Tomorrow's theme is serious games, and all participants have been asked to bring a 1-page lifetime gameplay resume (no instructions on what exactly that means was provided.) I really like the idea and thought I'd share what I cooked up--if you make your own gameplay resume, please link back so I can see!
Below, the format I chose and the milestone games I decided to fill it out with. For brevity, I had to leave out Grim Fandango and Lode Runner's design-your-own-level app, both of which were hugely influential. I also completely skipped the event planning for New York City Parks & Rec, which of course was very game based but alas... only one page. But I will state here for the record: Massively multiplayer citywide Connect Four tournments forever!
JANE McGONIGAL ~ Gameplay Resume 060606
Early Childhood: 1977 to 1987: The Playground Games
-I attend a Quaker school and learn cooperative, rather than competitive games.
-Formative playground games include many from the New Games Movement: the Blob, Earth Ball, the parachute.
-Lessons learned: All gameplay is always already cooperative: you agree to share a set of rules and a common goal, and to sustain the fictive world and artificial urgency of the game.
Childhood to Young Adulthood: 1988 to 1995: The PC Games
-A Commodore 64 at home brings Infocom text adventures into my life. The Lurking Horror and Moonmist figured prominently.
-I write my own text and ASCII games using Basic 64 programming language.
Graphic-text adventures are embraced. Tass Times in Tone Town, Transylvania.
-Lessons learned: Talk to everyone you encounter. Pick up anything you can carry. Try all keys in all locks.
College: 1995 to 1999: The Theater Games
-Face-to-face gameplay is used for icebreaking, team building, and large-scale social events.
-I steal and modify games from theater classes and workshops.
-Psychiatrist and Murder are frequently played.
-Lessons learned: The structure provided by games gives players permission to participate in a social setting that might otherwise intimidate them. The magic circle is safe and inviting.
Early to Earlyish Adulthood: 1999 – present: The Social Currency Games
-Some PC and console games, it seems, everyone is playing. To be familiar with them is to have social currency.
-I therefore gain fluency in Counter-Strike, Halo, Dance Dance Revolution, Guitar Hero.
-Lessons learned: Common games build bridge across social and generational gaps. So much of today’s Watercooler talk is about videogames. Game literacy is key!
Graduate School: 2001 – present: The Hybrid Games
-Technology and schoolyard games combine to produce new hybrid games, and I love it.
-Flash mobs, urban superhero games, alternate reality gaming, geocaching and more turn the world into OUR playground.
-Lessons learned: There are secret gameplay affordances in everyday objects, the built environment, and seemingly serious social contexts. Life is better when we define, discover and teach these affordances to one another.
The Future: 2005 – 2100: Sacred Games?
-Organized public play resumes its function as a sacred activity? Gaming is ritual. Games are bonding. Games are transitional. Games are palliative. Games create immanence.
-Games are played at birth, death, and other important personal and collective milestones.