Tag Archive: AirQuest


Playtests and Pie Charts

I’ve spent a good chunk of the past week trying to drum up support for AirQuest, including our first official playtests in Fresno and a trip to University of Washington for the Research/Design videogame studies colloquium. Thanks especially to Donald Brinkman, the Research Program Manager for Games for Learning, Humanities, and Heritage at Microsoft, and Fresno High School teacher Karl Kaku and his students! Here’s a picture of Greg (Niemeyer) explaining our co-design process to the Fresno High students.

It’s not often that someone from a primarily humanities background finds herself suddenly immersed in genuine data and design, but I’ve been spending hours in Google Form/Docs and PowerPoint designing pre- and post-game player surveys, collecting, processing, and representing the feedback data, and even drawing a new flowchart for our game design. Coming from a world where every word is carefully weighed for nuance, there’s a certain satisfaction in generating pie charts and bar graphs for yes/no answers and measurements given on scales of 1 to 10, or using icons and pointy arrows to connect neatly encapsulated domains.

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SCMS and our new AirQuest Promo

It’s been a hectic week trying to squeeze all I can out of this year’s Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS) conference in Boston, while fielding requests from the other coast in the lead-up to a grant deadline for our AirQuest game. The good news is, there’s been a substantial game studies line-up at SCMS this year, with one rather unexpected highlight being a presentation by Ralph Baer, the developer of the first video game console and the well-known game Simon, as well as the Video Game Studies Scholarly Interest Group’s celebration of Baer’s 90th birthday with a cake in the shape of a Magnavox Odyssey:

The raw and the cooked? The actual Magnavox Odyssey and its tasty simulacrum.

The Motorola empowerment grant is also in, and the short video that went with the application shows some of the interviews and other footage we recorded on our last trip to the San Joaquin Valley (in early March). It’s great to see some sort of product come out of our crazy stops on the side of freeways, our tour of the cogen/waste incineration plant in Stanislaus, covert stops at dairy farms, and months now of building relationships to Valley communities, including students, educators, air officials, air-quality advocates, medical professionals, families and more.

Please watch and pass it on–the more views and feedback the better!