechanics and gameplay can have a big impact on the overall experience in ways that can be difficult to anticipate. In educational games, these mechanics not only impact the entertainment value of the game but also how much learning actually takes place. How Game Mechanics Affect Entertainment Sometimes small changes in mechanics can affect the overall experience to the point that very similar games will attract very different audiences. One example would be the two Multiplayer Online Battle Arena games League of Legends (LoL) and Heroes of…
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Stealth Game Interventions: An Embedded Design Model

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Increasingly, persuasive games have been created that depict an argument or point of view on serious issues such as poverty, politics, equality or business ethics. How can these games be created to be effective in delivering a persuasive message, taking the psychology of polarization in mind? A Embedded Design Model Geoff Kaufman (faculty at Carnegie Mellon University), Mary Flanagan (faculty at Dartmouth University), and Max Seidman (game designer) have published research on how to most effectively embed persuasive messages in games. In their research, they have determined that "serious issues in a literal, explicit fashion are far less likely to succeed in changing attitudes or behaviors than are games that take the more 'stealthy' approach of embedding persuasive messages within a game’s content or context." (Kaufman et al, 2015). Their…
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Persuasive Games: Procedural rhetoric and using processes for persuasion

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Persuasive Games can be defined as an interactive experience that intends to make arguments and expressive statements about one or more topics. Persuasive games are unique compared to books or movies in that they use interactive experiences and processes to convey their key arguments. Ian Bogost, Professor of Literature, Media, and Communication and Interactive Computing in the College of Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, popularized the idea of Persuasive Games along with the term procedural rhetoric. Procedural rhetoric can be defined as using processes persuasively (compared to using oratory or images persuasively). Digital games are useful in allowing players to experience processes in a firsthand manner. These kinds of games can often explore social or political issues, for educational purposes, or be used as an advertisement (or dis-advertisement) for a business…
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The best 2D game-making software

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2D games are a great way to create quick and fun educational experiences. There's such a wide variety of 2D game-making tools available that it can be daunting to figure out where to begin. This post will hopefully give you a place to start. Construct Construct is a 2D game-making tool that works entirely in your browser, so you don't need to download anything to use it. Even better, you don't even need to be online to use it; once you've loaded the editor page, you can continue working on your project wherever you are. GameSalad
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