Gah, it ate my long glorious and wellcrafted post
Here goes in a few sentence re-recreation: Most of the time, we don’t want to think about technology. In fact, we want to forget about technology. And essentially, we mostly succeed – good technology is like a good toaster: interactions as simple as possible, desired outcome achieved, don’t know and don’t care how it works. What could be better.
This gets more interesting in thinking about computing. Operating Systems are a hard problem, for example. We all use them, we all notice when they DON’T work, but by and large we don’t think about them. They are created by people, usually a lot of people, none of which the general public can name, nor do they particularly care. But kids are even more interesting: to them, the computer (there is no distinction between an OS and the physical machine) just *exists*. It just kind of sprang into being fully formed and capable of performing certain actions. The rest of us are satisfied if our email is sent, we can browse our pictures, and our bread isn’t completely black on the edges. This is one example of something that happens over and over again: oh, here’s an iPod. Apple made it. But never a *someone* at apple, never a team of engineers that have families that play frisbee or struggle with learning to play the violin or that eat more donuts than they should whilst skipping the veggies.
But games are different – from the earliest possible interactions with a game, we understand that games are a *created artifact*. Someone made it. Someone made it to tell a story, to provide you with a certain experience, to entertain you. It was *authored* specifically. Which then immediately brings to the forefront of imagining oneself creating these types of games, and thus the phenomenon of games as a motivator to the study of technology: you can’t create modern games without technology, and so the motivation to create and extend the experiences that are currently relevant in today’s media ecology becomes the motivation to figure out why and how your toaster works, at least to the extent necessary to do what you want to do.
How do we capitalize on this basic ‘even a 3 year old gets it’ understanding of games as created artifact in designing our system? How do we constantly put forward the notion that games, as a designed experience, constantly challenge us to understand all of the components necessary for that experience in order to produce elegant and thoughtful designs that express the authors intent?