Game-Creating Beings! They just get it!

Can I be one with a gamer? Well, according to the Big Bang, yes. Fr. Richard Rohr puts it like this:

Scientists tell me that everything was created in the Big Bang. There are the same number of atoms now as there were then. Nothing has died. Everything has simply been in 14 billion years of change—changing forms, but not substance. Nothing goes away. When you die, you don’t leave. There is no place to go to. This is it! You leave the encapsulation of this finite body which you and I take far too seriously because it’s the only one we have known. 

It is hard explaining to folks exactly what N-1 Games is really all about.  More often than not, people get a glazed over look when we talk about us. 

For me, N-1 Games has been a journey in healing every day. I get to work with brilliant people, both young and old. I have learned that gamers are not just folks who live in their basements, staring at Grand Theft Auto, but are, rather, self- taught, self -exploring, visionaries, who hold much of our future.  Gamers are beautiful beings who are very much one with everything.  

But do they get N-1 Games? Well, I personally have come to find out, that better than any other being, gamers get it.  

I was gob-smacked recently by a group who got it instantly. Their name, Schell Games*.  Yep, that’s right! Those beautiful game creating beings. We had a pretty extensive presentation to give them; however, less than half way in, this group simply jumped right in and started talking concepts and learning, using words like “transformational gaming” and “universal consciousness.” They immediately understood Full Awareness of Character and Essence (F.A.C.E), the Life Evolving Guidance System (L.E.G.S.), and Furthering Awareness of Consciousness Experiencing Transformation (F.A.C.E.T.).  

The Schell Games’ team easily soaked up the concept, and completely dove in with questions of exploration… not only questions about the game, but of themselves and the different levels of consciousness we all live in. 

N-1 Games will be first in the industry to incorporate growth through gaming in the mind, heart, and body, bringing total balance and a true sense of universal consciousness to the players. Schell Games is unique in that they create not only games of learning, but of growth and transformation. The universe could not have set up a better match!

These game-creating beings really get it. Thanks, Schell Games, for once again showing me that we are all truly ONE.  AND just getting it!

* http://www.schellgames.com/

 
 
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Dr. Deborah Ooten
From the moment I stepped off the plane in South Korea, I felt held, supported, loved and nurtured.  I was met at the Incheon Airport by the South Korean IEA president, Mi Hwa Kim, and her daughter.  They are both incredibly loving individuals.  They greeted me with warm hearts and lots of information, both of which helped to ease the transition from the gruesomely long flight.  The first couple of nights of my stay, I was at the AvenTree Hotel in the historic district.  It was the absolute perfect experience of history, tradition, and nightlife filled with great food and wonderful touches of their culture.  I was able to experience a Traditional Temple meal at a beautiful restaurant/museum.  Several women shared traditional dress and dance with us all.  There is such amazing beauty in their traditions…

There is also much sadness in this culture.  The South Koreans are among the highest to engage in what they call “self-dying” or suicide as we refer to taking one’s own life.  At dinner on the last evening I was in town, a very affluent woman explained that the country has grown too quickly, causing great turmoil to them.  She is an artist, preserving the past traditions.  She feels very anxious that her art will not sell and is naturally cautious about entering into the face-paced life of business in South Korea.  After all, she is a housewife and mother.  How she was able, she says, to find her own voice was that she was desperately looking and exploring the enneagram, Spiral Dynamics and her life through those lenses, but still felt very sad with a great sense of longing.  

Meeting her and others, I experienced the culture as a mix of steady tradition (blue meme) and very advanced technology and immense wealth (orange meme).  Everyone seemed to be rushing from one place to the next, and it appeared that hard work and working hard were definitely requirements for survival.  

After a couple of days, we moved to Times Square Marriott, which was a welcomed sight for this weary traveler.  The rooms were large enough in which to spread out.  Double beds, not twins, with extra space to hang and store clothes, as well as purchases made, made for more comfort and better organization.  The Marriott was much more “Americanized” and almost everyone in the hotel spoke fluent English.  However, again, I was overwhelmed with the sadness that lay just underneath the surface beneath the smiles and “nice” interactions.  What I came to understand was that the traditions were suffocating the longing independence which most of the more affluent in the society were seeking.  


 
 
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By Tanner Higgin, Graphite

When I was in school, game-based learning was a novelty. This was the era of Math Blaster!, Lemonade Stand and Oregon Trail, when game-based learning meant digitized practice problems or clunky, paper-thin simulations. Still, my classmates and I liked these games. For many of us, this was the only exposure we got to video games outside of arcades. Even as consoles increasingly took up residence in living rooms, computer games still felt special–just a bit more advanced and interesting.

But when my family got a computer, something changed. The edutainment we’d play in computer labs were still a nice spark in a typical school day, but the games felt different. What we were playing at school felt out of touch and out of step, not just in style and polish, but also in what they asked the player to do. While Oregon Trail might offer the appearance of a history lesson, it’s hard to convince a kid of that when she’s going home and designing a metropolis in SimCity, or adding another page to her notebook full of hand-drawn Metroid maps.

Game-based learning, and the developers who identify with it today, have come a long way since then and gotten much closer to closing the gap. And there’s still a need to communicate core content through games, a need that the consumer market just doesn’t have incentive to fill. Yet at Common Sense Graphite, when we evaluate games for learning, what we find is that many of the highest scoring ‘learning’ games aren’t aimed at the educational market. They’re more at-home, consumer-oriented games. Because these games are free from the constraints of school standards and traditional curriculum, they flourish, featuring rich cross-disciplinary and truly 21st century learning experiences.

Here are just a few favorites that reviewed well on Graphite this year:


Never Alone

There’s little debate that games have not represented indigenous cultures well. As a result, it’s been best for students to learn about topics like Native America via traditional means. Never Alone, however, sets a precedent for respectful representation of indigenous people. It was co-developed with native Alaskans, and it illuminates Inupiat stories, themes and values, weaving into play important concepts like interconnectedness and valuable skills like cooperation. Best of all, it features documentary-style videos of the Inupiat people who provide first person context for the conceptual and cultural learning embedded in the game.

Valiant Hearts

Look no further than the aforementioned Oregon Trail for an example of how tough it’s been to teach history well through games. That’s because it’s next to impossible to beat a good book or primary source material when digging into the details of the past. Valiant Hearts doesn’t try to simulate World War I or overwhelm the player with facts; instead, it tells a deeply affecting story that builds empathy, contextualizes the war, and, most importantly, offers a thought-provoking critique of war itself. And when it does offer facts and primary materials, they’re extensions–collectibles, really–that end up being far more palatable to players given the story-first approach that invests player’s in finding out more.

My intention here isn’t to argue that games have learning value. Educators don’t need convincing of this. Rather, what these three ostensibly ‘non-educational’ games show us is that there are many more options out there than we realize; we just need to shift out perspectives on what learning looks like. Our students already have, we just need to catch up.

Tanner Higgin is Senior Manager, Education Content at Common Sense Education, a nonprofit organization and creator of Graphite ™, a free service that helps educators find the best edtech tools, learn best practices for teaching with edtech, and connect with expert educators.  This post is part of a series featuring highly rated games on Graphite. Go to Graphite to read the full reviews of games and find out how teachers use them for learning in class.