Will Wright speaks at NYU about “Why Games are (Good) for Learning”
Visionary game designer and simulation extraordinaire Will Wright will be discussing “Why Games are (Good) for Learning” on Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 6:00pm - 7:00pm in the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. This event hosted by the Games for Learning Institute and co-hosted by Microsoft Research, The NYU Game Center, and Games for Change, is open to the public. Complimentary tickets are available by contacting email@example.com (limit 2 per person).
“Will Wright was given a ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ at the Game Developers Choice Awards in 2001. In 2002, he became the fifth person to be inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences' Hall of Fame. Until 2006, he was the only person to have been honored this way by both of these industry organizations. In 2007 the British Academy of Film and Television Arts awarded him a fellowship, the first given to a game designer. He has been called one of the most important people in gaming, technology, and entertainment by publications such as Entertainment Weekly, Time, PC Gamer, Discover and GameSpy. Wright was also awarded the PC Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award in January 2005.” [source: Wikipedia]
“A technical virtuoso with boundless imagination, Will Wright has created a style of computer gaming unlike any that came before, emphasizing learning more than losing, invention more than sport. With his hit game SimCity, he spurred players to make predictions, take risks, and sometimes fail miserably, as they built their own virtual urban worlds. With his follow-up hit, The Sims, he encouraged the same creativity toward building a household, all the while preserving the addictive fun of ordinary video games. His most recent game, Spore, evolves an entire universe from a single-celled creature.
Wright's genius is for presenting vital abstract principles -- like evolution, differences of scale, and environmental dynamics -- through a highly personalized, humorous kind of play. Users invest themselves passionately in characters they create (with Wright's mind-boggling CG tools), and then watch them encounter fundamentals of life and nature. If it all sounds suspiciously educational, well, it just might be. Wright has created not just an irresistible form of entertainment, but an ingenious, original pedagogy.
In 2009, he left publisher Electronic Arts to form his own think tank for the future of games, toys and entertainment, the Stupid Fun Club.” [source: TED]
The multi-institutional Games for Learning Institute (G4LI), co-directed by Ken Perlin (Courant) and Jan L. Plass (Steinhardt) is a joint research endeavor of Microsoft Research and a consortium of universities. The partners include Columbia University, the City University of New York (CUNY), Dartmouth College, Parsons, Polytechnic Institute of NYU, the Rochester Institute of Technology, Chile’s Pontifical Catholic University, and Teachers College as well as NYU. The Institute’s aim is to identify design patterns for effective educational games that industry partners can draw on to assure high quality when designing their own games for learning. G4LI's current focus is on games that teach science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to middle-school students.