GlaDoS Flunks Flunking Spore

For Digital Game-Based Learning class, we write up reflections on different readings, with a word limit of 250 words. This time, we had to pick a favorite video game character, and do the reflections through them. I chose GlaDoS from Portal.

GlaDoS, always voiced with an indifferent tone, is the machine/AI antagonist of Portal, whose goal is to pursue knowledge and science, regardless of the cost. Her approaches are very precise and scientific.

Readings:

Bohannon, J. (2008). Flunking Spore. Science, 322(5901). Retrieved January
11, 2009 from http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/322/5901/531b

Halverson, R. (2005). What can K-12 school leaders learn from video games
and gaming? Innovate, 1(6). Retrieved January 11, 2009 from
http://www.innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=81

Disclaimer:

I don’t own GlaDoS nor Portal. I’m doing a interpretation of what my personal interpretation of a character would react when reading these articles. So, I may or may not agree to this, but surely you can see GlaDoS’s point.

Reflection:

I did not expect the researchers to perform science properly. They will be baked, and do not get cake. I have run 7,379,648,689 experiments and each goal was evaluated the most thorough of methods. Spore’s goal is purely an entertainment use, one to encourage small humans create virtual objects and share them to other small humans online, allowing the developers to profit.
When I make a neat gun, do I use data about guns and run rigorous tests about a gun, or evaluate the pretty colors a gun can make? Evaluating Spore means measuring how engaged test subjects were, how compelled they were to continue playing the game, and monitoring how much money would the test subject spend on it. Evaluating the shiny colors, and as such, evaluating the educational relevance of a game that has monetary and not educational ones, is useless data.
I, having infinite knowledge, have calculated exactly how to redesign Spore to better suit the educational needs of evolutionary biology, space science, and sociology. Such an endeavor is statistically useless, as I already know everything. To prove how silly those researchers sound, though, I would design Spore to have game mechanics tying into concepts like natural selection, similar to a learner-centered approach. Either that or experimentally incorporate game mechanics into a test subject’s learning environment, one by one, experimentally. I calculate I would need 7,532,537 experiments to thoroughly assess all possible gaming mechanics, but I would end up with point of data making a beautiful line.

Posted in Digital Game-Based Learning, Reading Reflections

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