August 12, 2013  |  Tech
Playing Games at Museums and the Web

During my internship at MoMA, I have been working with the Department of Education’s digital learning team, focusing primarily on our online courses. It has been a fantastic experience, and I was given the opportunity to work on a cutting-edge digital initiative that many other museums have not yet implemented. This internship allowed me to further explore my passions for art and technology, and to experience the ways museums are striving to incorporate the two to improve the public’s experience with their collection.

When presented with the chance to travel utilizing my 12-Month Intern Professional Development Stipend, the idea of attending the Museums and the Web conference immediately came to mind. I could not think of a better way to get to see the technological projects that museums across the world are working on, and to hear first-hand from their developers and creative leads. From day one, my mind was racing as I tried to gather as much information as possible and learn how the museum experience was changing.

In addition to attending the different presentations and panel sessions, I had the opportunity to attend a workshop called Rules of Play. During this workshop, Dave Schaller explained his work experience at Eduweb and how they strive to develop digital learning games that focus on educational subjects such as art history or science. He walked us through the process of creating an intellectually stimulating game that engages students in a fun and exciting way. We discussed the different elements of a game such as space, rules, and skills, and how they needed to be combined to maintain balance from start to finish. It is also important to note the various short- and long-term goals for someone playing the game and how these elements have to adapt to the user as he or she navigated through.

Finally, we broke into two smaller groups and were presented with the challenge of manipulating a game we were all familiar with (my group used Candy Land) to come up with a completely new set of rules. By working together, we were able to change what was seemingly a mindless game, and found new ways to incorporate challenges, consequences, and rewards to make the game more engaging and interactive. In our new version, people would play on teams with the goal of getting each member of their team to the Candy Castle before the other team.

We implemented a new set of rules, rewards, and consequences to link skill and chance together, and to challenge the user in a way that didn’t previously exist. The final product of our brainstorm allowed us to see the different steps that a developer takes to find ways to make a game innovative, creative, and appealing to the user and to develop their skills as they play. It was a great way to learn more about gaming and to further understand what needs to be included to educate and challenge the user as they move towards their final goal.