Not a Player

March 16, 2008

So, I tried out some of the games at persuasive games this weekend. I played Points of Entry, Bacteria Salad, Airport Security, and The Howard Dean for Iowa games. Now, it’s kind of embarrassing to admit, but I either couldn’t figure them out or just plain stunk. I am not a gamer. In fact, I was extremely nervous and agitated while trying to play the games. I was just stressed out and felt like an idiot since they made no sense. For me Points of Entry was the easiest to understand. You just cycle through qualifications for immigration to the United States. Each item such as education or knowledge of English has a certain point score. You need to beat your opponent, the computer, and let in more immigrants. The problem, it just wasn’t fun. I think the time limit just makes me uncomfortable. I felt rushed in going through the qualifications. Does the point get across? Yes, I think it does. I learned what were considered the most important details in an immigrants background according to some proposed immigration legislation. There were also links in another tab to New York Times articles related to the subject. If I was used to playing video games I might have gotten more out of it.

The next game Bacteria Salad just baffled me. I had not idea how to play it at all. If it was trying to relay the point that the larger the farm you have the harder it is to keep watch on your crops it worked I guess. I just had no idea about what was going on. As for Airport Security I also couldn’t play the game. I kept clicking on the wrong clothing items and before I knew it all of my people were naked. I don’t think you can undo it if you remove the wrong article of clothing. It just made me nervous to the extreme. I’m sure it got its point across that in the world of security what is allowed is always changing and it’s hard to keep up with guidelines. I can see how the lines got longer and less clothed. I’m sure everyone out there is thanking their lucky stars that I am not a security gaurd. As for The Howard Dean for Iowa game I had the same problems. If I was knowledgeable about video games it would have had more impact on me. I might have been able to make a difference in the primaries. I just couldn’t figure out how to move my lady with the sign to wave it at other people. 

One game that I do like, please try not the laugh, is Typer Shark on Popcap. Basically, a bunch of sharks and piranhas swim by with words on them that you have to type before they eat you. I’m an okay typist so I can do really well when I play this game. In fact, I was gaining lives and doing great until the keyboard on the computer that I was using went kaput. I even did a little experiment. My fiance, who is an avid video game player, tried the airport security game. He did great. No one was wandering around naked after he got through with them. I think he was even enjoying it. When he watched me play my lack of skill even made him become nervous. I then made him try Typer Shark and he bombed. It was just not fun for him at all.

So, in conclusion, I am not a player. Though, before I go, in the spirit of full disclosure I should mention that Pac Man always stressed me out since I don’t like being chased after.

Oh, before I forget, here’s my quick take on Second Life. I thought it really seemed silly at first. I mean who is going to spend hard earned cash to clothe a computer figure? To me this just doesn’t make much sense. When I read about how people are able to conduct meetings, teach students or listen to concerts I was able to understand how it might be useful to me. It would be a good way to video conference with a lot of people at the same time. The people are animated characters but behind the keyboards are real people listening and learning. I like this concept. It also seems less stressful than other online games.