As part my Social Media Class, we were instructed to explore a popular game and share our experiences afterwards. I must admit that this is one of the most entertaining homeworks I have ever done. I mentioned briefly to a couple of friends about my assignment and not surprisingly the response I received was “What? You need to play a game for homework ?” , not knowing of course the deeper meaning and purpose of gaming which is something I didn’t know earlier myself. I have never been into games, except when I was really young, and I used to play some of the first games on one of the first computers which were quite wide-spread in my country and Eastern Europe at the time. They were called Pravetz, the most popular being Pravetz Series 8, Bulgarian-made clones of Apple 2 series which were produced in the town of Pravetz , located not too far from the capital, Sofia, where I grew up. A bit out of the topic, but I wanted to share where my gaming experience started. Below are a couple of photos of these ancient computers , which were however very popular back in the days in Eastern Europe and some Arab countries where they were exported. The first one is of the Pravetz 8 and the second of its Pravetz 16.
And in case you get curious about this you can visit the Pravetz virtual museum, which is exactly where they belong to. Anyway, one of these computers I used to play one of the first versions of Super Mario and Moon Patrol. Digger and Tetris were also some of my favorite ones. Since then there was a very long gap before I played again.
Back in 2010 I am about to rediscover the world of gaming which has certainly evolved so much that it would even exceed my imagination. I started with Second Life. A few easy steps for a free account and here I am – Ms. Fingerpin. I am now “in world”. There is so much to learn and explore out there, like I said it’s hard to even imagine, but let’s start with the basics – customizing my avatar. I watched video tutorials on how exactly to do this so it was quite easy and enjoyable. I could’ also go shopping for hip clothing, which I skipped as I didn’t have any L$ or Linden Dollars, the currency used in the Second Life world. But if I did , the place to do so would be XStreet which is basically the marketplace. Then I went to the destination guide where I had to choose a destination for my avatar to wander.
Alice in Wonderland being one of my favorite fairy tales and also with the recent release of Tim Burton’s movie , I decided to take a journey into Lewis Carol’s world. The design was absolutely amazing! You hop on a gondola and dive into Alice’s world. The gondola itself out as a black and white checked car and changes colors as you ride. The seats are made of playing cards. First you get to ride by the Mad Hatter’s Tea party. Then you pass by the Queen of Hearts and her king. The floor resembles a chess board. Of course , you also encounter well known heroes such as the White Rabbit and Humpty Dumpty … I spent more time here than I had planned to.
I had a very fun time and I can certainly understand how it can get addictive. But I also know that besides for fun games serve much more serious purposes, not only for advertising, but also for social causes. Here is a speech by Jane McGonigal, a game designer, on TED 2010 and how she believes games can make the world a better place. What do you think?