Let me begin by saying thank you to all the presenters, participants, and attendees of the inaugural CUNY Games Festival! We’re pretty darn pleased with how it turned out and hope to see you at the next one.
I received a few questions from educators during the conference about game mechanics–specifically, how to learn more about them. It’s true that having a wide breadth of knowledge about mechanics can only serve to improve your ability to make games, and although it might be best to learn about mechanics by playing more games, I have definitely found Board Game Geek’s Encyclopedia of mechanics to be helpful. And so I share it with you!
In case all the ideas on this website aren’t enough, I just found a great blog that gives you a steady stream of cool classroom ideas, mostly for elementary school, but I already see a couple I can modify to use in my community college classroom. The author is Mike Perry, and he taught high school math, but many of the games will work with any subject. http://classroomgamesandtech.blogspot.com/
For example, here’s a game called “This or that” that would work well as an ice breaker in any class at the start of the year: http://www.prometheanplanet.com/en-us/Resources/Item/92529/this-or-that-game
In a way, it could be argued that most games teach business concepts, insofar as a great many games center on resource-management. Games as divergent as chess, Monopoly, poker, and even baseball (think about deploying the right players in the right situations) require players to manage limited resources to effect the best possible results. Add to that the fact that the business classroom already has a long history of using games in the classroom–how many of us played the Stock Market Games in introductory economics?–and you might wonder if there is anything new that game designers can offer to business curricula.
With the new emphasis on business ethics in universities, I would submit that the McDonalds Game can offer a great deal for a business class to discuss in terms of balancing the desire for profit with ethical behavior.
The goal of McVideoGame is simple: generate as much profit as possible. Of course, too much ethically questionable behavior–like deforesting old-growth forests or serving meat from diseased cows–is bad for business, so you want to do right just enough of the time to avoid irrevocably bad PR, and spin the rest away through advertising campaigns.
You play the game until you lose–a la Space Invaders–but the point the game tries to make comes across even without a single, full play-through. Still, playing through can be very instructive. When I played the game, I lost even though I was turning a profit for the company. My problem? I wasn’t making enough of a profit. Played it with a little too much of a conscious for the executives’ taste!