I could become a South Park fan. Here is another episode “Make love, not Warcraft” that gives you ‘non-gamers’ a taste of the appeal of World of Warcraft. Worth a look even if you don’t like South Park, as was the case with myself.

I think it is surprisingly enough a good tool to help those of us ‘non-gamers’ to understand what drives gamers, which could be your kids, to spend so much time in these virtual worlds. This taster is enough to give you a feel for the addictive nature of online gaming.

I just love this, the first known case ever, a man has been arrested for stealing virtual artifacts in a virtual world!
He hacked into accounts to steal virtual characters and their possessions on one of the world’s biggest multi-player online games RuneScape, a web-based role playing game with more than ten million members.

World Maths Day is an opportinity for students around the world to play against each other in mental arithmetic games. Direct feedback that I had from the head of IT at a school in Austria (thanks Neil) was that “the level of engagement in learning that students had in competing with students around the world in simple arithmetic tasks was stunning!”

Students are captivated by the fact that they are playing in real time. Each game lasts for 60 seconds, students can play as many games as they wish. The questions are appropriately leveled for different ages and abilities. Also open to school aged private individuals and homeschoolers.

So if you’re a school teacher, check it out. Your students can have some fun, learn at the same time, and do a bit of healthy online maths competition with other students from other schools around the world!

The Chinese Government’s next step is to implement a real name registration system in 2009, which would link game accounts with a given person’s ID number. Apparently the government claims to have a system implemented that can limit the number of hours each day an individual can spend playing games. This is the alleged motivation for this initiative, China’s young are spending too long playing online games. Read more..

Of course during online gaming young people are meeting for long periods of time other players from all over the world. This may start to give them new perceptions on the censorship that is going on in China… this is probably not desirable either for the Chinese government.

I just love this article from bbc news that Hannah sent me. It gives an insight in how Second Life is used for learning, it’s not just a game. In my book I have written quite some stuff here.

“Imagine if we were to use the concept of virtual worlds more as a learning aid or experimental tool, to have the ability to get out of ourselves and see the world through the eyes of somebody else. Imagine if children were to learn history and geography by interacting with a virtual world in addition to learning the dates and facts from a textbook. Would this not help us to become better people who are less judgemental and open to new ideas?”

OK maybe I’m dreaming here, always the optimist but what the hell, what have we got to lose by trying. If using virtual worlds as a tool to enable us to understand better real life problems, seems a pretty good idea to go there actually, check it out, try and understand all this hype, what are people talking about. What do you think?

An interesting article on games development by BCS.

hej this is cool, look at this news on bringing in ratings for video games. Good news for all parents.