Category Archives: Blog

Game-Based Learning as Professional Development

CUNY Games Network member Anders Wallace has a great post up on the blog of the CUNY Graduate Center’s Office of Career Planning and Professional Development about the ways that game-based learning can be professional development for faculty. In Game-Based Learning: from Teaching to Professional Development, Anders reviews GBL and discusses a workshop that the CUNY Games Network offered last year. He notes that:

One of the reasons most people turn to game-based learning (GBL) is that they want to enliven their classroom. This blog post discusses some reasons, benefits, and drawbacks for using game-based learning as part of your teaching practice. It also discusses some simple ways to get started, as well as some resources that can take you further should you find that your curiosity is piqued.

Head on over to the Office of Career Planning and Professional Development’s blog and read the whole piece!

Consuming My (Reading) Feed

I’m on a fellowship leave this semester and, while I’ve got a long list of research and writing to accomplish, there’s no denying that sabbatical has opened up more time in my schedule for reading. I admit I’ve been slacking somewhat on my games reading, and it’s been great to have a chance to catch up on game-based learning and game studies blogs and books.

Before I was a librarian I was an archaeologist, and I’m always interested in reading about gaming and archaeology or history. Play the Past is a group blog “dedicated to thoughtfully exploring and discussing the intersection of cultural heritage (very broadly defined) and games/meaningful play (equally broadly defined).” I’ve read the Play the Past blog intermittently for several years now and I’ve enjoyed the range of topics the blog team covers. The most recent post by Angela R. Cox tackles the challenges of studying and preserving games and play that is ephemeral, and should be of interest to historians, librarians, archaeologists, and museum studies folks, among others.

More recently I’ve stumbled upon the Archaeogaming blog, which covers “the archaeology both of and in video games (console, computer, mobile, etc.).” Archaeogaming is primarily written and maintained by Andrew Reinhard, though guest posts are also welcomed on the site, and posts have ranged from analysis of archaeological components of specific digital games, to discussions about video games at archaeology (and other cultural heritage) conferences, to the excavation of the “Atari Dump Site” in New Mexico a few years ago. This year Andrew has been blogging his PhD thesis research at the University of York, including sharing his bibliography and other preliminary notes.

I’m also a big fan of Not Your Mama’s Gamer, a group blog that aims to “combine feminist interrogation of games with the games community.” The NYMG bloggers discuss both physical and digital games, which fits well with our interests here at the CUNY Games Network and with my own interests, too. Posts cover a range of topics from those that are more analytical games studies pieces to discussions of game-based learning. I especially like the posts in the play with your kids category — they’re typically useful and thought-provoking both from the perspective of a parent/gamer and an educator/gamer. The blog is fairly high volume and I’m still working through my RSS backlog, I confess, but I’m glad to have more time to dig in here this semester.

What game-related blogs, books, and articles are you reading, either for yourself or for your courses (or for your students to read!)? Leave a comment and let us know!

Image by Ed Mitchell

Killing Me Softly: A Game of Microaggressions

It’s been quiet around here lately as all of the CUNY Games Network folks have been working on summer projects (or perhaps wandering the streets of NYC playing Pokemon Go?). I haven’t had as much time to game as I’d like, but a terrific serious game came my way the other day that I wanted to share.

Librarian Fobazi M. Ettarh just released her game Killing Me Softly: A game demonstrating how it feels to suffer microaggressions and acculturative stress day after day. Full disclosure: I playtested this game while Fobazi was developing it, and the final version is even better than the beta.

Killing Me Softly is a web-based text game that uses the Choose Your Own Adventure format to allow players to navigate through the lives of a character as they experience microaggressions, which are “commonly defined as brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults.” Players can choose one of two characters: Alex, a white, able-bodied, gay man with a large social circle; or Leslie, a Black, straight, disabled, woman who has a partner. As you move through Alex’s or Leslie’s days — including interactions with friends, coworkers, and strangers — you make choices that affect subsequent experiences and choices, choices that narrow as the microaggressions mount.

Like many serious games, Killing Me Softly does not have a happy ending — a happy ending isn’t the goal. This game does a fantastic job of showing how microaggressions are experienced and accumulate over the course of days, weeks, and months for many including people of color, LGBT+ folks, and disabled folks. It would be great as a teaching game — a single playthrough takes about 15 minutes, and playing through both characters multiple times effectively demonstrates that, while making choices about each character’s response leads to different outcomes initially, microaggressions are persistent. I highly recommend this game, why not head over to Killing Me Softly and give it a try?