Wednesday, 1 August 2012

The power of playing and power of instruction

I've discovered myself rather busy this week and my creative energy directed elsewhere. On one hand, I've been playing, recording, editing, uploading further bits of my Noobvision Goggles thing. On the other hand I've got quite a bit of workstuff scheduled. In other words all the semi-theoretical musings regarding learning, playing, education and where they all overlap I've stored as bookmarks and notes will probably remain as notes for the moment.

Then again, when I read great stories that other people have written, I still want to spam them on. (Sidenote: my personal use of the verb "spam" goes something like "spread stuff I've enjoyed without provocation and just for the sake of it") So, today I read these two stories by Kate Cox on Kotaku that I immediately wanted to spread on. Both stories explored the learning aspect of gaming - and did so through very different perspectives.

In the first story she told about her own experience with the forgotten or unknown interface elements. I've lived through the "I know what I'm expected to do but I'm stuck at the obviously-very-obvious controls" situation plenty of times myself and also learned to appreciate the power of tooltips. And then there's the
value of learning the hard way that often comes with the Controls Confusion:
There's something to be said for learning by trial and error; the mistake that cost me half my soldiers is not one I will easily forget. But I will be a lot more appreciative the next time I sit down to play a complicated game and I can actually see what the buttons do. It's much easier to take options that you actually know you have.

In the second article she tells the story of one journey (literally as well as metaphorically) from clueless to competent. Here the most important idea is that of support and guidance - one that enables true learning and in effect unleashes beauty and power. (I'm going to sneak in a longer quote because I just enjoyed reading it so very much.)

In Journey, a white scarf player is someone who has found everything the game has to offer: every glyph, every secret. /.../ The white scarf player is a guide.
While we hung back, wanting to let E discover her own path, White Scarf carefully and patiently guided her through a number of levels. With no hands to gesture and no language to speak, White Scarf shepherded her through danger, let her explore, and was there to help her find the treasures of knowledge.
Like a parent, White Scarf helped E through the hard parts, and yet stood back when she was figuring it out on her own. He guided her to shelter when she couldn't yet do it for herself, and taught her how to manage independently. He helped her fly, and then let her take wing.

the phrase "beauty and power" was a quote/reference. From here:

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