Archive for October, 2008

advice : how to tell good stories

  • Know Your Audience. It doesn’t matter how many stories you know. What’s important is selecting the right one for your crowd. Choose one that best reflects their mood.
  • Be Yourself. Every story has a little bit of you in it, because you chose it. Tell one that you really enjoy and are itching to share.
  • Take Risks. Storytelling is an organic art. Don’t be afraid to play with the style and delivery of your story, even in the middle of a performance.
  • Listen. It’s the only way to connect with your audience, learn new stories, and improve your skills.
  • Breathe. Work on your own breathing, posture, and gestures. A lot of storytellers move too quickly because they’re nervous. Make every move deliberate.
  • Don’t Practice by Yourself. Professional storytellers improve delivery by rehearsing in front of many different people.


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human beings like to be right

“…human beings like to be right. If you persuade yourself and your friends that times are really tough and that you’re bound to fail, you’ll probably do the things you need to do to make that true in the long run. “
Seth Godin

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parallels betweens games and web communities

Game mechanics applied to web communities;

  1. collecting stuff
  2. feedback and game status
  3. obstacles and resources
  4. dynamic difficulty adjustment
  5. customization
  6. social interaction and competition
  7. quick games and games in games
  8. randomness and luck
  9. rewards
  10. spectators

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design language : the treadmill

On scheduled rewards;

“MMO’s have empty gameplay but keep players hooked with constant fake rewards (“the Treadmill”)”

Jonathan Blow

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some research on girls and gaming

Sheri Graner Ray of Sirenia Software, Inc;

When designing games for the girls market you should take into consideration some of the basic “differences” in males and females. Some of the big ones I use are: Stimulation, Conflict Resolution, Reward, and Learning Style

(WARNING – broad population generalities being talked about here. Obviously not every one fits into these categories)


  • Males are visually stimulated meaning when given a visual stimulus they will experience a physiological response: increased heart rate, increased respiration, increased perspiration.
  • Females, while appreciating visual stimuli, do not experience the same physiological response. They react physiologically to tactile input and emotional input.

Conflict Resolution:

  • Males will choose to resolve conflict in a head-to-head confrontation manner; pushing for a win/lose situation. The “victory” is what is important.
  • Females will chose a non-confrontation method to resolve the conflict. This may include negotiation, compromise, diplomacy and manipulation. They will take their opponents feelings into consideration.


  • Males will accept the physiological “rush” of the visual stimulus as the reward. They want the “victory.”
  • Females want an “emotional resolution” but do not necessarily require a “victory.”

Learning style:

  • Men learn by doing.

And some general market research

  • Research on girls’ experiences with technology, and their feelings about computer games, has yielded the following findings. Young girls dislike intense competition, and find typical computer games to be boring.
  • Some studies found that girls dislike violent and aggressive game themes, while other studies show that girls are simply bored by violent games due to their repetitious nature.
  • Girls reportedly complain about the lack of game characters they can identify with, and the lack of story or narrative.
  • On the basis of findings such as these, researchers hypothesize that girls enjoy games that include many different activities, social interaction on the screen and between players, challenges, group problem-solving and cooperation, and realistic game settings as opposed to fantasy settings.
  • Females want to know how it works before trying it.

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reward me. reward me. reward me.

Has the trend to market heavily to kids/teens changed their requirement and expectation from rewards? Is it necessary to provide more rewards, bigger or more extravagant rewards to saturated kids?

Parents have been rewarding their kids for just showing up. These teens have grown thinking everything they touch is perfect. Even marketers have rewarded teens with free stuff for just coming to the site, walking in the store or walking by a rep on the street. Marketers need to learn to give rewards for free, but also teach teens not to expect it every time. Sharon Lee of Look-Look talked about the need for brands to stay engaged (beyond just freebies).”

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variety of experiences in 1 product

Peter Shafer, of Harris Interactive presented some interesting findings. In a survey of 1300 kids aged 8-18:

– Ease of use is important when it comes to toys, especially among girls
– Kids see the learning value in toys, but it’s not their primary objective
– They want a variety of experiences from one product
– Kids are very brand and platform aware. It’s not specific games for them, but rather Nintendo or Wii.

Don’t promise what you can’t deliver. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek psych professor, Temple University and author of Einstein Never Used Flashcards, told the industry: “Please guys, take brain growth off the packaging. Bilingualism from a mobile? No, that doesn’t happen”

Parent-child interaction is key to play, several experts said. Deborah Linebarger of the University of Pennsylvania recommends that being built into products.

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