Sunday, August 22, 2010

How Videogames Trained a Generation of Athletes

Wired Magazine

Just before he reached the end zone, with 17 seconds remaining, Stokley cut right at 90 degrees and ran across the field. Six seconds drained off the clock before, at last, he meandered across the goal line to score the winning touchdown. For certain football fans, the excitement of a last-minute comeback now commingled with the shock of the familiar: It’s hard to think of a better example of a professional athlete doing something so obviously inspired by the tactics of videogame football. When I caught up with Stokley by telephone a few weeks later, I asked him point-blank: “Is that something out of a videogame?” “It definitely is,” Stokley said. “I think everybody who’s played those games has done that” — run around the field for a while at the end of the game to shave a few precious seconds off the clock. Stokley said he had performed that maneuver in a videogame “probably hundreds of times” before doing it in a real NFL game. “I don’t know if subconsciously it made me do it or not,” he said.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

When Playing Videogames At Work Makes Dollars And Sense


In most workplaces playing videogames will get you fired. But at some companies it may actually get you promoted.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Communicate Hope: Using Games and Play to Improve Productivity

As the demographics of the workplace shift and more employees actively play games outside of work, the opportunity to use games to improve productivity expands. Organizations can leverage the appeal of game play, game theory, and competition to attract discretionary effort and increase productivity. Productivity games do not require a multi-million dollar first person shooter high graphics development effort – but can be rudimentary, with limited investment – and still yield tremendous results – particularly when compared with Six Sigma, TQM, and other tradition business process improvement initiatives. Communicate Hope is a productivity game in use at Microsoft to help encourage pre-release usage and product feedback for Office Communicator.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

How 'Gamestorming' May Change the Way We Work

IT Business Edge

Gamestorming encourages a quicker and more democratic way of working than most of us are used to. Visualization, improvisation, good listening and language skills become more important than they have been in the past, which may be a challenge for many folks. One key is not forcing it. Says Gray:

It's an approach to work that's about engaging people in collaboratory activities. It's not a game if people are forced to play, so you need to have people and projects that stir people's curiosity and emotion.

Gamestorming won't work in every work environment. It's a good way to try out different scenarios and test the results. While the approach is great for fostering creative energy and innovation, it isn't useful for work that demands a predictable, consistent approach. Says Gray:

You don't want people playing too many games in the accounting department.

Unlike factories or other workplaces where folks are engaged in highly visible tasks, many knowledge workers have trouble envisioning how their work fits into a bigger strategic picture. Gamestorming offers a way to help overcome this lack of transparency and the cubicle layouts common in many offices, which aren't exactly conducive to collaborating with coworkers.