Archive for July, 2008

play it straight for 7-12 year olds

This theory is a four-stage ladder up which Piaget thought children climbed as they gathered knowledge about the world:

  • Sensorimotor (birth to 18-24 months): infants are aware only of their sensations, fascinated by all the strange new experiences their bodies are having. They are like little scientists exploring the world by shouting at, listening to, banging and tasting everything.
  • Pre-operational (18-24 months to 7 years): during this stage children can process images, words and concepts but they can’t do anything with them, they can’t yet operate on them. It’s like they’ve acquired the tools of thought, but don’t yet know how to use them. E.g. in maths they can’t understand that 2 x 3 is the same as 3 x 2.
  • Concrete operations (7 to 12 years): at this stage children gain the ability to manipulate symbols and objects, but only if they are concrete – abstract operations are still a challenge.
  • Formal operations (12 and up): from here on children are able to think in abstract terms about the world. Now they can understand concepts such as the future, values and justice. From around this age children start thinking like adults.


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why use a complex one when a simple one will do?

In the quest for instructional literalism…

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Clear Goals
  • Give players purpose
  • Know what they’re aiming for at the end of the journey
  • Satisfaction in achieving


Consistency in the World and its Rules

  • Give players a rounded and coherent ‘conceptual model’ of the world –  what they expect to happen will happen
  • Know that the world and the way it’s presented is reassuringly consistent and predictable
  • Constantly guided through the laws of logical, yet magical world


Rewards for Positive Interactions

  • Give players praise/reward/encouragement for everything that’s correct
  • Know they’re doing the right thing
  • Constantly rewarded and encouraged to continue achieving

Clear, Proportional and Consistent Feedback

  • Give players clear feedback to whatever they’ve done (however small the step)
  • Know that world is predictable and actions have appropriate consequences: cause and effect
  • Aware what has an effect and how big that effect is

Opportunities for Experimentation and “Playground” Interactivity

  • Give players enough options to discover that experimentation is possible, rewarded and therefore encouraged
  • Know that making your own fun and playing around always gets you somewhere
  • Constantly reminded that there’s more to do than just the main path

Choices that are Clear and Meaningful

  • Choices are presented to players that give greater reward for actions that are riskier, more complex or tactically advantageous
  • Know that more sophisticated play and risk-taking are options that will have gains
  • Experimenting all the time, trying different methods and exploring game depth

Clear Direction

  • Give players unambiguous guidance
  • Know where to go/what to do along the route of the journey
  • Constantly making progress

Intuitive, Smooth Controls

  • Give players controls to assist them in what they are trying to achieve – nothing is clumsy or confusing
  • Know that controls are there to help players achieve goals
  • Aware that the only barriers are players’ own skill in dealing with the obstacles presented

Clear Pacing and Narrative

  • Give drama, context and rhythm
  • Know “story” and be engaged in it
  • Experience is meaningful, not spurious

Progression, Variety and Challenge

  • Give something new to do/achieve
  • Know that there’s always something new coming up
  • Constantly encouraged to keep playing

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is there a formula for compelling experiences?

“Compelling experiences have 3 stages with 6 attributes”

Attraction then Engagement then Extension
defined – can you describe it?
fresh – does it startle, amaze or amuse?
immersive – can you lose yourself in it?
accessible – can you try it, can you get better at it?
significant – does it make you remember?
transformative – do you have something to show for it?

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would not could

Would you help me is more powerful and effective than could you help me…
Would focuses on willingness, could is more a question?

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digital pennies

“We can’t trade analog dollars for digital pennies.”NBC CEO Jeff Zucker,

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do you get tv the way you want it?

  • Time-Shifting is the Rule for Today’s Youth
  • Friends and Ads Heavily Influence Television Viewing
  • Teens Want to Purchase What They See
  • Make finding shows easier
  • Make search match the way they think
  • Add intelligence and make it personal
  • I want to save my shows
  • My shows need to move with me
  • I want to share my shows

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