Archive for the ‘video games’ category

If you want to know how good the iPad is, ask a 2-year-old

April 6th, 2010

A lot of people are commenting about the new Apple iPad, its pros and cons, and whether or not it was designed well. You can read professional reviews from people like Walt Mossberg, browse through video reviews on YouTube, or opt for a different type of review – one from a toddler. Kids these days are often more savvy than their parents, but a lot can be said about good user-interface design if a two-year-old girl can figure out how to work the iPad.

In this post by Todd Lappin, he points out that his iPhone-savvy daughter was able to figure out how to scroll between screens and run apps.

What’s even more impressive is her ability to see the iPad’s potential as a video-display device and her criticism that it doesn’t come with a camera. She even goes as far as talking about its potential as a gaming device.

There were a few things she struggled with, however. As Lappin notes:

On the downside, she had the same frustration as many adults, where touching the screen-edge with your thumb while holding the iPad blocks input to all home screen icons. Notice also that she was confused by the splash page for FirstWords Animals, her favorite spelling game: Because the start button looked like a graphic, rather than a conventional button, she couldn’t figure out how to start the game.

Kids who grow up in the touchscreen world are clearly able to pick up gadgets like the iPad quickly, and it’s this ease of use Apple should be capitalizing on in advertising. Think about it: If the iPad is going to be a next-gen book reader, Apple should be showcasing its ease of use for older generations intimidated by this type of technology, as well as parents who think they’re just a waste of time.

After all, kids in tech ads worked for Microsoft.

Video: How gamers can save the world

March 19th, 2010

This is not quite the usual post for this site, as I’m not sure how many of you are keen followers of the gaming world, but it’s something I found to be very interesting and it does involve a form of media that is exploding in popularity, so I figured it was worth bringing to your attention.

I came across a speech by Jane McGonigal from the TED Conference in Long Beach, California, and it’s really interesting to see how gaming and gamers could potentially change the world.

For those of you not familiar with TED, it stands for “Technology, Entertainment, Design,” three subject areas that are shaping the future. Every year, some of the world’s greatest thinkers gather at TED to share their ideas.

In this talk (embedded below), game designer Jane McGonigal looks at how games like World of Warcraft give players the means to save worlds, and “incentive to learn the habits of heroes.” She examines what would happen if gamer power could be used to solve real-world problems.

A quick bio before the video:

McGonigal directs game R&D at the Institute for the Future, a nonprofit forecasting firm where she developed Superstruct, a massively multiplayer game in which players organize society to solve for issues that will confront the world in 2019. She masterminded World Without Oil, which simulated the beginning of a global oil crisis and inspired players to change their daily energy habits. McGonigal also works with global companies to develop games that build on our collective-intelligence infrastructure – like The Lost Ring, a mystery game for McDonald’s that became the world’s biggest alternate reality game, played by more than 5 million people.