News

Will Wright to speak at NYU about “Why Games are (Good) for Learning”

Posted by: Tina at 1/29/2010 3:35 PM
If you’re in New York, or intrigued enough by the headline to fly over to New York by the 17th of February, you’ll want to stop by the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.

Thanks to my connection to NYU as a recently made alum, I received news that Will Wright will be hosting a lecture on “Why Games are (Good) for Learning.”

The event – hosted by Games for Learning Institute and co-hosted by Microsoft Research, NYU Game Center, and Games for Change – will be from 6:00pm-7:00pm.

If you – for some odd reason – do not know who Will Wright is, you can read on for the full information I received.

Tickets are available to the public with a limit of 2 per person. Send an email to tickets@g4li.org to reserve your space.


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 tickets@g4li.org (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.” Wikipedia.org

“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.” TED.com

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. http://g4li.org/