Can Video Games Teach Values?
Since founding XEODesign in 1992 Nicole's design and research has improved over 40 million player experiences, including several popular franchises for casual audiences such as three of the Myst Series, Diner Dash, GoPets, Cosmopolitan Virtual Makeover, Mavis Beacon teaches Typing, Jeopardy Online, as well as creativity coaching for the designers of The Sims.
Question: How have you attempted to integrate social values into video games?
Nicole Lazzaro: Absolutely. Yeah, so Tilt is a game, and basically it’s Tilt Flip's Adventure in 1.5 Dimensions and it’s an experience on the iPhone. What we’ve done is the story starts with Flip who crawls out of this polluted ooze that was once Shady Glen and decides to take on this toxic green blight cloud by eating carbon out of the air and gathering water and seeds to replant the forest and Flip is just a tiny little lizardy, you know, kind of froggy chameleon kind of character and can really only move and, you know, in four directions, so it can only have four positions and what we did was we created this, so all you do to… There are no buttons in the game. All you do is tilt the game. You just tilt the iPhone to control it and Flip gathers, you know, water and seeds and eats pollution, and what we found is that we wanted to really capitalize on… or give people the opportunity to express themselves kind of like the Powers of 10 video, if you seen that, IAMS animation where you go from really small to being like way out towards Saturn and then go back down again and we wanted to give players the experience of the power of tiny actions, so if I just you know to make a simple choice between say paper and plastic you know today or I turn off my light switch then you actually… those… you want to see how those decisions add up to a global experience of play and so we’ve got a single player layer for the game where you go through 12 scenes or 60 levels to the game and then you can… all of your Tilt points are geo-coded to where you can earn them. So you can actually have on a global scale we can have different continents and different regions you know competing and cooperating against each other, so we you know North America going against China and then in the real world we take it one step further where you can actually take… do an action in the real world like you change your light bulbs and you or… you know you might use your… reduce your carbon footprint or you know and start a recycling program or an educational program and if you were to share that with… on social media with your friends with the tag for the game the game will actually scrape that and you earn credit for it in the game. So you can basically do stuff in the real world and through the miracle of social media you actually do better in the game. So we take it all the way up to that… to a real world experience to make the world a better place and it’s all through game play.
Recorded on February 16, 2010
Interviewed by Austin Allen
Nicole Lazzaro explains how she’s trying to reconcile fun gameplay with a social message. (And, as a bonus, drops a reference to nerd-film classic "The Powers of Ten.")
If you're lacking confidence and feel like you could benefit from an ego boost, try writing your life story.
In truth, so much of what happens to us in life is random – we are pawns at the mercy of Lady Luck. To take ownership of our experiences and exert a feeling of control over our future, we tell stories about ourselves that weave meaning and continuity into our personal identity.
What do the inventions of the future look like?
- Self-sustaining space colonies and unlimited fusion energy would bring humanity to a new point in our evolution.
- Flying cars and robot butlers could be the next paradigm shift in our tech appetite for change.
- Death and consensus reality might soon become obsolete.
A space memorial company plans to launch the ashes of "Pikachu," a well-loved Tabby, into space.
- Steve Munt, Pikachu's owner, created a GoFundMe page to raise money for the mission.
- If all goes according to plan, Pikachu will be the second cat to enter space, the first being a French feline named Felicette.
- It might seem frivolous, but the cat-lovers commenting on Munt's GoFundMe page would likely disagree.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.