This week is certainly about games for me; no small coincidence that the book I'm reading at the moment is Reality is Broken by Jane McGonigal. Let's continue with exploring different facets of the games industry with these videos. First up is a panel discussion at the University of California at Santa Cruz about games and playable media, featuring  Jordan Mechner (best known for creating the Prince of Persia franchise), Tracy Fullerton (game designer) and Arnav Jhala (Assistant Professor of Computer Science at UC Santa Cruz). They talk about the role of games in cinema.

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Slideshare presentations of the week: games

Games are a fascination, a pastime and a way of life for some of us at Made by Many, depending on who you speak to. This week, we're going to delve deep into games and gamification in our weekly post on interesting presentations. 

Last year, I saw Sebastian Deterding give an excellent talk on gamification at Playful 2010. He recently spoke at Digital Shoreditch on ten potential pitfalls of gamification, with a rather nice-looking set of slides. I also really like the font that he's used!

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The beta collective

While scanning a recent study on crowd behaviour I started to ponder the hows and whens of launching a web service; how can we best drive an idea into the crowd?

The study begins by reminding us of a fairly obvious fact about opinion and crowd feedback, assuming wisdom is what you're going for (the crowd could equally decide your idea is doomed to failure, which is probably a good time to get out) this is pretty useful information:

[…]certain conditions must be met for crowd wisdom to emerge. Members of the crowd ought to have a variety of opinions, and to arrive at those opinions independently.

Makes sense, this is why we expend so much energy testing on diverse user groups before releasing a service into the wild. However, it then goes on to conclude that the wisdom of crowds can be polluted by the cross-pollination of opinions:

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Made by Many apps of the week (2)

Here's another look at the apps Made by Many have been playing with recently. It's fairly game-heavy this week, which is a good thing if you ask me!

1. Tweetbot [$1.99]: This one's had mixed reviews within the office, with some people liking it and some not seeing much of a difference from the original Twitter for iPhone app. Go ahead and give it a shot. 

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When Movies Did This, Games Did That

Have you heard of Portal 2? Surprisingly, for what is effectively an esoteric puzzle game, you might have.

The developers, Valve, have promoted it heavily having had little success finding an agency that understood the game.

No one knows the product better than the people who made it. We’ve had many creative kick-off meetings with agencies over the years, and you’d be shocked by the treatments that have come back. Copycat treatments. Cliché treatments. Treatments that reveal the agency weren’t listening in the initial meeting."

The really interesting thing about Portal 2, though, is the humour. The original game, Portal, was funny, but as this review highlights, where "Portal was a sequence of great jokes, Portal 2 is that rare beast, an actual video game comedy – and one of the funniest ever".

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