My initial reaction to discovering the Tapper patent was that it seemed like a hilarious parody. There are many silly patents, but this patent isn't silly in only the usual way, that it proposes an invention where I'm skeptical patent protection is really in order. It reads parodically because it seems to be describing the wrong thing entirely: It takes the formal structure of a patent, which is most at home when describing machines and other devices, and uses it to write a strange kind of g...
Arcade games such as Pac-Man, Asteroids, Tempest, Gauntlet, and the like are not useless to the gamifying teacher. Rather, their use is limited . . . and their usefulness makes them more akin to board games than contemporary video games. What is Pac-Man but a game of pattern management? Gauntlet is as much about resource management as anything else. These are notions that were discussed in the previous level. So, don’t exclude the value of the old-school video game . . . but don’t equate ...
What you eventually discover as you continue to play is that Portal is a
game about escaping from rooms that operate according to rules you are unaware
of. You learn that each room is a puzzle, increasingly booby-trapped,
and the game requires you to understand more and more complex physics in
order to get out. If you don’t teach yourself the physics of each new room—
that is, if you don’t learn the rules of the game—you’ll be stuck there forever,
listening to the AI system repeat h...
As you successfully lock in Tetris puzzle pieces, you get three kinds of feedback:
visual—you can see row after row of pieces disappearing with a satisfying
poof; quantitative—a prominently displayed score constantly ticks upward;
and qualitative—you experience a steady increase in how challenging the
This variety and intensity of feedback is the most important difference
between digital and nondigital games. In computer and video games, the interactive
loop is satisfyingly...