Warcraft, Portal and the scientific habit of mind

Tomas has written a new article on the Wellcome Trust blog looking at the scientific habit of mind and how games like Warcraft and Portal can help with this:

I believe that the scientific habit of can be widely found within gaming. All video games present the player with a virtual space to be explored. The laws of nature within that space start as a mystery to the player and they must engage in a series of trial-and-error experiments to probe and understand that world and gradually build up a predictive model of how this virtual world operates and how the player can thrive within. This ‘gameplay’ is akin to the scientific method. In Portal 2, for example, the player finds themselves in a room and must solve its puzzles in order to exit. Puzzles take the form of an increasingly complex series of switches, lasers, locks, springs and fluids. To assist the player in solving each puzzle, they are equipped with a ‘portal gun’ – a device that fires two connected portals that allow objects, lasers, people and more to pass between two points.

Full article. (Past articles for Wellcome include one on the game 'Deus Ex:Human Revolution')

MyUK Launches to Teach Parliamentary Democracy

Tomas has written about a new game expereince amied at young people;

There is an interesting game/experience application by the Parliamentary Education Service and Preloaded called 'MyUK' just gone live.  Its aimed at young people and is about teaching them the core ideas of parliamentary democracy.  I did have a look at a beta version of this while doing a bit of work with the PES, so its great to see it out in the wild.  It has lots of fun little mini-games within a wrapper about running your own political party.  One of the things I like about it, is that there are elements of compromise in the overall experience, something important in the democratic process but that rarely feature in games, which are about winning or losing.